I ran into a huge predicament at Jordan’s ice hockey yesterday.
He plays in a co-ed environment and has for some times. I think this is fantastic that so many people are encouraging their daughters to play such an intense and physical sport. The problem is when he gets physical with a girl.
While the kids were getting warmed up he went to the boards and battled with a girl he’s played with before and I believe they were in ice skating lessons together. He tripped her up and wouldn’t let her get back up because he was trying to dig the puck away from the boards. He was a tad aggressive with her and I want to see him battling for the puck and for position. But there is that part of me that is screaming “No! That’s a girl!”
Jordan is at an age where I am trying to teach him appropriateness for playing with girls. He tries to wrestle and be rough with the girls next door and he gets reprimanded for it. I don’t wrestle with him, but he horses around with his uncles and his grandfather. I stay away from it because I don’t want to confuse him. “It’s okay to mess around with Mommy, but not other girls.” I try to keep it consistent.
But now I need to learn how to separate the difference between doing it in sports and doing it at home. The girls are there and their parents know what they are getting into. If you’re going to play with guys, then you need to be prepared to be treated as an equal. But I cringe because I know that I need to teach a young child the difference between what I teach him at home about pushing or hitting girls and as he gets older having to teach him that it’s okay to check her into the boards.
It’s hard giving a child all of these caveats to situations. “It’s okay to do something here, but not here.” Well what the eff, Mom?
This is still just such a sensitive area in sports when girls are playing full contact with guys. I was talking with one of the other moms about it. Her son is a few years older than Jordan. She agreed with me that if the girls are going to be on the ice, they need to play by the same rules. It is just difficult- in my mind at least- to help Jordan understand the difference at this point in his life.