Is it uncool to hang out with younger kids?

lolly asks: I’ve just moved to a new house and made some new friends. Two of them are seven years old, and one of them is ten. Do you think I’m a bit too old to play with them? All the other teens are laughing at me, but I just don’t want to break their little hearts!

Hi lolly –

This is a great question.  Particularly because it says so much about you and the place you’re at in your life.  There are four important facts here:

1)    You have new friends and like them

2)    Some would say you’re too old to play with them

3)    Other teenagers laugh at you for your friendship with them

4)    These kids really care about you and you don’t want to hurt them.

Cool.  You are in a fantastic place to make a determination about the person you want to be.  And there are a few perfectly good choices you could make (and I guess one bad one).

Let’s say you decided to “act your age” and hang out with the teenagers instead of the little kids, but took great care to make sure you didn’t hurt the children’s feelings, and let them know how much you still care about them.  Fine.

Let’s say you decided the teenagers who laugh at you aren’t the sort of people you want to be friends with, and chose to hang out with the children instead.  Fine.

Let’s say you worked to keep both in your life, and let the other teenagers label you as someone who loves little kids, but convince them that you’re also a cool teen to hang with when you’re not with the kids.  And maybe you could even get the teens and the kids together at certain times.  Fine.

Then let’s say you told the kids that you didn’t like them anymore, that they’re immature and not good enough for you, and you don’t ever want to talk with them again.  Okay, that one stinks!

But all the other solutions are okay.

The question, lolly, is how you want to define yourself.  Handsome was kind of like you when he was a teenager; he always loved playing with children.  Know what?  He still does.  A big part of his job today is playing with children.  Adults bring him their children because they see him as an expert who understands kids better than they do (in many ways); they respect the way he is with youngsters.  But that didn’t mean he didn’t go out with teenagers too, or adults when he became one.   Any more than his love for me has meant he doesn’t hang out with humans at all!

It’s really up to you, lolly.  As long as you’re kind to those kids, you can choose to spend an hour a week or four hours a day with them; it’s your choice.  And one thing about kids – if you give them the time you can, they’re almost sure to appreciate you for it.  After all, you’re probably the only teenager they know who enjoys their company.  So if that’s just occasional, they’ll be fine.

Good Luck with it.  And always remember that choosing between the kids and the teens is a FUN decision to make!  Way better than choosing between two things you don’t like doing!



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