4-year-olds are very verbal. They will always talk and ask you many questions, and sometimes they say something that leaves us shocked. For example, your 4-year-old says that he wants to marry you or your partner. How should you respond? Does your 4-year-old understand marriage? Why would he say that?
Why would my 4-year-old want to marry me?
If you have not been around kids before your own child, let me tell you that it is totally normal for kids at this age. Most, I would say, 80% of kids (between ages 3 to 7) ask their parents or other close relatives to marry them. Some even insist on marrying their sibling or sibling’s partner (if there is any).
My own younger brother always said that he would marry our mom. He was very sure about it. Maybe it’s because he was the youngest and very attached to our mom. Later on, when he grew up a little, he shifted his love and wanted to marry a cousin who was an adult. After some time, he shifted his love again to another adult cousin. Now, when he is grown up, he doesn’t even want to get married. 😀
Your 4-year-old wants to marry you because of the following reasons:
1- An expression of love:
Marrying is an expression of love. Your kid loves you so much that he wants to marry you.
Look at your society, the expression of love to parents, siblings, and other close relationships is usually silent. But the expression of love to a partner is very verbal and expressive.
For example, when you watch TV, how many people verbally express their love to their parents or other relatives, and how many people show love to their partner through words, actions (like gifting something), or eventually marrying?
Living in this society, it is obvious that kids think that the solid expression of love is marriage.
Your 4-year-old wants you to stay with him forever by asking you to marry him/her.
2- They don’t understand what marriage is
Your 4-year-old definitely doesn’t understand what marriage really is. He thinks when you love someone, you marry them to stay with them forever.
They don’t understand why their love for their mom or dad can’t be turned into a marriage and why they must choose someone outside their family to marry.
At age 4, kids do not understand romance or sexual feelings. Love is just “love” for them.
For my 4-year-old daughter, marriage is about being a bride. She loves all those shimmers and flowers.
Once she said, “When I will grow up, I will become a bride. Ok?”
I said, “I thought you wanted to become a doctor.”
She became really angry and said, “If I will become a doctor, when will I become a bride.” And here come the tears.
How should I respond when my 4-year-old says he wants to marry me?
Well, clearly, if you say, “no, I’m already married,” you will end up dealing with tears and tantrums. By saying this, you will hurt your little one’s feelings.
Instead of being worried, you should be excited that your little one loves you so much.
You can simply say, “yes! I’d love to”. Or you can say, “I can’t wait for you to be 18 when we marry”.
Anything that suits your parenting style and your child’s approach should be good.
You don’t need to say No because your child is not asking you to marry because of romantic love. Say “Yes” and accept the flowers or anything if your child is giving you something.
How to respond when your 4-year-old keeps asking you to marry him:
It is also normal for a 4-year-old to keep asking to marry you. They will not only ask once and then forget. He will become serious and repeatedly tell you that he will marry you.
With time, as he grows up, these innocent demands will fade, and your little one will find the person he (romantically) loves.
So, don’t hesitate to say yes or admit his feelings.
How to explain marriage to a 4-year-old?
It is very hard (even impossible) to explain marriage to a 4-year-old. It’s best if you don’t attempt to explain it. If you do, you will be bombarded with many new questions you will not be ready for. Instead, you should wait for them to grow up more until they start understanding romantic love.
All kids eventually find someone they romantically love, whether or not they want to marry their parents.
However, if you still want to explain marriage to your 4-year-old, you can say, “marriage is when you are 18 years old or above, and you find a very beautiful fairy or an absolutely charming prince who you choose to be with you for the rest of your life.”
I always recommend my readers to talk with honesty with kids. Give them clear answers. But in this case, the more you become honest, the more you confuse them.
4-year-olds want to marry their loved ones, whether their dad, mom, or any relative, because of their extreme love. They do not understand what marriage is. Instead, they think that they will have you for the rest of their lives by marrying you.
So instead of saying, “no, I’m already married” or “no, you can’t marry your parents” and breaking their hearts, you can say yes without worrying about it. These moments will not last forever. Instead, your kid will eventually find someone to marry when he grows up.