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tween, teens and dating


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#1 Quick hedgehog

Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:59 AM

DD is in year 6 and just turned 12. A little while ago she came home from school to tell me that there was a boy who is telling her friends he ‘likes’ her.  She was totally cringy about the whole idea. But it seems the kids at school have been making a big deal about it all over the intervening weeks (not saying DD isn’t fanning the flames herself, just that until this happened she was still at the age of regarding anything love to do with boys as yuk and I think without any outside forces she just would have shrugged it off).   It now seems to be developing into a bit of an issue because one of her friends apparently ‘likes’ this boy too and so now hates DD.

I was totally not ready or mentally prepared for this sort of thing.

Please give me some guidance on how you handle tween and early teen ‘dating’.  What does it even mean at this age?

I was a late bloomer and apart from a brief crush I remember having on a boy at about 15 (never acted upon in any way- he wasn’t even in my friendship group so I doubt I even ever spoke to him)  I didn’t have an actual boyfriend until year 11 or 12.

Obviously we need to start thinking / talking and setting ground rules for this new normal in our household so we can have guidelines in place from the start.  My inclination is that boy/girl friends will be strongly discouraged until much later.  But how much later?

What age do you allow your kids to have someone in their lives that they describe as a boy/girl friend?  And obviously we want her to be able to be open and honest with us about this sort of thing, so how do you discourage it without making them just keep it hidden from you?  

And as they get older, what is classed as dating, and what does a date even look like?  When I was this age we all just hung out in groups, I don’t remember ever going on a date as such until I was an adult.

Feeling like I am totally failing at parenting at the moment. Please tell me how you handle this.

#2 doubledelight

Posted 05 August 2019 - 09:17 AM

My experience with this age is it tends to be a fair revolving door of like and little action.

My younger teens are nearly 14 and 15 and all activities are still group based.

I used this time to talk about respect, boundaries and start to talk about jealousy and different reactions that people may have.

I focused more on self worth and setting their own value rather than other people.

#3 Overtherainbow

Posted 05 August 2019 - 09:18 AM

I’m in the later camp, too.

We’ve talked about the importance of focusing on education, enjoying the freedom of being young and enjoying their friends.

We’ve also talked about relationships. They should treat all girls like they’d treat their sister and all boys like they’d treat their brothers.

Three teens, all with great friendships, not looking for relationships and have the confidence to tell their friends that they aren’t ready to date yet.

We’ve also had to discuss how to be sensitive when others approach them to date.

Every family is going to have different rules and values. In our family dating is getting to know someone with plans for marriage. If you wouldn’t marry them, you don’t date them. Until you’re old enough to consider marriage, it’s also not the time to date. Exceptions to this would be a date to a dance or ball.

#4 Sincerely

Posted 05 August 2019 - 09:32 AM

Twelve is that age when some kids become absolutely preoccupied with boy-girl relationships. Some of DD2's friends of that age, as I drive them around, talk non stop about boys they have crushes on and it makes me cringe & want to wear ear plugs. All of my kids have suffered some form of collateral fallout from these pre-teenage intrigues. I just encourage other forms of activity so there's balance.

When DD1 was about 11 or 12, I said she could only go on 'dates' at 14 and this was a concession because she was an accelerated student and would be in Yr 10 at that age. She ended up 'going steady' with her first & only BF after her first date, just before her 15th birthday. She made an excellent, very mature choice (she, not his age). They've been an item for over five years and they appear ideal for each other (even their teachers called them their 'favourite couple').

Edited by Sincerely, 05 August 2019 - 09:38 AM.


#5 *Ker*

Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:06 AM

Dating at 12 seems to me that you say "x is my boyfriend". And that's it.

I just told DD she was far too young to date and that can wait till high school.

#6 marple

Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:10 AM

IME actual "dating" is really only a thing from about 15.
Like pp I have a DS who is almost 19 and has been with his gf for 4 years.
Before then it seems to be more group events, movies, the beach etc,  and "he's my boyfriend" type stuff. Lots of texting and snapchatting though.

Edited by marple, 05 August 2019 - 10:40 AM.


#7 seayork2002

Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:34 AM

DS is 12 soon and still has the 'boy/girl germ' thing happening and have not heard much from his friends about dating

but from what I have seen 'going out' just means 'she/he is my boyfriends/girlfriend till they annoy me then it is off' type thing

I have not heard at this age of them actually going out more than at lunchtime or class time if they are int he same class

#8 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:52 AM

Im not at that stage yet but I think its important to discuss with your DD that the boy is not a possession, he is his own person. Just because a girl likes him doesn't mean somebody else isn't allowed to like him or that that girl should hate the person he likes. And just because somebody likes you you aren't obligated to 'go out' with them but its good if you be kind to them either way.

Hope that made sense. I guess just respectful behaviour in general and that your DD hasn't done anything wrong so the other girl should not 'hate' her.

#9 Nasty Butterfly

Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:56 AM

I have to say this has been the hardest part of parenting to navigate for me (so far).

DD1 is 15 almost 16 and has up until this year thought the whole idea of dating was ridiculous. She now has a boyfriend that she really likes a lot and he seems to be equally smitten with her and everything is going smoothly. She left me completely unprepared for dealing with her sister....

DD2 is 13 and I’m already at my wits end. She has had a revolving door of ‘boyfriends’, which as a PP said just involves seeing each other at school and that’s it. She has now developed a reputation despite there being no actual physical relationship with any of them. This caused her considerable distress for a while and we are only just coming out the other side of some really destructive behaviour on her part while trying to deal with it all.

This happened despite me saying no boyfriends and taking her phone off her, grounding her and a lot of other discouragement from me around the whole boyfriend issue.

I’m afraid I’ve learned the hard way that my opinion on boyfriends doesn’t really carry much sway and that I have absolutely no idea how you stop them going down that road if it’s what they choose.

My advice is just listen without judgment and have them feel like that can talk to you freely about anything sex and dating related without you freaking out.

Also monitor their phones and social media accounts as much as possible. They are sending nudes and sexting by 12/13 these days.

#10 dadwasathome

Posted 05 August 2019 - 11:11 AM

DS11 is friends with girls, but no current interest further. I haven't noticed a boyfriend/girlfriend push at all at in his year.

DS16 had his first girlfriend earlier this year. They split up, although are still friends and classmates.

#11 annodam

Posted 05 August 2019 - 11:19 AM

My eldest recently turned 18 & she was never really interested in anyone.  Admittedly, she played a fair bit of high level sports, so a lot of her time was spent training & matches, the rest was spent completing her Homework.
Even now in her final stages of Yr 12, she’s concentrating on her VCE, very rarely goes out & if she does, is home at a decent hour.
Another thing which she tells me put her off being attached to anyone, was having one of her closest friends become pregnant at 16 giving birth at 17.
DD saw first hand how hard it was:

a) to finish school &
b) to continue playing the game she loves



#12 Starflash

Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:40 PM

View PostOvertherainbow, on 05 August 2019 - 09:18 AM, said:

I’m in the later camp, too.

We’ve talked about the importance of focusing on education, enjoying the freedom of being young and enjoying their friends.

We’ve also talked about relationships. They should treat all girls like they’d treat their sister and all boys like they’d treat their brothers.

Three teens, all with great friendships, not looking for relationships and have the confidence to tell their friends that they aren’t ready to date yet.

We’ve also had to discuss how to be sensitive when others approach them to date.

Every family is going to have different rules and values. In our family dating is getting to know someone with plans for marriage. If you wouldn’t marry them, you don’t date them. Until you’re old enough to consider marriage, it’s also not the time to date. Exceptions to this would be a date to a dance or ball.

Please ignore my 3yo's quote post :p

Edited by Starflash, 05 August 2019 - 01:14 PM.


#13 amdirel

Posted 05 August 2019 - 04:26 PM

Oh I remember this phase in year 6 too. Everyone had boyfriend/girlfriend/was going out/liked someone.
The extent of the relationship was-
"Will you go out with me?"
"Yep".
Continue on as school peers, maybe say hi to each other.
Then 2 weeks later...
"I think we should break up"
"Omg I'm heartbroken". Sob for a day.

Seriously ridiculous lol. Thankfully DD agreed with me, and would be the voice of reason between all her friends and counsel them through everything.

She's now in year 8 and we still haven't hit a proper relationship yet.

#14 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 05 August 2019 - 06:45 PM

View PostNasty Butterfly, on 05 August 2019 - 10:56 AM, said:

I’m afraid I’ve learned the hard way that my opinion on boyfriends doesn’t really carry much sway and that I have absolutely no idea how you stop them going down that road if it’s what they choose.

My advice is just listen without judgment and have them feel like that can talk to you freely about anything sex and dating related without you freaking out.

Also monitor their phones and social media accounts as much as possible. They are sending nudes and sexting by 12/13 these days.

I think this is the best advice. The idea that you can tell your kids that they can’t have a boy/girlfriend is just ludicrous. You can’t help how you feel, even if it’s a ridiculous 12 yo crush.

#15 liveworkplay

Posted 05 August 2019 - 07:10 PM

"Dating" at that age is all talk and status and no action so to speak. My 13 year old laughs at the antics of her peers. They are forever "dating" but this just means maybe chatting over the net occasionally and hanging out in a group situation...boys on one side, girls on the other. It is pretty hilarious really and harmless.

My 15 year old has just started dating., Even then although it means hanging out together more, it is still very innocent...hand holding, hugging, going to the movies, playing cards etc. Kissing is still very tentative. It is so freaking cute!!

Don't get me wrong, there are peers of theirs that go way way further then my girls, but as a hole, it is all quite innocent in our experience.

#16 Quick hedgehog

Posted 05 August 2019 - 07:35 PM

Quote

I just told DD she was far too young to date and that can wait till high school.

Is it really this simple though?.  This is the conversation that we have had up until now and I am 100% sure that my DD has no feelings of any sort for this boy and without the other kids getting involved she would have run a mile from it all.  Perhaps the fact that we moved interstate at the end of last year so these are all new friends and also from the boy’s point of view she is the new girl, a bit more interesting that the girls he has been at school with for the last 7 years, is impacting on the situation.  But regardless of what we talk about at home, I can’t control what happens at school.  I can’t stop this boy from potentially asking her to ‘go out with him’ (for the little meaning that it has) and I can’t stop her from agreeing to it (given that for all practical purposes it has no meaning whatsoever).

Quote

hey are sending nudes and sexting by 12/13 these day

This is the thing that worries me.  I want to nip this girlfriend/boyfriend thing in the bud because this is exactly what I don’t want it to lead to.

So while I obviously can’t control her feelings either now or over the next few years,  it is normal for families to set some ground rules around this sort of carry on at this age?

Why don’t they warn you when you decide to get pregnant that this stuff is so hard.  I have a DS who is 15 and none of this stuff has even come up yet.

#17 Sincerely

Posted 05 August 2019 - 07:39 PM

View PostNasty Butterfly, on 05 August 2019 - 10:56 AM, said:

Also monitor their phones and social media accounts as much as possible. They are sending nudes and sexting by 12/13 these days.

My DS (14) has received numerous FaceTime calls from girls in his class since he was 11 (Yr 6). I can hear him waxing enthusiastically about maths, science & music topics and they are often on the line for hours. He is still adorably naive. He tells me they call him because 'they are bored & lonely'. Sure - that's also why they befriend his little sister and pump her with questions about him.

#18 Chocolate Addict

Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:11 PM

Kids in western countries are getting pregnant as young as 12yo.
It would be naive of you to not take it seriously.




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