My DC is 12. For the last year or so she and her friends (girls and boys) have a very strong interest in talking about relationships. It's mainly "who likes who". There is some discussion of some of the kids who have had their first hand-holding or kisses. There are some discussions of "dates".
Additionally there are some talks about arranging "play dates" that include two kids who "like" each other and sort of trying to help orchestrate a get together between these kids.
This has been confusing to me in terms of how to help DC navigate all of this. Some of this is obviously harmless and developmentally positive. (Right?) But from time to time things have blurred the lines of healthy peer support to something a little less positive.
For instance, at some point last year some girls were in my car telling me about this plan they had to go as a group to the movies and sit behind the two friends of theirs who are a couple so as to help create a more "date like" experience. At this point I explained to these kids that I didn't feel comfortable with that and would not allow it. I talked with them about the fact that I thought relationship choices should be 100% up to the people in the relationships and that these things should progress on their own w/o help from friends. I gave some examples and things seemed to sink in.
But, I think the urge to talk about these things, to brainstorm, to plan, and dream in these kids is so strong that I don't see the above being the end of that.
And it wasn't...
My DC was at a party last weekend where a boy was dared to text the girl he liked to tell her that he wanted to be her boyfriend. Intel from the party is still surfacing but it appears that another child a the party may have even typed the text in to his phone for him. So, yea, kids are really not getting the message that their friend's relationships are really none of their business.
Stepping away from the specifics (there is a whole 'nother thread about the texting if you want to talk more about that)...
What have been your kids' experiences with this sort of thing? Do you think my DC's group is more interested in this than your average kid? How do you offer your pre-teens guidance on this? Do you know any good sources of information for parents or kids about this?