My dd1 just turned 11 and has liked the same boy for the past two years. He is a silly, goofy, charming young man and she is a smart, impulsive, easy going, tomboy type girl. In May he asked her to be his girlfriend and she of course said yes. She told me right away and I thought it sweet as they really enjoy hanging out together.
Well it turns out they were at a school pool party and all the kids in the class were pressuring them to kiss, so they did. Now from my understanding it was the same type of kiss I get every night when I tuck her into bed. She had a friend over when she told me and every thought about what kind of teenager she would be ran through my head but I remained calm. I told her that I was happy she shared that with me and asked that there would be no more kissing. She was fine with that, they had only done that to make others happy.
We discussed peer pressure and how this is the beginning of it and that she has to learn to make decisions that are right for her not everyone else. She is a follower type and I am worried about her. I know she likes to hang out with the boys because they are easier to be around but I hope that she can stand up for herself and not get taken advantage of.
Should I ask her to call off this boyfriend/girlfriend thing? Should I discourage her from hanging out with the boys? What are some of the things you tell dc's to shake off the peer pressure? Oh my I know this is just the beginning...
Thing is - you're not going to be around to make sure that they're *not* smooching.
I think you need to keep communication open, and have lots of conversations about what choices she will have to make as the years go one, and how some of those choices may impact others. For example, both of mine know that if they end up as a teen parent, that will impact their ability to go to college after HS, as well as their long-term goals.
Encourage long-term goals. Talk to her about birth control, etc.
My eldest had an experience like your DD. Her closest friends have always been boys since toddlerhood. She just connects better with them. Her interests, her style of learning, her high energy level... it all works better with boys than girls. However, there are complications. When she was 11, she was pressured into kissing her best buddy. She felt really stupid for letting others control her. I used that 11-year-old kiss as a catalyst for conversation on relationships. We came to a mutual conclusion that no one should enter the dating world until they are able to withstand external pressure. If you can't stand up to your friends, if you can't stand up to your partner and say "no, I'm not comfortable with this" then you aren't ready to date.
At 14, DD still has lots of male friends but is staying out of the dating pool. There are complications. She recently lost her best friend of a year because he started moving in that direction and she didn't want to go there with him (which was really smart on her part as he was starting to exhibit a lot of behaviors she didn't approve of... going to drinking parties, making out with random girls, ect.) She was heartbroken for awhile but she's bounced back and made room for others to get close to her both male and female for a change.
I don't think forbidding the relationship is the answer but certainly talk. Certainly up the supervision. I wouldn't discourage male friends but I'd be frank about how things are changing. Boys get a LOT of harrassment for hanging out with girls who aren't girlfriends from around 11 to 14. She's just going to have to be more aware.
I would carefully consider the parties, and other invitations where things like this might come up. It was a big deal in my dd's class last year to talk about who was going out, who was kissing, what type of kissing they were doing, etc. 12 y/o's. Some of the stuff was clearly rumor, some super innocent, and some was actually pretty concerning. The upshot of it was that the more concerning stuff was happening during fairly unsupervised parties/get togethers, after school hanging out.
Kids grow up, experimentation happens-a peck on the cheek is pretty normal as far as I know. I know that my dd's relaationships with her close male friends are starting to change a little now, although not for the worse-just different. We just keep a careful eye, have lots of other positive things going on in her life, and don't do unsupervised hang outs.
My daughter's also always had more guy friends than girl friends. Something to remind your daughters of... that IS going to be an issue when they get older and start dating. A lot of guys don't like it when their g/f is friends with guys. (Conversely, the guy friends' g/f's don't like it much, either.) Takes a special person to be able to deal with it.
thanks for all the replys I feel better...truth is this incident was at a (catholic )school function where the class went to the pool/waterslides and there was supervision. her dh and I have a very healthy relationship and there is alot of kissing and affection displayed. She has not shown signs of puberty (although she is very aware)and still plays with dolls. I really don't think she is connecting this kiss to sex or anything. I think she succumbed to peer pressure and views kissing as a way of showing affection.
they(the boy and dd) have not seen or talked since school got out in June and she hasn't said anything about him. I suspect their friendship will be awkward in the fall when they go back to school and they will end up apart(but who knows?).
I will continue to encourage conversation about long term goals and consequences of both good and bad decisions. As well as exposing her to positive experiences and finding other ways to find self worth and confidence so she can use that in her day to day challenges. I do still worry about her easy going nature and her ability to say no in the future.
no there wasn't -- the adults didn't have a clue what the kids were saying or doing. They may have been there somewhere, but they weren't supervising.
I wouldn't recommend making a big deal out of boyfriends because from what I see of my DD's friends, it doesn't stop them having having boyfriends, it just shuts down the communication between mother and daughter.
I wouldn't launch into sex worries either, because this wasn't about sex. This is just about peer pressure. She did it to make other people happy. Help her brain storm ways to stand up for what is best for her in different context -- not just smoking and drinking, but things like watching a movie at someone else's house that would scare her, pressure to look a certain way, etc. This is really about the need for her to find her personal power.
but everything has pros and cons
Nor would I - but those kinds of conversations are good to have when appropriate. Because pressure to have sex is also heavily peer-related. As are any number of other behaviors. Keeping any and all of them open for discussion/conversation is a good thing - and will make your child more open to coming to you when/if needed.
I think it's a little harsh to say the adults weren't supervising. At a pool/water slide party, the priority is making sure kids aren't running, aren't rough housing in the water, aren't pushing too many kids down the slide, that the younger are getting turns, that no one is getting over-tired and struggling in the water, that sunscreen is re-applied, that suits stay tied well and kept covering important parts, that the kids have a trusted adult with them when in the public changing rooms, ect. In that way, I suspect their was more than adequate supervision in that reguard.
Personally, I don't want my kids supervised to the point where nothing ever happens to them. Sure, I want them saved from the permanent damage. Protected from the dangers they're too young to take seriously or they can't phathom are out there. However, there is a lot of joy in private conversations and escapades with your friends. There is something to be said for facing smaller challenges that you must dig yourself out of. We all have our comfort levels. I dealt with a mom last month who had a 10 foot rule with her 11-year-old son. It was difficult to work around but that was her comfort level and she also never asked anyone else to take on such a vigilent position for her. Personally, I expect other parents in charge to keep my child safe from the big things but I don't really expect they are going to catch every fleeting moment that can be negative. If there was an on-going issue with another child, yes, keep an extra eye on that interaction. In this case though, it doesn't sound like there was any reason for other parents to listen in on their conversation while simultaneously keeping other kids safe around the water.
When my oldest was around 11 years old I remember all the kids in his grade level, not many kids, just a hand full in his grade, all having interests and even calling one another boy/girlfriend throughout the year and I'm sure some kissing went on in the hallways. As each year went on they were different with it, but I do remember that age and it sounds completely normal to me. I wouldn't go so far as to think it could lead to pressure to have sex. But I guess it could in some areas of the country.
On another note, if she didn't WANT to kiss the boy I would talk to her about that part and how she never has to do anything she doesn't feel like doing. Yes that's a form of peer pressure but lots of things are. Any type of romantic displays towards another person should always come from the heart and maybe it's a good time to have the "talk" with her, age appropriate of course.
Single (divorced), self-employed working, college student MOM to:
17 yr old
11 yr old
4 yr old