I couldn't decide to put this in childhood or here since DD1 is 9, I finally decided here might work best. DD1 is in 3rd grade at a very small school. The grades are spilt so it is a 3rd/4th grade class, she is one of the younger students, and one of the only girls. Out of 16 kids, only 2 of them are girls. The 2nd grade only has 2 girls in it so there are never that many. She has been here 3 years and while the boys are always nice to the few girls, they don't often play together outside of the classroom. Other parents have made me aware of crushes that their boys have had on DD1 over the years, we'd joke about how cute it was and just move on. We have another very recent one, they just "discovered" each other this week, I think this is the first one that is mutual.
DD1 has few friends to begin with, there isn't many girls at school, our neighborhood has few that are her age, she is heavily into sports but her teammates either live far away or are all boys again. She has one boy friend that skis with her sometimes in the winter. DD1 just came out of a nasty snowboard team experience, she was the only girl and I believe the other teammates started having gender bias issues, it started getting nasty before she finally told us what was going on. She has now been switched to another team at a different resort, once again the only girl, but her teammates are nice to her this time. Needless to say, she is one girl surrounded in a seas of boys! I also want to make sure that she moves past her recent experience where the boys really were being quite cruel, and the male coach just ignored her as well. Several of her sports are male dominated and sadly, I know this won't be the last time it happens.
DD1 and her new friend were paired as reading partners, she is dyslexic and often gets a reading partner. They got along really well, he actually assisted her instead of just being there. They asked us (his mom and me) to have a playdate so tomorrow they are going along with his family to a local event after school. Today she came home and talked about how much fun they had at school, they hung out together all day, and she made the comment about how she thought he "like likes" her and she was really looking forward to tomorrow. And now this is the part where I am clueless! I said something about how it was fine if she liked him as well or if she didn't that was fine as well. I don't know what else to say or what I should be doing. I know crushes are normal at this age, I remember having them but I also had far more friends that were girls and rarely interacted with the boys in my class. I don't want to not get them together since she doesn't have many friends. How have you handled crushes in your house?
I wouldn't over-think it. Let them be friends, hang out, whatever. My daughter has a friend at that age that developed into a mutual crush - it was all very sweet and innoccent, even when they called one another boy/girl friend. Time went on and so did they. But it was a very sweet experience for both of them - they're still friends.
I agree with PP. Don't over-think it. There is a big difference between having a crush and being ready to have a boyfriend.
I had mostly male friends growing up. In fact, I didn't have really close female friends until motherhood. I wasn't ready to actually date until 16. My DD is similar. There have been very few female friends and none as close as the male friends she's had over the years. She's always surrounded by boys and while she's had crushes, she's not been ready to start dating and she's 15 now. Yes, it does get muddier as they age but it's not really something you need to stress about at this point. My DD's best friend at 9 was a boy named Andy. He moved in 5th grade and it broke her heart but they have continued to stay in regular contact through email and now facebook these 6 years later.
Certainly set your rules now about not closing the bedroom door and such with boys. Don't give her a big lecture about sex and all that... just a plain "we keep the doors open when boys are over" sort of thing. She may appreciate these well-established rules when she gets older... I know mine has.
My DD11 is in a similar situation, she is in a split grade class on the older end and the boy to girl ratio is easily 3:2 if not higher. Her friends have told her that a few boys have crushes on her, and she's even had a few "make a pass" at her, but she hasn't been interested in them. We had to have the "boys have feelings, too" talk with her about letting them down easy, lol. At this age, I think they're more interested in hanging out with each other than actually having a relationship, so I wouldn't be concerned. If you find them hiding away or lying about what they've been doing, I would start to worry.
(gender)queer vegetarian artist co-parenting DDs 14 & 11 with DP and TTC little peanut #3
Good point that childhood crushes don't necessarily mean early dating/involvement in intimate relationships. My daughter didn't start dating until she was 16. Lots of crushes going both ways along the way from that first "boyfriend", for sure. But not a lot of seriousness until later.
Definitely set reasonable rules (no closed doors), but don't go crazy with it. If they want to "go out", there's nothing wrong with taking them to a movie (and even sitting a few rows back) or dinner. N's Mom & I would take them for pizza, and let them sit at a table on their own, while we sat together. In a lot of ways, it kind of set a standard for her future young men.
I also wouldn't over think the situation. My dd has had many opposite sex friends, as has my son. In fact, sometimes it can easier for them. I think it's really healthy, and really important to have friends of the opposite sex. Nine is really childhood, and it is very sweet, very young, and I would just support the friendship, while making sure your dd feels OK about it all. Like any friendship, if it stops being OK, doesn't feel good, etc., then it's time to re-evaluate.
DD started having crushes when she was about 9 y.o. I think she was influenced a little by a couple of other girls, one of whom had much older half-siblings and she always seemed to be trying to act older. At the time, I was not happy about the crushes, but I tried to be patient about it. We had a few discussions along the lines that being good friends without a lot of complications was easier and better than trying to sort out romantic feelings at that age. DD saw the wisdom in this when a bunch of the girls were crushing on the same boy and the friendships between the girls got a little rough. We also talked about what it meant to "go out" with a boy. At that age, mostly it meant they sat together at lunch and walked around together during recess. DD is 15 now and has yet to have a true boyfriend.