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12 yr old "dating" frustration....

Posted by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 1:58 AM
  • 6 Replies

I have a 12 yr old SD who lives with my husband and I full time.... She's always been a bit boy crazy (which is hard to relate to as I was not that way at her age)... but lately, since she started Jr. High (7th grade) she has been pushing us to let her have a "boyfriend" at school. I'm guessing, because it's the NORM at her school with all her friends... boys and girls.

SERIOUSLY?!?! What the heck... these are children. Not adults-- and certainly not capable of handling adult like situations... nor should they. There are steps they need to take in order to grow up healthy and happy... steps they need to take to understand who they are (as much as possible at their young age) before they take on the feelings, frustrations and pain that inevitably comes with dating.

We are beyond frustrated. I'm tired of trying to explain. Why should she understand... she isn't even capable of cognitive thinking yet... she's 12~ not 25. All she knows is that she can't do something "everyone else is doing"--- fortunately for us, she is honest and would feel to guilty to lie or go behind our back (thank god!). But we finally had to punish her (i.e. take away her phone privileges for a weekend, which is like torture for these kids) for arguing about it over and over... she knows the answer is NO. Period. Not even open for discussion again until she is in High School. Even then, her maturity and grades will be a factor. I'm hoping we've finally gotten that clear. She is more than welcome to talk to us about her feelings- if she's upset or frustrated or sad... but no more arguing or trying to convince us. 

We've included her counselor in on the discussions... and she backs us up. She tells us we are doing the best thing for our kid. She needs to focus on her school, extra activities... friends... just being a kid. These are steps she needs to take. Really, this is all over the "title" of having a boyfriend. Even though she knows she isn't allowed to date and seems to get that... she still pushes the matter when it comes to the title. Which is silly to us... it doesn't change anything. If anything, it's better for her- then she can have her girl and guy friends and work on those social relationships more before she starts dating. All the stuff we hear about her friends who do have "boyfriends" or "girlfriends" is ridiculous... they get all tangled up in the drama, and it's too much. That shouldn't be the focus at age 12. Sometimes I'm a bit shocked by what goes on... things I didn't experience until High School.... or later... just caddy stuff... like back stabbing or so and so dating her then breaking up and dating her BFF... ?????

I want her to be strong... independent... healthy... and capable. Unfortunately, her bio mom feels it's ok to encourage her to just do it anyway (i.e. lie to us). Even though she only see's her 4 days a month, there is nothing we can do to control her undermining behavior. What we can do is have open and honest discussions with our kid and hope she doesn't resort to lying. I don't think she would- her guilt would eat away at her. She tells us everything... sometimes too much... lol... but better than the alternative.

I'm not even really posting for advise...  I know this too shall pass... and I know how lucky we are to have a child who is honest with us. So many other kids lie to their parents and just date anyway. She is strong and hasn't buckled under the pressure from her school friends. It's frustrating still. Because she doesn't understand-- No matter what we say... she just get's sad and irritated. It's hard to see and do what I know is best for her.

All I can hope is that some day.... in the far off future I'm sure... she will get it. She will see that we did what was right by her- even if she didn't like it. As all parents must do. Kids are in such a rush to grow up... to do the things they aren't "old enough" to do... then you do grow up and all those things you had to look forward to are part of your past... and you wish you had taken more time. More time to be young... more time to dream.... more time to just... be. Where is the "easy" button for that?

Today it's "boyfriends" and tomorrow it's "marriage" (eek)... hopefully we did our best and she is better for it ;)  I know my parents did their best... and I'm thankful for it every day.

by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 1:58 AM
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by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Great post! We have this going on here as well. My sons father doesn't have the same rules as we do, but I stand my ground. Fortunately my son respects my rules & we have open communication with each other. Which is wonderful. He likes girls & he talks to me about it, but he tells his friends he is not allowed to be "boyfriend & girlfriend".  He is fine with this rule & doesn't complain about it.  He says, "I am a kid! I am not ready for all of that" ......... hopefully he can hang onto that for a few more years. LOL!  It won't be easy cause a lot of girls like him & flirt with him. OH LORD HELP US!

by on Oct. 30, 2009 at 7:32 AM

Well, some kids may actually follow such 'no bf' rules, I think most don't.    You can limit where she goes, what she tells you, etc. but you can't control the fact that she may 'fall in love' with the guy who has the locker next to hers.    Frankly, I think this is a battle you can't win... you can't control her emotions.   On the other hand, you may be starting a battle that will lead to her 'falling in love' anyway, and sneaking around and hiding things from you.

Personally, I'd encourage you to not deny her feelings about boys, wanting a bf etc. but talk about the different aspects - being an independent woman, keeping up her grades, maintaining her (girl)friendships, having strong values about how boys will treat her, etc.    Also, discuss what it means to have a boyfriend at 12, at 16, at 20, etc.

One thing that worked well with my DD at the same age was to stress that I would never be able to trust her to have a bf if she didn't show us that she has the right priorities in life... like good grades and behaviour in school, like making good choices (no incidents) with friends, keeping up with sports and other activities, respecting house rules, etc.  Long after their puppy love is gone, those are the values that will remain - but whether you like it or not, puppy love is part of growing up!

by on Oct. 30, 2009 at 7:35 AM

eight kids same rules no dating till sixteen. Only after we have met the proposed date.

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by on Oct. 30, 2009 at 10:06 AM

My 11 yo dtr just came home the other day completely thrilled saying that she was "going out" with a boy from school. I had to have her define this and from what I gather, basically, it meant that he asked her if she would be his girlfriend and she said yes. I am still not quite understanding what her expectations of this "relationship" are. It sounded harmless until he then called her and she asked me about "hanging out" with him or going to a movie or somethng. I was like, omg, no way are you going anywhere by yourselves! Anyway, I think their weekend plans have fizzled. On another post, I was happy to see Momsped give this definition of "going out":Quote:

She "went out"  with a boy at the end of 6th grade which meant they talked to each other at school and she called him on the phone.  It fizzled over the summer and they "broke up'  after school started.

 Phew, from what I am seeing, the same type of "relationship" seems to be happening with my daughter. After the first night, there have been no more phone calls or plans. Which suits me just fine at this age. On the whole, she is much more interested in music, swimming and manga/anime. I also agree with Phillyinfrance's comments above.

by on Oct. 30, 2009 at 9:03 PM

We have a no dating rule in oru hosue as well. We have a 12 yr old (and a 5, 3 and 6 month old all girls). We believe dating is preparation for marriage and they are not ready to get marriage so it isn't necessary or healthy. We sat her down and explained where we are coming from and why. We said these rules are non-negotiable. we really outlined a lot of things for her (we talked to each other to figure it out beforehand) and we said here is where we stand and this is why and this is what will happen etc. I am SOOOO sick of people in this group pretty much saying anythign you say no to your kid about they will just do anyway so you might as well just let them and talk them through it. Are we going to start talking them through their first beer and joint since if we tell them no they will just do it anyway.

Guess what? Parents are actually a stronger influence on their kids than they realize. If you have rules, are confident in them, have them for the right reasons and EXPLAIN those reasons to the kids - there is a good chance they will follow most of the time.

by on Nov. 1, 2009 at 1:03 PM

I agree with wondergrl's post above. Maybe you should ask SD to define what she means by boyfriend at school. My daughter is 11 yo and has always been boy crazy too and she has come home numerous times saying she is "going out" with such and such boy at school. She doesn't mean they are actually dating or talking beyond school. My daughter has only had one boy ever call the house for her and that was once. She knows that she is not allowed to actually date until she is older. Usually the "boyfriend" fizzles in a week or so and she never talks about him again. This age is when they are just starting to notice that hey those boys I used to think were yucky are kinda cute. I remember going through it too. Talk to her and listen to what she says. If she does want to actually date outside of school then you can remind her that you don't allow it until a certain age. But let her define what she means. It could be harmless and not worth the battle.

To the above poster, you shouldn't judge what others post and how they parent. We are all different and I'm sure you don't want to be talked down on. I open my mind and try to see both sides when others post. None of the posters have said to just let kids do whatever. The point I get is that sometimes you have to pick your battles. There is such a thing as being too strict. When I was a tween/teen I had friends who had very strict parents that they felt they couldn't talk to and they rebeled big time (whatever the parents said not to do, they would do). They hid everything from their parents and their parents thought their little girls were angels. (Sorry OP...I'm not addressing this to you but wanted to address the above reply).

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