8 Year Old Crush, to Young to Have Girlfriend?

Updated on April 20, 2012
A.H. asks from Van Buren, AR
10 answers

My son is 8 and has a major crush on the girl that is on his baseball team. He wants to ask her to be his girl friend, but I'm so not ready for this. I am so happy that he trusted me enough to tell me and ask me first if he can have a girl friend.
I don't want my son, or my daughter, to start having girlfriends and boyfriends because I want to make sure that my children don't get to the point of relying on having a girlfriend or boyfriend for their happiness. I know from experience that it's easy to fall into. I know most parents have told me in the past that it's harmless, but I'm not sure. My friends girl, who is now 14, started having little boyfriends when she was 5. I can always tell how things are with her boyfriend, which i think she's up to close to #50 now, based on her mood. I've seen her break down crying because she thinks he is going to break up with her, to then have her tell me a couple days later she dumped him for another one. I just don't want my kids to get to that point.
I don't want to break his heart, and I especially don't want him to just go behind my back if I'm really strict on this. My mother told me I couldn't have a boyfriend until i was 16, so I did tell alot of boys no. And it lasted until I was about 15, then I just hid it from her. Plus I would rather teach him about courtship, rather than casual dating, of course when he's older. But I almost feel like If I let it start now, there would be no turning back. If he has girlfriends now, how can I tell him no when he wants to start REALLY dating when he's older.
Part of me believes that it's harmless, and part of me feels that it could open a flood gate.
So what have you, moms, done with this subject?
If you did let them have girlfriends and boyfriends, how did it turn out?
Did it seem to change their character in anyway?
If you didn't, how did you handle it and did they just do it anyways?

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answers from Seattle on

My daughter is 8 and according to her she has a boyfriend. However, when I asked her what that meant to her and what she does with her boyfriend seeing as they are in the same grade/class she said they play together at recess sometimes and sit next to each other. I asked specifically if she hugged him, or he hugged her, or how about kissing? She emphatically exclaimed that no they did not do that because she's not going to and they're not dating. I believe it's harmless if and only if it is just a silly label placed on and there is nothing to be concerned with otherwise.

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answers from Chicago on

Isn't it really just a "label" at this point? Maybe I'm naive, but what are they really going to be doing as "boyfriend/girlfriend" at this age? It's not like they're going on a date by themselves....

I would start by asking your son what HE thinks it means to be boyfriend/girlfriend. Tell him what YOU think it means and see where the conversation goes...

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answers from Norfolk on

Way too young.
You and your son need to get clear in your minds the difference between friends and girlfriends/boyfriends.
You can be friends with anybody, and being friends can be on again off again, over and over.
Girlfriend/boyfriend is a degree closer, but when a break up happens, it's harder to be just friends again after that.
And I don't know WHY but too many kids seem to think being girlfriend/boyfriend is a rush for exclusivity that just should not happen till you are a lot further along to deciding on a mate.
When you are young (my son can't date till he's 16), it's as important to find out what you don't like as well as what you like and you SHOULD play the field and date lot's of people.
Going steady should happen as you are older (senior in high school through college and beyond), and break ups still happen.
By the time a couple is sure they are done looking for anyone else, then an engagement and eventual marriage happens.
A very few people can manage to still be friends after a marriage breaks up, but it's very rare.

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answers from Phoenix on

To answer your main question...Yes, I agree with you, he's too young for a "girlfriend."

My daughter started having boys asking her to be their girlfriends when she was in kindergarten. She's a cute and sweet little girl (or tall blonde depending who you ask, like little boys) who is not allowed to have a "boyfriend." She'd been asked/told by several little boys that she was their "girlfriend." She would come home and tell me and I'd tell her the same thing everytime. "Honey, you go back to school and you tell them that you two are friends but that you are not his girlfriend." She's even been kissed by more than one boy on the playground, to which I've emailed the teacher and had her nip that behavior because it's something unacceptable for chidren of that age.

I know I'm old school but I think boyfriend/girlfriends dating is for the sole purpose of finding a lifelong mate. I try to gently instill that value into my children. Sure, it's innocent enough when they are only 5, 6, 7, and 8 but not far off from that children start experimenting and becoming more sexually curious and I definately want to discourage that!

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answers from Washington DC on

i'm a little surprised at how strongly everyone's reacting to this!
while i'd be leery about some sort of hugely romantic committed 'dating' sort of relationship at this age, having a crush and a 'girlfriend'? my kids did this from kindergarten on.
my older son (now 25) has had 4 serious girlfriends with more casual dating inbetween. my younger (21) has had the same gf from the time they were 13 and 11, she was his first *serious* gf and he has never wavered. they both really really like women, are respectful of them, and are good boyfriends.
i was watchful and on the strict side when it came to teen dating and sex, but never interfered with their normal childhood friendships, and that's all i'd consider this to be.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Way to young. I don't understand how an eight year old even thinks about those things. I know I have seen parents who think it's really cute and keep stressing things like "oh that's your girlfriend/boyfriend?" so that kids get a lot of attention from it. Of course they keep doing it because they get the attention. Just quit saying anything about it and he will stop also and do things that eight year old boys should be doing.

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answers from Philadelphia on

gosh I hope K "dating" lol isn't a path to craziness. lol. My daughter has promised a boy that when shes 7 or 70 (big gap huh) she'd marry him but for now their bf and gf. They already "broke up" and are friends and now she says their bf and gf again but he doesnt know yet=)
I had a boyfriend when I was 6. We'd walk the nieghborhood holding hands. I only have one boyfriend my ex from (14-26) after that. So I don't think preschool and kid relationships have anything to do with the long term.
I would ask why he wants one and ask why its better than J. friends. I woudln't give permission or forbid, J. talk and list reasons why its better not to date until older, but forbidding is like daring him to do it. Unless yo have that rare kid that will listen

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answers from Provo on

I remember my mom telling us at that age (when the subject came up)...that that was the age for us to have lots of 'girlfriends' or 'boyfriends' and to not worry about 'asking' someone or having that 'one'. I think it's a tough question because while I don't like it or approve of it - I think seriously overreacting or making it 'taboo' can have the opposite affect. I've tried to emphasize with my 8 year old the importance of developing social skills and getting a long with everyone - there will be plenty of time later to have a boyfriend. I remember my younger brothers watching their friends have 'girlfriends' and wondering why anybody would do that to themselves at that age - it just seemed to make their friends more emotional, moody, etc. Yes, for many it is just an innocent label...but courtesy of movies, music, and other influences...for some it is not. I personally believe that when girls and boys spend their early years concerned with boyfriends and girlfriends they miss out a lot on many opportunities to develop within themselves the qualities that they will need to attract the type of person that they ultimately want to be with. Just my two cents...and I'm in a rush...so hopefully none of it came off too...off. :p. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I'd tell him it's nice that he likes her, and they can be friends if she would like to be friends. 8 is too young to be boyfriend/girlfriend. And if he approaches her trying the "I'd like to be your boyfriend" route, it may backfire and upset her or her parents because they aren't ready for that kind of overture. She probably does like him as a friend, but if he pushes it, she may be embarrassed and have a harder time just enjoying playing together and being friends. Tell him to focus on being a good friend to her and to all the kids on his team. It's fine that he likes her. But he needs to wait until he is older to really pursue a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.



answers from Santa Barbara on

Oh darn, he's even distracted playing baseball??

I didn't support it but didn't ban it either (that would be the quickest was to make it happen). I divorced when my daughter was five and just showed her the example that I didn't need a boyfriend to make the picture complete. Fortunately (for me) she was consumed with her own activities: softball, competitive figure skating, dance, friends and school to be bothered with boys until her junior year of high school.

I don't relate to moms that think it is just too cute to have ten year olds rushing the boyfriend/girlfriend thing. There is lots of time for that down the road.

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