9 Yr Olds Kissing in the Bushes

Updated on March 01, 2009
L.K. asks from Denver, CO
10 answers

Please help! I just found out that my 9 yr old daughter and her best friend are kissing boys on the lips, and of course, lying to cover it up so they don't get into trouble. How do I handle this? I've tried talking to her and asking her why she thinks it is appropriate behavior at 9... her response is that the boy was cute. I've tried explaining that this is not acceptable, and I realize that she is curious, but I don't want this behavior to continue (or escalate). What really scares me is that if they are kissing at 9, what are they going to be doing at 12?! At the moment she is grounded to her room for the next couple of days while I try to come up with a game plan. Any suggestions would be most welcome!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all your terrific responses! My DD and I have always spoken openly about everything, and I want our relationship to remain open. I have never told her that kissing was bad or dirty, just inappropriate at her age, but because of some of your responses I felt I needed to revisit that with her. Thanks again, you all gave me things to think about, and helped me decide how I wanted to handle this situation. I spoke with her after school. I wanted to make sure that she understood why she had been grounded... and as some of you suspected, she didn't. She thought she was grounded for kissing (as some of you did), so I explained that the reason she was grounded was because she lied to me. We spoke about making good decisions and consequences vs. bad decisions and consequences, and it's now up to her to try to come up with an idea on how she could better handle herself in the future. We also discussed that kissing was not bad or dirty, but that there was an appropriate time and place for it... and the time was not at 9 yrs old. I explained that there are alot of cute boys out there, and that there were more appropriate ways of showing someone that you liked them (other than getting physical). So, I had her come up with several examples of how she could do that.
I also told her that if SHE could not come up with a viable suggestion on how she was planning to make 'good' decisions in the future regarding her behavior, then MY suggestion would be that I would have to monitor her behavior personally 24/7 (outside of school hours) to help her with her decision making... she seems very motivated to come up with something. She also has to put it in writing so that we can refer back to it in the future if necessary. I am trying to guide her toward "if I would NOT be embarrassed to do this in front of my family, then it is probably a good decision, if I WOULD be embarrassed to do this while my family was watching, then it is probably a bad decision". Which I think is reasonable at this age.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I don't know that grounding her for kissing is appropriate, maybe for the lying. You definitely need to talk with her and have an open relationship that she knows she can trust you and talk to you with out you getting upset. My 9 year old daughter has a boyfriend that told her all about the birds and the bees and so we have had to have a few discussions with her. Luckily she already knew that kissing was not appropriate and she told him that. I trust her and I am glad that we can talk about it.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Why are you creating guilt and shame in your daughter about the act of kissing a boy? (Titus 1:15). Your reaction is teaching your daugther a lesson I wish all little girl could avoid. You are telling her by your actions that she is dirty and unpure. I believe that it is very natural to be attracted to the opposite sex and it is when we label it as something "unacceptable" that we create the bigger danger. Thank you for acknowledging your fear to us. Now, acknowledge that fear to your daughter.

The best way to handle it right now, is to go to your daughter, apoligize for over-reacting, and explain what you are afraid of. When you share with your daughter your fears please take the time to tell her that you know that she is a wonderful, loving person.

There have been many girls, because of the message they hear from their parents, made up their mind that they were filthy and dirty and than acted accordingly... I know you don't what that for your daughter.

Here's three questions for you: Did you give her any other choice other then to try to lie about it? What did she know about your reaction to her telling the truth? What frightens you the most?

With my whole heart, C.
Owner of Loving Connections LLC

What is Loving Connection?
Caring Enough to share your whole heart.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

L. - I sympathize with you. It is so scary to realize how quickly children grow up in today's world. I would caution you, though, not to make this situation so big that you lose the good relationship it sounds as if you have with your daughter. (If you can talk with her and ask her her reasoning behind this behavior, it sounds like you have some definite rapport.) You will need this good relationship as she continues to mature. My suggestions is to talk with her about other ways to let boys know that she likes them - writing "I like you" notes, doing nice things for them, even (if these aren't satisfactory for her) holding hands and hugs. Let her know that there will be plenty of time as she gets older to develop other ways to show affection. Honesty and openness will help keep your relationship and communication open and end up helping you with your fears as you watch her grow into a healthy, loving young woman.



answers from Denver on

I agree completely with the other posters, you cannot punish her for what human nature has dictated for years. It isn't something she should have to hide from you.
No I don't condone 9 year olds kissing but at the same time now is your time to really sit down with her and talk about sex, her body and what true love is all about.
Kids at this age are on that edge of rebellion vs. wanting to still be children and if you miss this chance you will have bigger things to worry about.

When I was in 5th grade, I kissed a boy, I HATED it but I did it. Peer pressure related too probably. I didn't run and have sex at 12, just was curious. I told my friend that was so stupid and what was the big deal? :)
I couldn't talk to my mom about it either though and that left me feeling really conflicted about my body, what is okay and what is not.

Use this opportunity to edcuate her, to have her understand what is going on and why kissing should be reserved for "real love" and what that definition is. A friend recommended the American Girl Body Book. Explaining too that diseases (mono, menengitis) and this age can be transmitted as well through kissing. Take the anger out of it, of course you are freaked but if you just approach it as a time to talk to her instead of being angry she is a lot more likely to come to you when she has more curiosity or questions. This is coming from someone that felt ashamed as a young girl or couldn't talk to her mom about this stuff and how it wasn't until my twenties did I understand what really respecting my body and what true love was all about. I have a seven year old and I realize my time is coming, we actually have already talked about why you shouldn't really be kissing boys and all of that this young. Just want to keep the door open for every chance to talk to her.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I think our kids have a disadvantage because we are surrounded by casual sexual attitudes and behavior. They learn things very young from undesirable sources. My oldest daughter is 9 also and I just realized I need to start talking to her about the birds and the bees. Scary!!!
I think it's important to stay calm and teach her the beauty of our bodies and our desires. Help her to understand that kissing is not a bad thing but that she shouldn't be doing it when shes 9.
I actually just watched a segment on a local talk show with a psychologist who was talking about this. Here is the link if you want to check it out.
There were some books she suggested on the segment. I decided I was going to start there.
I wish you luck!



answers from Denver on

Ummm... I think I have to disagree with other posters, who don't seem to think this is a big deal. It is. My husband came home and told me a story that his co-worker had told him. His co-worker's 12 year old son was participating in "smile parties." This is where several boys sit at a table and some girls are underneath giving oral sex. The first boy to smile loses the game. Cute, huh?

This is a serious thing. I really believe that boyfriends should not be acceptable at all--even the "I like you" kind of things until at least high school. Kids are becoming sexually active earlier and earlier, and I think we do need to talk to our kids, and discuss family values and expectations. Part of this is enforcing standards.

Honestly, if that was my kiddo, I would be terrified and probably yank her out of school to homeschool her. I would limit or eliminate a great deal of media--TV, movies, CD's, internet, books, etc... that encouraged that type of behavior as well. That may be a bit extreme, but that is my thought on the matter.

I really did like the book a previous poster mentioned, called Hold on to Your Kids by Neufeld. It was a great book and I think could be really helpful. I also think the suggestion of making sure you are giving your DD enough attention now that you have tiny twins is really important. Could you schedule Mom-daughter dates every so often for just the two of you to go out and talk about what is going on in her life?

It is a tough and really serious situation. I wish you the best as you seek guidance on dealing with it.



answers from Pocatello on

Oh boy, this is scary! I think that the media that your daughter is exposed to can be partly to blame. Don't allow her to watch TV and movies that feature teenagers, even if they seem family friendly and harmless. The problem is that little girls will idolize Miley Cirus or the kids from high school musical so much that whne those girls start to do bad things,(and trust me, they will, just look at Brittney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and how innocent they used to seem) then the little girls who idolize them will think that those behaviors are acceptable and they will want ti immitate them. I know that this will make you unpopular with your daughter and her friends, but just don't allow the kindsof entertainment that showcases teenagers, immodest clothes, and music with questionable lyrics in your home. And explaint o your daughter that she needs to wait 6 or 7 years before she is old enough to kiss boys because that is something that only older people should do. This is something that should be taken seriously, there have been stories in the news in recent years about sex parties held by middleschoolers. I know it is going to be really hard, I hope that things will turn out alright.



answers from Denver on

Hi L.. A lot of good and varying posts already. I think your reaction reflects your values and is appropriate for you. I would just add (or reiterate) that it's great to tell your daughter what not to do, but don't forget to tell her what TO do. Even back in kindergarten, when my daughter started to have crushes, we freaked a bit. But we just talked with her and defined what that meant. We talked about what she should not do (and why based on our values) and then said what she could do- smile, write a note (that we see first), etc. We sometimes forget that kids hear what not to do, but don't know what they should do instead with their curiosities, etc.

Good catch, and nice job not thinking "kids will be kids".



answers from Pocatello on

Believe me i would of been worried if i had found that out myself about my child.

I do think its great you went back and talked to her and explained that she wasnt grounded for kissing the boy but for lying about it. Children really need to learn there are consequences for lying as well.

Also a good talk about when it is and is not appriopraite to be kissing would be good as well along with "the talk" so she understand what sex is and not going off of what she hears in school.

Kids are becoming sexually active very young and its a very scary world out there.

The other poster that mentioned about the "smile party" oh my goodness. That is scary stuff. Dont these kids know you can get diseases even if they dont have intercourse. I have heard kids are more and more having oral sex younger because they think if they dont have intercourse then they are safe. Wrong.

My daughter is 8 and i had the "talk" with her over two and half years ago.

keep the lines of communication open as well...that will help down the road as well.

Good luck



answers from Salt Lake City on

You might appreciate the book "Hold On to Your Kids" by Dr. Gordon Neufeld. It talks about peer orientation, which is when kids start shutting out and ignoring their healthy adult role models in favor of their peers. I really learned a lot from it, and if your daughter is already experimenting in this way, there could be more peer orientation coming. I highly recommend this book--it's in paperback.
I think it's important that there be no guilt or shame attached to this behavior, just a very clear explanation of your family's values as they relate to sexuality and chastity and age-appropriateness. Then, make sure that the adults in her life are not making light of girl-boy stuff or teasing about romance, because that really does seem to imply that getting an early start on such things is OK or charming. I think it's OK to agree that kissing is fun (lest she think you're stupid or a prude), but because our bodies are hard-wired to respond to it in certain ways and it takes maturity and self-control and life experience to make good decisions, she needs to find other fun things to do, now and even when she *is* older. I mean, if her whole marriage is based on kissing, it will burn out pretty fast. . . . there's got to be more than just physical attraction, and making herself the best she can be will ultimately better prepare her to be a better romantic partner when the appropriate time comes. Remind her that you're experienced enough in this department to have three kids, so you're not naive. ;)
Also, it's important that she has lots of hobbies and involvement with things that are about her and her skills--you only get one childhood and it would be too bad if she used hers up pretending to be an adult and playing adult games. It sounds like she may have too much unsupervised time on her hands. I have seen lots of teen girls and young women who seem to think their greatest and most important talent is attracting boys and men--she needs to realize that she is valued for far more than that, and have an opportunity to develop talents beyond flirting. Make sure she hears you talk about and compliment her on things she can DO and the efforts she makes at school and hobbies, not just how she LOOKS. She gets plenty of messages about the importance of physical cuteness from peers and media.
I also loved the book "The Love Languages of Children." It really taught me how to make each of my children feel loved. Is she feeling left out with new babies in the house and is seeking approval and reassurance in other ways?
Best wishes.

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