Help! I Think My 11-Year-old Is Kissing Boys!

Updated on January 14, 2011
A.W. asks from Springfield, TN
18 answers

Okay, I may pay for this from you guys, but I did a little snooping last night... My 11-year-old bonus daughter left her cell phone on the kitchen counter. And yes, I read some of her text messages. (First of all, I totally disagree with an 11-year-old having a cell phone in the first place - if it didn't come from her mother, she wouldn't have one at all.) Nevertheless, we discovered that she has a boyfriend. And apparently they just broke up this week. One particular text message said "So, the only reason is you like kissing me?" I was appalled. My hubby is very upset, and I think I'm probably going to have to be the one to talk with her. Question: how do I confront this problem without telling her how I found out? I don't think my husband would even dream about talking this over with her birth mother... They have a very strained relationship, and her mother is not the best role model to begin with. I think she might even be proud that her daughter is kissing a boy at this age... Goodness, what a pandora's box I opened!! Please give me any advice and experience you have. I thank you all in advance!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Tell her how you found out. You, as a parent (or step), have a right to snoop. If she's offended tell her, "those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing."

A little snooping by a parent is okay. If they don't like it, tough.

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answers from Norfolk on

I think maybe someone needs to talk to her about reputation and why it's wise to guard it. It's good to be 'sweet sixteen and never been kissed' as opposed to be 'sweet sixteen and never been missed'. If she's going to make it to sixteen and still be regarded as sweet, she might want to put the brakes on the kissing for awhile.

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answers from Modesto on

I have two thoughts on this.
You can pretend you didnt read the text messages and use this as a wake up call that the topic of boys and sex needs to come up soon at your house and you and her dad need to decide boundaries.
I don't think an 11 yr old has a total "right" to privacy, they are children SO I would tell her you know she's kissing boys and then begin your speech from there... also letting her know that her phone is not PRIVATE to you and you will be monitoring it. Eleven is way too young to be kissing boys and having TEXT features..... next will be "sexting".... At least that's what I would be afraid of.
Good luck.

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answers from Columbia on

I agree with you that 11 years old is too young for a cell phone with any privileges other than emergency calls and calls home. (They do have phones with only those options. I also found out that ATT can put all sorts of limits on your child's phone.)
I have 3 step children and against our wishes they all have cell phones. Their mom got them for them even after being asked not to. When they come over here they have rules that include their cell phone getting shut off at 10pm and being left upstairs, away from them, to be charged. Both the girls would stay up until the middle of the night texting their friends. We told them all that we have the right to look at their text messages and anything else on their phones. They hate that and do everything they can to make sure we don't get our hands on their phones, including erasing the messages every night.
When our oldest was a junior in high school we got a shock when we saw the message to her boyfriend that read "What would you do if I told you I was pregnant?". That night we had "the talk" with her, because obviously her mom hadn't. The middle girl asked me if we were talking about sex. I had to ask her why she thought that and she said she had walked in on them. I think she really wanted to know what kind of trouble her sister was going to get into. She joined us for the conversation. (She was in 5th grade.) Dad took the oldest daughter out a few days later and made her buy condoms. He helped her pick the ones she wanted and gave her the money to buy them. He also told their mom. (We don't think she did anything about it.) Everyone figured out how we knew they had had sex. Until they move out of the house nothing is so important or wrong that it needs to be kept a secret.
I suggest talking with her about the rules of your house and that you expect her to follow them. Also, go over what the consequences are if she doesn't. Have her help you decide the rules and consequences. That way you can compromise if she doesn't like one of them. At the age of 11 this should include turning off the cell phone early and when it is off it needs to be where everyone can see it, not hiding in her bedroom. She also needs to allow you to look at it if you ask. If she gets another boyfriend, you need to meet him. This way you can decide if he is worthy of your daughter and what kind of boy he is. Since we "talked" with our oldest, we have met all but one of her boyfriends.
Hope this helps and lets you know that you are not alone!

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answers from St. Cloud on

Even if you didn't give her the phone, when she is with you guys, it's YOUR RULES! Take the phone away. 11 is too young.

And just sit down and have another talk about EVERYTHING without singling out her kissing. Talk ABSTINENCE.

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answers from San Antonio on

We've been having issues with our 11-year old too. If I were you, I would sit her down and talk to her as though you have no idea this happened (that is if you want to keep it secret) and are just having "the talk" with her. Of course you're not going to go into detail with things, but ask her if she has any questions and talking to her about holding hands and kissing. See if she ends up bringing it up...and if she does, don't lose your cool. Just relax and tell her how you feel about it.

Good luck! I hope things go well for you! *hugs*

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answers from Houston on

I think the first thing to do is to define whatever standards you guys want in your home. Like dating at X age, no boyfriends before X age, no kissing before X age. If these things were not established then I don't think she should be expected to know that she wasn't allowed to kiss a boy. Kids don't know they are too young for things, they see themselves as budding adults racing as fast and has hard toward maturity as they possibly can. We see them as children and I guess they are probably somewhere in between. I wouldn't come down on her for kissing personally, I mean, it's not like it was sex and it did already happen. I think I would tell her that I saw some of her texts were about kissing and I wanted to know how she felt about kissing in general and what did she consider ok in a relationship as well as what her friends thought was ok, I wouldn't ask for names or anything. I think since she has already started to dabble the best thing is to get info. Then talk to her about the fact that you understand that many kids and parents are ok with young people engaging in these things but at your house the expectation is (whatever it is), like no dating until 16 or whatever. You can do a little object lesson if you want. Get a suitcase and and fill it with as much heavy stuff as possible. Too heavy for her to pick up but you need to be able to do it. Ask her to try and pick it up, she should struggle or be unable to do it. Then tell her that is how dating, kissing, and boyfriend girlfriend relationships are for girls her age. They are too heavy to handle and weigh you down. When you are older and you will be able to pick this up with ease as well as handle a boy girl relationship. Then offer ice cream, it always helps!! Just a fun idea to handle a sticky situation. The main thing is I don't think she should be in trouble for liking and kissing boys, but she should be guided to wait on it a few more years until she is ready to deal with all aspects of a relationship.

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answers from Houston on

I wouldn't bring it up that you looked at the text, ot even that you know about her kissing.

I would simply have a talk with her that she can always come to you if she has any worries and simply ask her if she would like to go out and have a girls date and chat. Tell her while out that she is a bright and beautiful girl and that she is entering into a world of dating and boys and that it's okay to have crushes, but taking it physical at this point is just too much. It interferes with school work and causes emotions that are distracting and hurtful and shouldn't be there at this age when she is figuring out who she is and such. You can talk about how boys and girls show affection differently and let her know her value as a young woman is too important to give to just some boy... and that not all boys have her best interest in mind.

You all obviously know her better, but that is how I would begin it.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Well, I have told my kids, especially the 12yo, that I have the right and responsibility to look at emails, texts, etc she gets, and that sometimes my job to keep her safe may include snooping. But since this is a step-daughter, that may complicate things for you.

Maybe don't bring up the text message at first... just find a way to start the topic of kissing. Maybe say something like "I heard something recently that made me wonder if kids your age are kissing. What do you think?" And then you can talk about your worries of her kissing boys already. Maybe it's even better to talk about concerns you have of her having a steady boyfriend at 11. Kids are starting to have relationships very early now, and it is definitely frightening. We've told our kids that it's okay to be friends, but just friends, until high school at least.

Also keep in mind that the text doesn't neccesarily mean she is kissing. There's a good chance it does, but sometimes adolescents say smart-alec remarks to each other than don't mean what they sound like from the outside (of course, maybe there is more that tells you she is kissing, that you haven't shared). So, my point is, stay calm. Especially since confrontation and getting upset are just going to make the issue that much worse.

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answers from Eugene on

Boy Howdy what a tough one. You can take it in both directions. You can either tip-toe around the subject and ask questions hoping you'll get the answers you are looking for. Or you can take the bull by the horns and just tell her that you found out. One way or another it definately needs to be addressed. One thing that my dad always told me and it has always stuck with me is that "You can never go back" What that means is that you have once kissed a boy....what's the next step....touching....after that - what's the next step.....and so on. But you can never go back to experience that special moment of your firsts. Another thing too that my dad told me was Girls have more to loose than Boys do....and it's true. Girls have the innocence that can be given away and once given away....the boy will go onto the next one. And the Girl is left behind with the consequences of the decision. I had this kind of talk with my dad when I was 13,14 or 15.......I know your daughter is 11...but she has obviously has shown some interest in boys......I'm not saying that she's gonna go out and have sex....but she may at 14 or 15.....if she keeps going.......

She may "hate" you now......but if you are able to guide her in the straight line and teach her morals.....she will remember that when she's older and wiser. Looking back and saying "I'm so glad that I listened....or I should have listened" You as a parent can do so much to control your children.....but you can instill your sayings and beliefs and it may give her the strength to make the right decision. Good luck....Let us know how it went and what happened.

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answers from Las Vegas on

If I am correct, 11 puts her in 6th grade??? It seems that really was the first kiss norm in my day. Certainly, you would like to keep her innocence, but seeing how she has already done this, it is just time to talk. I don't see the need to tell her you snooped, as that would probably cause distrust and she will probably be sure to erase the next text.

Just talk to her about what is next, consequences, and precautions. The S. E. X. conversation can now be a bit more in the open. She should know, boys try to get in your pants/top next, they will talk, rumors will go round, and young girls can and do get pregnant from first encounters. She should also know, sexually active girls must have uncomfortable vaginal exams and can get STD's that may be lifelong gifts.

I would love to tell you how to unwind this, but honestly moving forward is the best way to go.

Best wishes.

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answers from Charlotte on

A., anyone who tells you that children should have privacy with electronic devices and their rooms are wrong, wrong, wrong. We are their protectors and stewards. They are not old enough in their brains to make good choices - that's why we are supposed to help them. This includes reading what they write on their cellphones, computers, etc. Making sure they aren't hiding drugs under their beds. Having sex with boys. Etc.

It is a little harder for you because she isn't your daughter. It would help if you work with your husband and possibly a counselor to figure out the best way to approach this with her.

A., keep snooping. If you are able to keep this girl from getting pregnant, you will be a hero in her life.

All my best,

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answers from Nashville on

hi, you could say that she has been seen kissing in public, i bet someone somewhere has seen it. and go from there. somebody needs to address this. her dad better step up before he becomes a grandpa. good luck and you have my support. mom of 7, R.

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answers from Anchorage on

I would not tell her you know anything. Sit down and have the sex talk. Ask her if she has ever kissed a boy, but if she lies do not call her out on it. Stay calm, and as part of the talk be sure to mention respect for ones self, and make her feel like she can talk to you about anything!! If she confesses, do not ask her why, or get mad, just ask her how it made her feel. Let her lead from there.

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answers from Seattle on

6th grade was also the norm for kisses in my day, as well. 1st kisses behind the swings in K, first real kiss in 6th. Sorta dating in middle school. Real dating and making out in highschool. Sex in college (or in my case the military).

I'm curious, however... is the problem the kiss or that she didn't tell you about a 'boyfriend'?



answers from Louisville on

shes 11! shes going to kiss boys... just make sure shes had the talk with her mother you may think shes too young but trust me shes not!! otherwise let it go!
ps if she brings the phone in to your house you have the right to go thru it. just like if she had something in her room you have the right to go through it. its your house not hers



answers from Philadelphia on

Try talking to her and brining the subject up and asking how she feels about a boyfriend etc. I wouldn't say I looked at your cell either, that would freak her out. I do wonder why you looked at her phone and not your hubby since this is his daughter?



answers from Nashville on

I think all parents should snoop every now and then b/c it keeps you involved in your child's life. You want them to have their privacy too but you must know what is going on especially if you have doubt. I would ask her directly if she has ever kissed a boy and see her reaction. When is she away from you other than school? You are going to have to control her whereabouts a bit more but unfortunately you are not going to be able to control what she does when she is at her mother's house. Her father needs to control what goes on in his house, you are not the one who can deal with this. Only her mother or father. If he is upset, he needs to handle this.

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