Preteen and Mild Dating

Updated on November 11, 2010
B.F. asks from Fort Worth, TX
19 answers

Ok so my 12 year old daughter is about 6 months from 13 and has finally asked on a serious note if she can have a boy friend. From some snooping around I have found out that she has already had boyfriends. She did get in trouble for lying about it. So now she is trying to open up and be honest because I told her she can come to me that I am more understanding than she thinks. But I will not tolorate lying and sneeking around. So now my delima is do I go ahead and let her have a boyfriend on a very limited shaparoned basis or still say no. This seems pretty straight forward but how early is to early for school yard boyfriends. And I want her to be open and honest with me and not sneek around in this situation. So confused.

What can I do next?

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answers from Provo on

I think that is a wonderful thing. You can never really stop "relationships" from hapening and the more she knows that you want her to talk to you about it and that you are understanding and will always have an hear open for her, then she will come to you for more problems that she has. I never had a good relationship with my mom and that's because I didn't think I could ever go to her. Keep that line open and she will trust you more and more.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have kids but not at that age. Now my aunt did not allow her 2 kids which was a boy and girl to date until they were of the age 16. And I mean actual date like going out dating. They could have friends that they liked & hang out with but they were not allowed to be called boyfriend or girlfriend. No dating was involved until they were 16. She didn't have any problems with that, and the kids didn't give her a hard time about it either.

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answers from Albany on

My daughter who is 14 in May has had 3 boyfriends. The first two, their entire relationahip consisted of deliberately ignoring each other publicly.

The new one, going on 5 months 'together' is different. Yuck. I hate everyone who comes within 5 miles of my gorgeous generous kid, sigh.

That said, prior to having 'boyfriends' she ALREADY has a lot of self-respect. I've used that back door approach to keep an eye on their relationship, it's become yet another bonding op for us. We now share 'dumb boy' stories. They have VERY little (if any) unsupervised time together. THey have had a couple 'dates', where I've taken them to the mall, football game etc. I've talked at length with his mom just to see if we were on the same page.

I know I'm gonna get hammered for this but I also spy all the time. I have access to her computer accts, texts, I have even read her journal (sigh, sorry!), and I have not seen anything at all alarming.

She is very open and we discuss all things boyfriend the same way we discuss every other aspect of her life. She makes very good choices every day. I understand there is no telling her she 'can't' have a boyfriend, but I can guide her still to make age appropriate decisions, I see evidence everyday that she is handling it well. Still I am just LURKING at every turn to yank it out from under them! tehehehe, I just haven't had to.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I would ask her what she thinks it means to have a boyfriends. What happens between a boyfriend and a girlfriend? What is she okay with happening? (and you) And make sure that she knows how to say NO! Even with a boyfriend. The title isn't a pass.

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answers from Dover on

She is too young for actual dating but not necessarily for a "boyfriend". I know things have changed since I was that age but I did have a boyfriend. At that age that meant we talked on the phone, wrote notes, sat next to each other at lunch or at assemblies. Occasionally saw each other outside of school (at the mall or something like that). I see nothing wrong w/ that. Maybe having several friends (including the boyfriend) over for movie or game night.

Allow the boyfriend, but encourage her not to be too serious AND encourage lots of friends (both male and female).

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answers from Spokane on

I think even if you tell her she cant have a boyfriend she will probably continue to date the boy at school and lie about it as she already has. Telling her no to this may cause her to be more dishonest and not open up to you. I would invite the boy over for dinner and they can like watch a movie at the house but not go anywhere else. That way anything you say after that wont be about you not giving the boy a chance. If you dont like him thats that.
I definitely feel 13 is too young for dating but I think a lot of girls around that age are getting pressured at school to feel like they are suppose to have boyfriends and dress a certain way. Its tough for girls as we all know, so the best thing you can probably do is work on the trust part of it all.
I would talk to her let her know you honestly dont like the idea of her dating that young but you also know she is getting older and can make some of her own decisions and that you trust she will make the right ones. but if she is going to date then there will be restrictions because of her age and as she gets older and the more she works on not lying and sneeking around the more she will be able to do like go to a movie or the mall.
Also, its never too early to have the sex talk and where you stand on it. The restrictions assure that she wont be in a situation for that to happen.

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answers from Detroit on

Good question! I guess i would ask myself how is my daughter doing in school and how is her focus on her responsibilities around the home front. I already know the hubby would say no to the question but my thoughts would be (if we feel she is upfront & responsible) you can not have a boyfriend but you can have a friend who is a boy! LOL. I know we would not allow her to go on dates but allow the friend to come to the house so we can teach her how to interact with the boys. THAT'S WHAT I SAY NOW BUT WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TRULY HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE TOPIC! LOL! It may just be heck to the naaaaw.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm thin king if you allow it, you can limit it somewhat and that might be a good thing.

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answers from Dallas on

I am so impressed that she took the initiative to come and discuss this with you, but just because she is honest, doesn't mean house rules change:)
If it were me and I had this glorious opportunity of openess, I would certainly take it as an opportunity to build on by a conversation about dating in general.
I would tell my son/daughter - "I understand this is something you want to do and I am not completely opposed to it, but I need to know a little more. Can you help me make a smart/informed decision?" OF COURSE they want to help you say yes. ask questions about what dating consists of, what she wants to have happen, maybe even use this conversation (over coffee, a mani pedi or another very 'grown up' activity) as a way to share with her humerous misteps you or your friends made at the time.
After you feel you have prodded, spoke and gleaned all the informaiton you need - tell her thank you for her honesty and it helped you get a full understanding of dating today. Tell her you want to be fair and need a few days to mull it over - come back with your decision and IF it is yes lay down parameters for a dating relationship that are acceptable. Have her sign a contract that outlines what you and she agree to. If no, tell her how much you appreciated her being honest and based on what she has said these are the milestones that need to be met by both of you and again, sign a contract that sates when she is 13, you will revisit the discussion. you Will consider "home dating" (FYI I had to do this until I was 16!! My BF had to come to my house and spend the evening with my family NO alone time - LOL!) or whatever is appropriate.
Hope that made sense.
Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

Don't do it. Been there, done that. Boyfriends (even casual and with supervision) too early lead to the "next steps" too early. I made this mistake with my oldest daughter who is 21 and has two little girls, 3 & 1. I raised my girls with values and to have self respect but the pressure out there is intense because so many kids are doing it and girls feel pressured to do it just to keep the boy from looking elsewhere. My youngest is 17 & she was not too happy that I said no boyfriends until you are 16. But once I explained why I feel that way (and reminded her of big sis's issues) she completely understood. She does not have a boyfriend and is very involved and focused on school and extra curricular activities. She has seen first hand what getting involved too soon can lead to and wants no part of that. I know a lot of parents will say "my kid would not have sex, we've talked about it". But I know a lot of my daughters friends are having sex at 16, 17 and even younger. It seems like everyone is doing it and it's scary. Our high school has one of the highest STD rates in the area and I live in a decent neighborhood. It is up to the parents to be vigilant and set the rules. I don't mean to be a downer but it is what it is. HTH

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answers from Denver on

My daughter is 10, so I write this while completely freaking out about this scenario being just around the corner!

Had you previously had an age in mind for her to date or were you waiting for the situation to come up? My point being make sure you aren't compromising your parenting plan because she's asking. And don't do it because you figure she'll do it anyway, and don't do it because you want her to always come to you (as in, giving in)...

With that said, this does sound like a good opportunity to allow her to regain your trust and for you to set some boundaries and show her that she can come to you. Have a casual, non-confrontational, but very clear, conversation with her about this. Ask why she feels she should be allowed to have a boyfriend and what that means to her (does she want solo dates, kissing, what?). Then let her know your expectations- group/chaperoned dates only, no physical contact, phone calls ok, etc. Don't forget when you are telling her what she CAN'T do to tell her what she CAN. And set limits- what will happen if her grades suffer or she lies about this relationship. This puts her in charge of her choices but also sets the stage for her growing independence and relationship with you.

Most of all, YIKES, this must be so confusing for you. Sounds like you are really open, though, and that will go a long way. I'm with you, the one thing I can't stand is sneakiness. Hopefully your open communication will keep this at bay. Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

I did not read your other responses and my oldest is only 10, so I'm not quite there yet, but I hid everything from my mom. She would not let me have a boyfriend so I hid it from her. I think you are doing the right thing by letting her be open with you! She's already showed you that she will hide if you don't let her, not that this is a reason to let her, but if she feels she can come to you it will probably help her not become so dependent on a boyfriend and takes the thrill out of sneaking around. And, you get to set the ground rules if you know. Good luck, you have many years ahead of you :)

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answers from Redding on

I don't think you can stop "school yard" boyfriends and you shouldn't try. It will only lead to her lying about it, which will lead to her lying about more important things...However, I also think that 12 is WAY to young for a boyfriend outside of school. She has to respect your rules, you are the mom. Keep tabs on where she is and who she is with when she is not at home or school. If you don't she could be losing her verginity at 14! Trust me on this one...

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answers from Modesto on

My opinion is that actual "dating" is ok at 16. This means not going anywhere with a boy prior to that. If little b/f wants to come hang out at your house and play video games or have dinner with you once in awhile while you are there that would be benign. Kissing and hugging at 13 with no parental supervision would probably lead to disaster in most cases. Going steady and holding hands is one thing, kissing is a whole nother.
You know how mature and or trustworthy your daughter is and whether or not she knows how to make mature choices. I just honestly believe that 13 is too young for them to make good decisions about sex. If they are just "buddies" I'm sure it would be fine to call him a b/f BUT no dating.

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answers from Dallas on

Hi B.,

I read a few of the responses but not all so I may be repeating...

I have a young daughter and I plan to follow what my parents did for me..
I was not allowed to date - as in go out on a date - until I was 16. I was not allowed to have a "boyfriend" but could have friends that were boys. I know it sounds goofy but believe me there is a difference. Those friends could call me on the phone and we could talk for 15 minutes. No longer than that. I was not allowed to call them. At the time, yes it was tough to understand but I knew the rules and followed them because I was told very plainly of the consequences if I didn't follow them. If I had lied to my parents about any of it, what little privileges I had regarding those "friend-boys" would have been taken away for a week or more.
In contrast.... My cousin was allowed to have boyfriends from the time she was 12. She was allowed to wear makeup and start wearing high heels, etc (basically start dressing like an adult woman) when she was 13. She was allowed to start dating when she was 14. She got pregnant when she was 15. I was 3 years older and when I found out that she was pregnant it finally clicked with me and I understood why my parents didn't let me do what she was allowed to do.
The last thing that I'll comment on is not to let your daughter know you're confused. If she knows that, she WILL take advantage of it and manipulate you to get what she wants. Not because she's a bad kid. That's not it. ALL kids will test their boundaries and manipulation is one of the ways they do that. YOU have to be the parent and set the rules and the consequences of her not following them and make both very very clear to her. YOU then have to follow through and be consistent. YOU also have to accept the consequences of whatever happens to your daughter/whatever she goes through if YOU decide to be lax in setting those rules or not follow through enforcing the rules that you set. Basically, it really is up to you. You can NOT be her friend. You have to be her Mom.

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answers from Dallas on

Well my parents told me when I was that age no boyfriend. And well I had one anyways. I think it's best not to tell her no but that you put limits on it.

Good luck and God bless!



answers from Dallas on

I remember lots of boyfriends and girlfriend situations at my Junior High, so 13 is probably the right age to start this adventure with adult supervision and some basic ground rules.



answers from Dallas on

I only read a few of the responses so I may be redundant. I remember that age, and I remember changing "boyfriends" every other week. Make sure she keeps an open line of communication with you because although most of it is completely innocent, there will be instances of boys who have older brothers and skewed expectations. There will also be multiple heartbreaks.

I see no problem with letting her have chaperoned dates or group dates at this age. There's also nothing wrong with talking to the parents- girls and boys- of the kids she is spending time with.

When I started dating, my parents always had me give them the boy's parent's names, and phone numbers. When I started going out in car dates I also had to give them the license plate number. I remember my friends thinking it was crazy, but I gotta say in retrospect it wasn't a bad idea. thankfully, they never actually needed this info, but it was there in case they did.



answers from Dallas on

You have already gotten some great advice. And I agree, 13, 14 is too young. Have a talk with her. At this age kids are driven by hormones. You've been that age. Now you're older. You can see things she can't see. I personally know of young teens who got pregnant because their parents said it was ok to date. Set the rules. Don't be afraid. If she sneaks behind your back and worst case gets pregnant, she'll realize you were right. Thank God she's talking to you.

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