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Tween Myth: My Mom Has a New Boyfriend!

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Tweens can easily confuse mom's new friend with mom's new steady.
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Single Mom Seeking: Last night, I got a frantic phone call from a cherished single mom friend. This is exactly how the conversation started: "My mom came to visit for a week this summer, and I was planning to tell her that I'd met someone."

But before she had a chance, her daughter blabbed all. They were having dinner one warm evening. As her 9-year-old son blissfully feasted, her 12-year-old daughter chatted with Grandma. All innocent, yes? Well, when my friend went to the kitchen to check on dessert, she overheard her daughter mention "mom's new boyfriend."

Uh oh. That's a problem. As far as her kids are concerned, my girlfriend doesn't really have a boyfriend. She has a potential love interest whom she briefly introduced to her kids. Once. My friend has never used "boyfriend" to describe this man to her kids. And she never mentioned this guy to her mom (why would she, right?). Of course, Grandma was miffed. And my girlfriend was utterly confused.

How did her tween daughter blow this simple introduction so out of proportion?

Here's what's going on:

Things got jumbled because this friend underestimated her tween daughter's curiosity -- and her interest in her mom's life. Let's face it: tweens are media-infused. They often pick up on expressions or scenarios from TV, but they don't yet have the knowledge, maturity, and experience to understand adult experiences. This tween probably took the "quickie" introduction -- as well as the overheard cell phone calls and mom's body language -- and jumped to the "boyfriend" conclusion.

Of course, single moms are entitled to having lives after the kids go to bed. But it's also important to talk about your life with your tween kids. No, you do not need to spill every last detail -- or make your tween a confidante.

Yet sharing a simple word or two about this guy might start an important conversation. You can also ask your tween something like: "Do you have anything you might want to know?"

Sure, she might ask an awkward or embarrassing question. Yet it's vital to keep the conversation going. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about our own attitudes and beliefs about dating, sex, and other hot button topics.


next: Jon and Kate -- Where Are They Now?
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
ame i. July 28, 2009, 2:05 PM

I was widowed when my daughters were 3 and 5. I didn’t start going out with men again for over a year & they never met the first 2 at all. I dated the last man for over a year before introducing them to him because I didn’t want them to meet a man I wasn’t sure I was serious about and vice versa.
I married this wonderful man almost 2 years ago. This is his first marriage, first and only children.
At 9 & 11, daughters have now known their “Dad” longer than they knew their “Father”. Many people don’t realize he isn’t their birth father & it’s cute when people remark how much they look like him & none of the 3 of them correct them.

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