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My 12-Year-Old Had Her First Kiss

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Kate Meyers: My youngest daughter, age 12, got her first kiss last week. Though she was excited by the thought, I got the sense that the delivery lacked Hollywood-style punch. "It gets better after the third time," her seventh-grade friend (obviously a kissing veteran) counseled.

Girl blowing a kiss

I loved that my daughter told me, and that she felt it was between us gals. "Don't tell dad," she warned. "I don't think he could handle it."

Her sixth-grade suitor (whose name shall be protected to save the not-so-innocent), has been pursuing, texting and attempting to make weekend plans with her since early fall.

Many moms look at me and say, "Emmy has a BOYFRIEND. Are you worried about that?" To which I laugh and offer up the observation from Emmy's big sister Annie, who is 15 and knows all: "We don't need to worry about Emmy's boyfriends until they weigh more than 80 pounds," she said.

My daughter is still innocent. She's not hoping for a regular kissing routine. And frankly, between soccer, track, homework, girlfriends and her Hebrew studies, she doesn't have the time. I actually think she's got more balance and wisdom than a lot of women I know, including (sometimes) her mother. She loves her life, she participates in activities that bring her joy, she enjoys her girlfriends and she occasionally gets a bit gobsmacked over the attentions of a young gentleman who walks her to class and is seemingly mad about her charms.

I think it sets up nicely for a healthy future in girl/boy relationships -- and sweet smooching for years to come.


next: Woody Allen, The Moral Authority on Child Rape
33 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 19, 2010, 7:51 AM

12?! Um hello - isn’t that a tad young to be out w/boys and kissing. Yikes!! She’ll be having sex by 14/15

Anonymous May 19, 2010, 7:57 AM

“I think it sets up nicely for a healthy future in girl/boy relationships and sweet smooching for years to come.”
OR to get really bored of “just kissing” really quickly and have sex at a much younger age for years to come.

So sad how parents are letting their CHILDREN act like small adults. At 12 shouldn’t she be learning to make real friendships and pursue her own insterests and not be involved with dating and what boys want? So sad.

Kristin May 19, 2010, 8:00 AM

Cute. My littlest sister (9) is starting to like boys in her class. It is so funny to watch it happen from a different perspective. I’m glad you are not worrying. If you keep rules in place she’ll be fine.

Lissa May 19, 2010, 11:04 AM

Sadly enough there is nothing we can do about our daughters becoming teens and likeing boys. As a parent your children need to understand that with sex comes great responsibility… I hate to say it but I had the sex talk with my son who is 11. I told him I don’t want him to have to deal with herpys or warts or better yet HIV…And babies are forever….I told him that my talk with him was because I love him.

Stacie May 19, 2010, 11:22 AM

Oh, please. Let’s not get paranoid! So the little girl is experimenting with kissing…that does NOT mean that she’ll be having sex by 14 or 15. She even told her mom! Sounds to me like she’s got her head on straight and is developing at an age appropriate rate. Kudos to the mom for listening and for NOT freaking out. Kids grow up, everyone—time to face the facts!

Aly May 20, 2010, 4:49 AM

I would be terribly disappointed if my 12 year old was kissing boys or my 12 year old son were kissing girls. Yes, kids grow up, but 12 is WAY TOO YOUNG to allow dating/kissing/etc. It’s what wrong with parents today. 12 is not appropriate time to start chasing after boys or girls. It’s the time to develop friendships outside the family and begin to learn to take care of themselve and develop their own interests NOT to be concerned about the opposite sex. And we wonder why there are so many girls having sex at 14/15 - because they’ve been chasing boys around since 11!! For the record I’m a relatively young mom (27) so I’m not out of the loop or anything but I wasn’t allowed to even start group dating until 15 and definitely no one-on-one dates before 17. And it made me take time to get to know people and understand how to navigate relationship and not just run around kissing boys!!

stef May 20, 2010, 5:00 AM

I see no reason to be worried. (I had my first kiss at 11, and I turned out fine!) This girl seems well-rounded and she told her mom which shows that she has a good relationship with her.

All of you who are worried about kids having sex, I don’t think that a kiss is what leads to it. I think the music that teens listen to, the movies they watch, and most advertising campaigns are the reason teens have sex so young.

Anonymous May 20, 2010, 12:09 PM

Hmmm, if the daughter were really as active in other things as the writer’s says she wouldn’t be so into kissing boys. And clearly the boy/girl thing has been happening for quite some time in her life as the writer stated:has been pursuing, texting and attempting to make weekend plans with her since early fall.” So this all started when she was like 11? I realize the child has an older sibling and for some parents it becomes difficult to parent and keep things age appropriate for the younger sibs but this is pretty sad that she’s okay, or even proud of this.
It’s really not natural at 12 to be getting physical. My 13 year old and I discuss sex, boys, etc. very openly and she and most of her friends are just starting to notice the opposite sex.

Bruce Toadson May 21, 2010, 12:34 PM

As a parent that works in childcare, I can confirm that age 10-11 is when most children begin developing an interest in the opposite sex, and it usually simply takes a back seat to their other friends and activities. By 11-12 I think one or two of them (in a group of 25 or so) have had very chaste kisses. It’s perfectly normal, and nothing to be concerned about.

Anonymous May 22, 2010, 10:53 PM

listen up. 12 is NOT to young. if your daughter is a responsible girl who knows what she is getting in to then she’ll be fine. its just kissing! sex is a lot further then that and i bet a 12 year old girl is old enough to understand that she is to young for something like sex! And don’t be too over protective. Kids who want to have relationships should be aloud with out parents in the way unless you want your daughter to hate you

Tippikal May 23, 2010, 7:35 PM

There’s a reason that girls and boys of that age still have ‘cooties’. Or soccer, whichever one takes up more of their consciousness.
I’ve seen several children who have stories similar to your daughter’s. From what I’ve witnessed, the kids who were ‘active’, for lack of a better word, in the social realm of middle school dating are the ones now telling me about their sex lives as freshmen in high school. I’m seeing foreplay to relationships happening between younger and younger couples, and although in some cases it -is- completely innocent, as a part of the whole scheme it provokes other children towards similar behaviors for very different reasons.
On a lighter note, I always enjoy hearing about my mother’s first kiss. She was fourteen and was at work with a boy she knew. They were talking on a stair landing and he leaned in and kissed her. My mom slapped him, and he took a few steps backwards and fell down the stairs.

Michele May 23, 2010, 8:37 PM

As I’m reading the comments left by each parental unit, it’s clear how differently we as parents raise our children. Out of all the comments posted, I still didn’t see any that came close to my thoughts/feelings about the 12 yr old’s kissing extraveganza.
I don’t think kissing/sex has anything to do w/the movies, music or t.v. commercials that are seen by our kids today. I think that in itself, is a copout. Just another way to shift blame. I mean let’s be honest, what parent wants to admitt that they failed as a parent? I can’t think of any that would be willing to scream it from the rooftops.
As a fairly young (29), single mother of 3 boys (8,10 & 12), I know 1st hand the “cause & effect” of becoming sexually active too young (14). I didn’t want to wait. The 14 yr old girl frame of mind- “I love him”, “We’re gonna be together forever”, “I don’t care what my parents say”, “I just want to be w/you”, type of attitude. Got pregnant (16), married the “high-school-sweetheart” (17), divorced & became a now single-mom (25), trying to do the absolute best I can at raising these boys.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom! But, what’s the infamous line? “If I only knew then, what I know now, I would have done things different or waited”. Now, if I do one thing before I die, please let me raise 3 well behaved, polite, handsome, amazing, christian men.
It’s our job as the parent to teach them about these things. Be an active parent. Monitor what movies they watch, who’s house they are going to & what kind of invoronment they will be around. Get them involved in an extra curricular activity, get them into a youth group of their peers. Set an example. Teach them about having morals, self respect, responsibility. Knowledge!! Any of these things & more.
My point is this, we can’t be naive enough to think that they’re not going to be curious about the opposite sex. It is human nature & completely healthy for young kids to feel these things.
Giving them the tools they need to handle these things as they come is the best any parent can do. Talk to your kids. Tell them everything. Not about you & your mistakes, but sex. All the tools & then hope that you have done your job well & they make the right decisions.

Thanks for posting. This was very helpful. ;-)

~Michele, Ca.~

ANONAMOUS May 26, 2010, 9:43 AM

i am 11 and i havent had my first kiss yet, but my bestfriend has and i am kinda seriously in love with the person she kissed HELP ME!!!

Vivi May 30, 2010, 1:14 PM

Mein GoTT,
So Schlimm??!
Ich bin 13 und hatte meinen ersten Kuss schon mit 11.
Ich finde du solltest sie auch Lassen und die anderen Mütter ignorieren..
Es hat ja nichts mit Sex oder sowas zu tun! Solang sie damit gut umgeht und nicht zuweit geht, ist es auch ganz OK!


Anonymous June 1, 2010, 6:43 AM

Too young period. Pretty sad that her self worth is already wrapped up in boys.

Anonymous August 19, 2010, 1:48 AM

ur daughter is hot

... September 4, 2010, 3:38 PM

Okay, So I’m 12 and the other weekend me and my friend went to the movies & I saw my boyfriend there. No, he didnt come into the movies with us but after I met up with him & My friend met up with her boyfriend and they kissed.. Me & My Boyfriend had been talking about kissing but i really wasn’t sure. But once I saw my friend & her guy kiss I was kinda pressured so I just went ahead and did it. My mom eventually found out & grounded from going to the school Dance. Some of you may say im too young but oh well. Im on the honorol in 2 sports & the least thing im worried about is boys right now. Its really NICE to have a boyfriend, but he isn’t the main focus. Having a boyfriend and having my first kiss at 12 doesn’t really Hurt me, my grades or anything. So i was wondering is my mom right or wrong for grounding me?

Cade October 20, 2010, 7:51 AM

Ok! I’m an 11 year old boy! I think dating at my age is fine,I think parents that don’t let their kids date till like 15 yrs old,are setting their kids up for failure in having relationships! Bcuz, they won’t have any experiance with dating, so then,when 15 yrs old rolls around,they’re asking the questions they shouldve been asking when they were like 11-13! I had my first kiss this year,and havnt kissed anyone since! I think I will be able to have strong and healthy relationships when I’m around 15-20 yrs old!

Anonymous November 5, 2010, 1:06 PM

I’m really shy and I have an amazing boyfriend. my parents are fine that I have a boyfriend. we don’t go anywhere we just hang out at school and text every nite. so I’m really scared cause he told me he’s gonna kiss me at the next school dance. first I really wanna kiss him but I’m nervous and I wanna no if Im to young?? sometimes I hear my mom talkin on the phone and is saying how responsible and mature I am for my age and I am a straight A student in 7 th grade. I dotn really tell my mom anything because I get really embarrassed and feel weird talking about it so I just tell my friends. my mom doest know he is gonna kiss me and I’m not gonna tell her either. am I doing the right thing by kissing a guy at 12 and not tellin my mom?????? thanks for reading

Anonymous November 13, 2010, 5:03 PM

Meh, whatever. I’m still a teen and sometimes think dating that young is too much, but it’s really a case-to-case thing. If there’s a 12 year old tossing around ‘love’ casually, then yes, there’s cause for concern. But if they’re happy and not too obsessive, then let them.


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