Guest blogger Michelle Kemper Brownlow: We have had a pretty strict "No boyfriend/girlfriend" rule in our house. We have three kids, one is 5, so this rule pertains to all of them, but particularly to my eldest son (13) and my daughter (12). I guess it is a means to keep them young and save their hearts from heartbreak. But I also think they don't think they need to jump into the drama that comes with the "Will you go out with me?" question the first time they are asked.
Well, this rule smacked me in the face about two weeks ago. My daughter walked into the room while I was reading to my youngest with this: "Mom, Amy just texted me that Brett wants to go out with me. He's asking her to ask me, right now. They are at the football game."
Now, here's some back story. My daughter and this boy have liked each other for a year ... quietly. She is not a boy-crazy, "I love fill-in-the-blank" kind of girl. I didn't even know she liked this boy until I picked up on their sideways glances at the pool this summer. So I said to her, "What do you want to say?"
"'I'm not allowed. Daddy would KILL ME!'"
I smiled. "That's not what I asked you. I asked, 'What do YOU want to say?'"
"I want to say yes!"
"Then say yes."
"But Daddy ...."
"You let ME worry about Daddy."
I will never forget the smile on her face! So, yes, my husband was disturbed by this news, but I pled her case with only the facts. Facts: They have liked each other for a year. They are only 12, so it's not like they are going to go on dates. If I say "no" it won't change anything. They will still like each other. Her saying "yes" is simply the "circle yes or no" version of the notes we used to pass. This is the time in our kids' lives where our answers to their freedom cannot be standardized by their age, but by their maturity.
Now, I convinced my husband. But convincing my 13-year-old why his little sister can have a boyfriend but he's still not allowed to have a girlfriend was going to be a little trickier -- or so I thought.
"WHAT?! She has a boyfriend? I'm NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!! That's not fair!"
"They have liked each other and ONLY each other for a year. You, my Romeo-child, like a different girl every three days. You have not met the girl you feel THIS WAY about."
"Oh, yeah, you're right. OK."
And it was as simple as that. WHEW!