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Tweens Having Boyfriends

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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.

Boy and girl smiling

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!

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 20, 2010, 7:20 AM

Ridiculous letting kids have boyfriend/girlfriends that young ESPECIALLY when you made a rule that it was verbotten in your household and the first time it’s challenged not only do you cave, but act as a conspirator when you side with your child OVER your spouse and say “Let me worry about Daddy”.

So when she tells you she wants to start having sex with her boyfriend at 13 you’ll say yes because you’ll never forget the smile it brought to her face when you said “yes”

Kids certainly rule the roost now and it’s not good for them.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow October 20, 2010, 11:54 AM

Dear Anonymous…
You can refer back to my post on PURITY… she will NEVER get a “yes” about sex unless it is at her wedding reception.
But thanks for your concern.

Leah October 20, 2010, 12:09 PM

Hmm, while I question the “passion” on which anonymouse made her statement, I do have to agree with the content.

Why make a rule expressly to be broken? Why act as if you and your daughter are getting one over on dad? And why the double standard - it’s okay for your daughter to have a boyfriend but not your son to have a girlfriend? Just because she liked someone longer? And I do have to agree w/anonymous and the very early age of allowing the boy/girl relationships- that because she liked someone longer it’s okay to break the rules and have a boyfriend that will probably transition as she gets older into reasons to do go further sexually or find other loopholes to break other rules.

Krissy October 25, 2010, 7:53 AM

Kids will never seek their parents’ permission about sex. They’ll do it because they’ve been given opportunity to do it - time alone with their significant others. The more time they are given with the opposite sex, the more they will desire sex, EVEN at 12 and 13. You are right, sex should come with marriage. But dating should come when they are mature enough to be married because it all leads to the same thing - sex. It does sadly sound like Dad got the backseat on this one when he should be the one out front, protecting his daughter, being her “date” until she is old enough to maturely handle marriage. Dear Mom, sloooooow down! Spend these precious years training her to be a godly wife and not how to be someone’s girlfriend.

Anonymous October 28, 2010, 12:42 PM

Dad be her “date” - um gross. That’s like those creepy dances they have where the dad gives the daughter a purity ring. Yuck.

Anonymous February 11, 2011, 4:28 PM

My bf isnt aloowed to have a gf what should i do

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