My daughter asked if she could have a boyfriend today. It worried me that she will start things early. She is 13 and I'm not sure if she's ready. Any opinions?
Diana from Grainger, TX
I have a 13 year old daughter too, and "yes", personally I think it is way too early. I am glad your daughter is open to talking about it with you. That is a very positive thing! Keep the communication open. (08/26/2007)
I must agree; 13 is too young. I was 13 when I had my first boyfriend with disastrous results. We are teenagers for such a short time. The stress of a relationship inevitably takes a toll on schoolwork and growing up in general. Encourage your daughter to make friends with both sexes and stay in tune with her relationships. My parents didn't so I looked for love elsewhere. Needless to say, at 46, I now know the joys of pure friendship without the emotional strings that come attached with love. You sound like a great mom; keep up the good work.
Yes, it's too young. I'm 26 and just got married. I had a lot of boyfriends, and started "dating" in 6th grade. Dating today is nothing like it was in my parent's generation: now it's all about how far you go sexually with a person when it used to be about going out and experiencing life together. Not to scare you, but watch the movie "Thirteen" released a few years ago (2003 I think). It is quite eye opening that starting down a path that even she doesn't understand at this point could take her places she doesn't really want to go. Encourage her that there is plenty of time later for boys, and let her get more involved in a hobby, sport, activity, or interest instead. (08/27/2007)
Yes, 13 is too young to "go out", but times have changed. Personally our rule is no "dating" until you are 16. Around here if you are "going out", it just means you tell people you are "going out", you talk on the phone and maybe go hang around the mall under parental supervision. No movies, dinners, etc. until you are 16! We have 3 daughters and our ride has just started! DD14 will be turning 15 soon and has a "boyfriend". It is a fight, but we stick to our guns! (08/27/2007)
Hi, Diana. I think "having a boyfriend" can mean different things to different people. Personally, I found your request a bit amusing simply because I'm the mother of a 13 year old boy who "doesn't have a girlfriend". Yes, I think 13 is too young to be dating, but to simply be "talking" (as some of the young folks say) is okay (i.e. on the phone, at school, etc.). My son, on the other hand, is very shy. Some of his little friends "have girlfriends", and I think at times he feels left out. I think this is a normal part of socialization and as long as the situation remains innocent (talking only and with time limits, phone curfew, etc.), it'll be okay. Again, a lot of this depends on the maturity level of the child. It's wonderful that you have open communication with your daughter, and the biggest issue would be to "keep" it that way. Be glad she's asking! I'd advise her that she has plenty of time for these things, don't rush into anything, and keep it simple. For you, I'd suggest not making too big of an issue of it so that she stops talking. Best wishes and good luck! (08/27/2007)
Nope! No boys at 13! Even when I was old enough to have a boy over (only 1 throughout high school) we had to remain in the living room or in the garden (if parents were there). If we were allowed upstairs in my room the door had to remain open. Even that didn't stop him from fondling!
13 for a boyfriend, sure, if you want to become a grandma really early! Sorry, but it's just asking for trouble. IMHO! (08/28/2007)
I think you should be proud of a daughter that is comfortable and trusting enough to come to you first. Why not ask her to describe how this would change her present status with you and the boy. Perhaps negotiate the parameters and invite him over to see how he feels about it all. Encourage mature decision making by them, rather than you, to avoid being the one to rebel against. It is young for a dedicated relationship, but not for a relaxed teaming up in an adolescent society.
I really like that you have good communication. My mom and I didn't and still don't at age 36. As people have said, having a boyfriend means different things to different age groups so maybe you should find out what she thinks it means. The only reason I piped up on this is because I lost my virginity just after turning 14 because my mom never discussed things like that with me. I'm sure she didn't think she needed to at such an early age, but never the less it happened and it is something I wish I could change. (08/30/2007)
In 1970 my 14-year-old daughter got pregnant. She wasn't even old enough to date. She had the baby when she was 15. I didn't even know she was meeting this older boy till she told me she was pregnant.
The baby girl was born on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1970. She's 37 now. I wish she had come to me and talked first. I was a grandmother when I was 47. I've never seen or held her. I gave her up for adoption. We hope she found a nice family. My daughter did anything she wanted. So, as a result, she's not a good mother to the 2 she has now.
I'm happy for the relationship you have with your daughter. Sex is too easy now, except for the grandmother. (09/01/2007)
I have a 13-year-old daughter, and "yes" she does have a boyfriend, I have been talking to her about boys and sex and relationships since she was 9 years old. It is a subject we talk about almost every day. She looks 16; not because she dresses provocatively, she just developed at a very young age. She also is mature in her thinking and actions. SO this being said, I know she has a very good head on her shoulders and good morals. We have an excellent relationship. She tells me "everything".
I know this may sound like "Oh another naive parent", but if you knew some of our conversations you would think different. Every child is different. Some are ready at 13, and some are not. Some 17-year-olds are not ready, I know some of them too. It's not as much age as it is maturity. Will she make some mistakes? Sure, don't we all? We as parents can only hope we instill enough in our children for them to make good choices. Forbidding entirely, in my opinion, is asking for trouble. (11/28/2007)
Well, this is my opinion. I have 3 boys and my older two which are twins just recently turned 12. My husband and I have set the rule of no dating until 16. I am not saying they can't have girls as friends, but I feel school is way more important. I just found out recently that a girl at school likes my eldest twin. He told me he doesn't like her like that and I do believe him. This dating thing is an issue for me and it's something I have to put deep thought into because I was a teen parent. I had my twins at 19, but my mom was strict until I was 17. As soon as she slacked up I started having sex. I want my sons to know that they can talk to me about anything and when the "sex talk" does come up I will explain to them just how expensive children are. Also how important it is to protect yourself. It seems like parenting is much harder when your children become preteens and teenagers. (01/20/2008)
No, I think that it is the perfect age for a girl to talk to boys. Just not in relationship type way. It really just depends on the girl. (06/06/2008)
I'm not a parent. But, hey, I remember being 13 once. (I'm 27). I didn't start dating until I was about 19. Boys weren't a big deal for me in high school and I can't tell you how thankful I am for that. It wasn't that they were forbidden, though, it was simply never an issue with my parents, and that's where I'm going with this. I always had lots of male family members my age, and I was comfortable having lots of male friends. Since having boys around was never an issue with my parents, it was never an issue with me. And I certainly never felt like I had to be rebellious and date someone just to tick off mom and dad, because I don't think it would have. Boys were just boys.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you should downplay the boyfriend issue. I wouldn't forbid it, because that would make it a "Big Deal" all of a sudden. But, I would subtly encourage the single life at that age. Tell her how great just being yourself is. Let her have lots of girl friends over and have plenty of other outlets to express herself without needing to think about boys. Spend time with her. Do silly off-the-wall things with her that you can giggle about so she can learn to appreciate her own individuality. Make sure she understands that she doesn't need a boyfriend to prove anything to herself or anybody else.
I think I just spooked myself about having kids. It sounds really hard. I wish you the best of luck. (10/11/2010)
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