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elephant73
elephant73 asks:
Q:

My 11 y/o wants to start dating should I let her?

she alredy has a crush and a double date offer.
In Topics: Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
Feb 18, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

The teen years can be a challenge for both parents and the child.  However, it is up to the parent to help show guidance and clear parameters during these times.  

These are few suggestions that come to my mind.  

First, host a parent supervised gathering for your child, her "crush" and others.  Have a fun movie night, pizza party, etc. so that your daughter can be in the company of her special friend but also under the watchful eye of her parents.  Make your home THE place that kids want to hang out.  Sometimes, this means stretching the budget a little for Friday night snacks. But, don't hover over the kids when they are there.  Simply keep visiting their area with bowls full of popcorn all while letting them know that they are being watched from "afar".

Second, if she insists on going out be sure it is a school sponsored event or a group event with other supervised parents.  

Third, let her know your rules.  Such as NO double dates until 8th grade or later.  And certainly read up on the basics of the tween and teen development years- such as why middle school students should not date high school students, etc.  See Michele Borba's books on Parenting to help you with these areas.

In additon, there are many good books that help kids this age through the difficult years.  I suggest the Middle School Confidential series by Annie Fox and the American Girl Series.  Both available online and in bookstores.

Both give excellent and sound advice.  They are relatable to tweens and also help as a springboard for discussion between child and parent.

http://www.AnnieFox.com also give parents some assistance, as well.

Good luck!

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families™

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Additional Answers (3)

evilteacher
evilteacher writes:
Are you out of your mind? Of course not. Your 11 year old is a child. She ought to be involved in activities like Girl Scouts and soccer, not obsessing about boys. Think about what happens on dates. Or what can happen on dates. Unless these dates are going to be going to the movies with you driving, or the boy's parents driving, and you know them to be people of good judgment, no way. You should read a book called Cindarella Ate my Daughter. It talks about how we have bumped down the age where girls want to wear makeup, obsess about clothes, and in general consider themselves grown up. Personally, I don't think kids should date until they are 16.
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi elephant73,

NO!  A 11 year old is not mature or ready to begin relationships.  

A crush, okay, that's a natural childish thing that all adolescents will have at some time.  Which proves my point of she is not mature or ready to date.  A mature young lady that is ready to date does not develop a crush, she has a natural-neutral attraction with someone with whom she shares interests with and would like to know better-not a crush.

A double-date offer, odd, who would want a 11 year old child tagging along, can't be for any good.  I must assume that they would have to be at least 16 to drive and actually call it a date.  A "normal" 16 year old does not want to hang with a 11 year old.  Not even if your 11 year old is completely developed, her mind is still that of an 11 year old with childish thoughts and lack of life experience and judgment.  

If we are misunderstanding your question (as I hope we are) and you are talking about a play date with another 11 year old friend where they will be with your family, maybe for dinner or to watch a movie, study, etc.  Then yes, that is acceptable.

Hope this helps and that you use good judgment with your daughter's social development.  

Best wishes!

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ParentingCenter
ParentingCe... writes:
We have updated The Center for Parenting Education website and want to provide the new links to those of you interested in child development, maturity, and teen dating.  Thank you.

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