My daughter has asked about having a boyfriend. She is in 7th grade going into 8th, and I'm not sure what to do. I've told her to wait till she's 15, but she refuses to. Should I let her have an *in school* boyfriend and possibly let them "hang out" once in a while?
Since this is one of the most common clashes between teens and parents, at least you know you're not alone!
The truth is that once you forbid a boyfriend, your daughter is much more likely to want to have one--and to sneak one without you knowing about it. After all, as you can already see, there's actually nothing you can do to stop her from having a boyfriend, only from seeing him outside of school.
A goal that is far better for your relationship with her is to remove the word 'allow' from the conversation and talk to having a boyfriend. To begin, here are some important topics to explore:
--what does it mean to have a boyfriend at 13?
--why does she want a boyfriend--how would it make her feel?
--respecting your own body and saying "NO" to just about all sexual activity (except holding hands) is appropriate when you're thirteen, and for a long time after that. Then really getting to know a boy before you kiss.
--Saying "NO" to everything else is what will make you feel best about yourself until you're much older than thirteen.
--Not feeling that you should be pressured by a boy who says you 'have to do more' or he won't go out with you, or you're weird, or not cool.
That's should be enough for at least a few chats and keep the communication open. Remember this is your goal--not to forbid anything because it will backfire!
Good Wishes and Great Parenting,
Dr Susan Bartell
JustAsk Expert www.drsusanbartell.com
NEW book “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask”