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youthguy
youthguy asks:
Q:

Should a 4th grader (or 9 yr. old) be allowed to have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Meet at movie theater and so forth?

I know of a mother who is allowing her 9 year old daughter to begin to "date" other 9 year old boys. Has already cause problems with exes and present boyfriend. What do you tell this mother other than she is an "idiot" for allowing this to happen and even encouraging the matter.

Is this becoming the norm among parents in our culture to allow children to grow up much faster than they should? They are already face with so much as it is.
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Friendships and peer relationships, Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
May 7, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk,

As a psychologist, I believe that elementary aged children are just that - children.   Developmentally they are not ready for relationships that involve "dating" and in my opinion should be given opportunities with peers that are adult supervised.

Thank you for writing.

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

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Additional Answers (18)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hello,

Another member asked a similar question that received nine answers, including from Experts (Dr. Laura Kauffman and Boys Town National Hotline)...

What is the right age to start dating, and to what extent?
http://www.education.com/question/age-start-dating-extent/

Personally (as a parent), I believe nine years old is too young to be "dating," particularly in an unchaperoned environment. However, I wouldn't approach the mother with name-calling or judgment (e.g., don't tell her you think she's an "idiot"), and instead would share expert/authoritative information with her to help her reconsider the decision she's made. She may be more receptive to expert info than peer opinion (I know several mothers who will reconsider their parenting decisions or actions if there are scientific studies that suggest or prove that they've erred). Please also encourage this mother to talk to her child's pediatrician or a trusted family doctor about the fact that her daughter is dating (this is particularly important if her daughter begins to experiment with sexual activity).

Thank you for asking!
> 60 days ago

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johnbutrick
johnbutrick writes:
as myself i havent ever been in a real relationship and i am 16, advice would be to show her the concequences.
> 60 days ago

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DatingExpert
DatingExpert writes:
Hi.  Oh my goodness, don't they grow up fast?  Remember when you were 5 yrs old and kissed the boy in your Kindergarten class?  There is DATING and there is dating.

Additionally, it can vary by ethnic group.  Some ethnicities encourage having a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" experience as at a young a young age.  No judgments here, right?  Some ethnic and racial groups view having children at a young age as "wealth."

Indeed at 9 yrs old, girls can be so precocious.  They are in the ages of being "boy crazy" really without even understanding the ramifications of their actions yet.  And they are 9 yrs old so that it is ok, right?

What is best?
Ideally, while these girls might be spending time with a boy, a "boyfriend" of the day, their parents, aunties or uncles, or a grandparent is along with them, aka chaperoning them.  At that darling age they are interested and eager.  However, they know so little, including themselves.  It is best to encourage and protect them by including the presence of an adult to join them, yes?

Practical application:
That adult can always drive them to and from the mall to watch the movie.  As you do that, you can also help them learn how to converse on a date by yourself asking kind and gracious inquiring questions.  As their "date" responds, include your child in the conversation.

By your doing so, you help them to learn to converse comfortably with confidence and poise with members of the opposite gender.

Happy Dating and Relationships,


April Braswell
Dating and Relationship Expert
<a href="http://www.aprilbraswell.com rel="follow">Dating Expert</a>
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
"Dating" at nine years old is not acceptable. Any parent on either end that agrees to this is exposing their children to psychological problems down the road. And honestly, depending on the situation, it may boil down to neglect/abuse of some kind. Just watch it closely. If she is dropping her child off at the movie theater unattended ( this is definately a case).

If there is an obvious "encouragement" to date at this age, there may be a case for reporting her to the local human resources department. They should be able to define the lines between a child abuse situation.


 I AM NOT SAYING that is what this is. It all depends on how the mom is acting on it. Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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maryeasaw
maryeasaw writes:
Never. Let children be children and enjoy their childhood as we did.
> 60 days ago

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blingblingskull7
blingblings... writes:
So many kids have boyfriends/ girlfriends by a young age. My brother has girlfriends since 3rd grade and I am yet to have one. ( I am a student though). It changes for different people. There isn't really anything to do about it. If you feel really strongly about this girl having boyfriends I think you should say something to the mom like " How do you feel about your daughter going out and try as nicely as you can to say that you dont feel it is a good idea." I'd say maybe dating isnt so bad but maybe it is to early to be going out to places at least if it's without an adult. Good Luck.
> 60 days ago

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J.D.
J.D. writes:
I have a 9 year old son, and I just want him to have fun being a kid. Dating and girlfriends will come along soon enough. 9 years old is too young for such things. Let children be children. I mean theres nothing wrong with boys and girls interacting, but parents need to set limits.
> 60 days ago

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ladarius1991
ladarius1991 writes:
When I was 9-years-old back in fourth grade, I had my first boyfriend at that age and we began dating, but it was just innocent and sweet and not like teenage dating because there was no making out and our relationship was G or PG-rated and personally, in my own opinion, I think it's okay for 9-year-olds to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend at their age as long as their parents act cautious of the nature of their relationship.
> 60 days ago

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feliciaky
feliciaky writes:
personally i think a 9 year old shouldnt have a boyfriend. shes too young and needs to enjoy being a young girl, not saying she cant hang out with boys.
> 60 days ago

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Aunty-Sammy
Aunty-Sammy writes:
She is to young to be dating, but there is nothing wrong with being friends with a boy but try to encourage her to do things with groups of friends, being a couple can come when she is older. 9 years are not emotionally mature enough for dating and should be playing and having fun. 9 year olds should not date, wear heels or make up, and should not wear skimpy clothes either. Call me old-fashioned but children should be children and play and not worry about teenager/adult issues. All children should be doing is playing, learning and having fun.
> 60 days ago

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girlparty9
girlparty9 writes:
I think its good its a good experiment for how its going to have a loving familly
> 60 days ago

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GreatParent
GreatParent writes:
Loddie1
The fact that you are advising someone to report this person to the authorities is very disturbing!!  You know little to nothing about these so called 'dates' yet are calling for this person to be reported?  How irresponsible of you!

When I was in the 4th grade there was a certain someone that was 'sweet' on me. Wanting to carry my books, sit with me a lunch etc.

We ended up spending time together outside of school with one of our parents all the time! As someone stated above, our parents would be involved in our talks etc and it really taught me how to interact, carry a conversation, etc.

The original question gives zero details as to these dates and the fact with so little info, instead of doing the right thing if you disagree with someone and approach them like an adult, you call the authorities and report them for child abuse?? What is wrong with you?

My son is now the same age and we always do things as a family. He has always brought a ill friend of his and I haven't thought the first thing about it. Now the roles are reversed and there is a girl in his class that is clearly sweet on him, and he turns red when she's around (lol in a good way). Now he has started asking instead of bringing the same boy with us he has started asking if he can bring this girl from his class.

The fact that you would call the authorities on me if let this girl from his class go with him on what they are calling a 'date' (yes, I've talked to her parents as well) is very disturbing!  

Child abuse and neglect is more serious than words can describe and looking after children is ALL of our responsibilities to ask questions and inquire the details of these dates in the origanial questions! Not for you to say, "No that person is raising their child different from mine and instead of being an adult/parent and doing my part, I'm just going to call the authorities and report them for child abuse/neglect!". That response is just sad. Is this a growing trend among bad parent/adults??
> 60 days ago

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kylahrosey
kylahrosey writes:
I think they should be able to date. I mean give the nine year old the treatment you want a good man/boy.
Dah dah
> 60 days ago

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CME1
CME1 writes:
It is not a norm, look up articles about parents allowing their children engage in inappropriate age activities.

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sillylindz7
sillylindz7 writes:
Yes, I'm a 9 year old and I want to date!!!! Not SERIOUS, like kissing, just holding hands and sending pictures on my phone.
> 60 days ago

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BEN149
BEN149 writes:
Actually, I think its compleately fine to have a 9 year old girl/boy.
As long as that "sex" thing does not happen, i think that is compleately fine!!
> 60 days ago

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IrislynnIssi
IrislynnIssi writes:
Yes most defiantly , any child can date as long as it is nothing serious like sex or kissing in front of everyone....  A peck on the cheek and holding hand is so called "Boyfriend and Girlfriend" in 4th grade. I was in 4 the grade I had about 2 - 3 boyfriends we used o hang out in the park or he used to invite me for tea . I disagree with anyone who said no
> 60 days ago

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newblendedfamof6
newblendedf... writes:
Wow, My 11 year old isn't even looking at boys. What's wrong with this picture. I don't think there is anything you can say here honestly. If you mother is not encouraging her daughter to focus on being a kid then there's a much deeper problem. Are you close friends with this woman. If so then IF ASKED (I don't ever offer parenting advice unless asked) then tell her if it was  your daughter I would encourage her to focus on herself and being a kid at this age. Sounds to me like she's the type of mom that pushes her daughter to focus on how to catch a man rather than how to stand on your own two feet. If that's the case, there's no changing that.
54 days ago

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