Is 13 too young?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2003
Is 13 too young?
13
Sun, 11-09-2003 - 11:09pm
New here to the board. Wanting to know if I am too old fashioned. Is 13 too young to date? Or be "boyfriend/girlfriend" with someone? My child is claiming that "everyone" is dating. I don't think my child is old enough. I know that the answer to my question is something like "it depends on the child", but I'd like to hear some opnions.

Thanks for your help!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 12:04am
I think its too young for 1:1 dates. Going to the movies or something with a large-ish group of kids (both boys and girls)is ok in my book, but I know that some parents won't let their kids do this even until high school.

You might find that "everyone dating" actually means just that "everyone" has some member of the opposite sex that (usually at school)they've said that they "like" and that likes them in return. It could be something that innocent and innocuous, or it could be something more than that, depending on the group of kids involved and if they are advanced for their age in the boy/girl department.

Personally, I think 13 is about 3 years too young for 1:1 dates. My DD is 14 and a Freshman. She is allowed to go places with a mixed group of friends, but no 1:1 dates. The only exception that I'm just making recently - and this is literally just happening now within this week - is for high school events like Sadie Hawkins dances or formals where you do need to invite a partner.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 12:14am
Well, I think it's too young to "date". Kids being bf/gf around here has been happening since gr 5 for pete's sake. It doesn't even mean anything then. Now in gr 7 it really IS happening with a LOT of the kids and it still doesn't mean much. Saying someone is a bf or a gf and what it means does usually depend mostly on your kid and who they choose b/c some kids really are more precocious than others, but overall, it seems mostly just a thing they say. I wouldn't be okaying driving them on a formal date somewhere. I wouldn't be referring to the bf or gf as their 'bf' or their 'gf' because that just adds more emphasis from an adult than the kids need. I wouldn't ask a lot of questions like, 'so how is *so-and-so*, how are things going with you two'. I'd ask about the person as much as I asked about any of their other friends, even if it meant I WAS asking about the bf/gf to keep tabs on the situation - I'd just 'context' it casually with asking how EVERYONE was, individually. My dd is in gr 7 and has a 'bf'. According to her bud whom I drive a lot, the buddy tells me that everyone keeps asking her if my dd and S are still 'going out' because they 'don't act like it' (hold hands, etc) - they playfight a lot, they joke around a lot. He and my dd's other friends - several guys, a few girls other than the best friend, will go to the mall together after school on occasion where her sis works and she checks in with her sister till I pick them up. They've all been over to my house - as a group. They all talk on MSN and on the phone, usually 3-way calling one another. I treat S like I do any one of her other *FRIENDS*. He's also moving to the US in two weeks, lol. But even if he weren't, I just don't make a big deal out of it. She knows how to treat guys like *people*. I've found our teens will follow our emotional lead: if WE make something out to be a great big deal, it usually takes on a greater importance than if we are casual about it, altho alert and aware. Some kids just aren't interested in the whole dating/'going out' thing for YEARS. Which is great for those parents because then it just isn't an issue until they're old enough that it's not such an issue for the parent either. But if you have a kid who IS interested, you have to learn to deal with what is, without it being a really big issue and guide them in your expectations of behaviour and what is and isn't acceptable. Don't lay out a whole list of rules for 'going out' - deal with it as it comes up; otherwise you're risking making it into something it just isn't yet. I asked my dd on the average of about twice a year what 'going out' means to them. I ask the other kids, joking around with them - and invariably get the exact same response without prompting from my dd to respond certain ways. I'm *present* - every day after school as I pick up my dd and her best friend since it's an out of district school. I offer to drive kids home a lot because i learn a lot from their chatter in the car. Just be aware without being overly obvious. Just enough that your kid knows he isn't going to get away with something. At that age, most kids who want to 'go out' just aren't doing a whole lot with it and it usually is confined to school stuff. :-)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 9:33am
I agree with the other posters - there's nothing wrong with having a 'boyfriend/girlfriend' as long as it's pretty much confined to school.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 9:41am

In my household, 13 was too young to be dating and the magical age set for group dating is 16.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 8:19pm
OK ladies, here's a little different take on the whole bf/gf thing. I agree with confining things to school activities but...

My dd is 12 but looks and acts more like 14. She has known Jon for years coz he lives down the block from us, he's 14. They run in the same group at school, she's a young 7th grader, he's an old 8th grader...and in the past week or two they *like* each other! I guess they're still doing things together at school in the group, but he has taken to coming over here most nights to watch movies, play cards or play board games with DD. When they're watching movies they sit next to each other on the couch, touching shoulders only, and whisper and giggle back and forth alot...in addition to talking about everything under the sun. His mom is "wondering who his gf is" and says he can't have one coz he's over seeing N all the time! Duh! All of this "dating" if you want to call it that takes place in my living room or dining room which is the hub of family life in our house, under the watchful eye of DH, DSs or myself. DS S, who is 19 and is known to be WAY too affectionate with his gf in front of the family (I mean, to the point of medium range petting!) is irate...what am I doing letting N hang out the Jon, she's too young for that sh**, what does Jon think he's doing sitting that close to N? AND when did I get to be such a permissive mom that all of this is OK?

Am I wrong to think that allowing her to watch movies and such with her "bf" in our home when we're all here is OK? Or is S just being a way too protective big brother? I would feel really wierd telling Jon all of a sudden he can't come here anymore, coz for years he's been in and out of our house, either seeing N or my middle DS Z who is 16. What do you ladies think?
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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 9:11pm
My DD,14.8 has a bf with a 16 yo who doesn't drive yet. (YEA!!!). They also do all of their "dating" here in our kitchen and den! They do spend some time in her bedroom listening to music, or playing instruments.

We do live within a half mile radius of movies, indoor swimming, roller skating, ice rink, every fast food you can think of, Target, etc. My 2 teens are free to walk to these places and they know when to be home.

My DD and her "boyfriend" often walk to these places, usually with my DD's best girlfriend along.

I just wanted to add that this is my 3rd child. My oldest DS never went on a one on one actual date while he lived at home. My 16yo DS is not showing ANY signs of wanting a girlfriend and he stays at home. So having a very social DD who has LOTS of friends over, girls and boys, is new tome!!


Edited 11/10/2003 9:49:25 PM ET by louannems

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 9:39pm
I don't know as I've not been in that situation.


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Avatar for ashdenson
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-10-2003 - 10:33pm

When my son was in 8th grade he told me he was dating a 7th grader - who actually was his age (13). I said "You may not date" - but he explained that it just means that you are boyfriend and girlfriend and not really going out. We did allow them to go to the movies together at the mall - but we took him and he met her there with her girlfriend.

Denise

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 11-11-2003 - 12:29am
You know how they say that someone only accuses that which they have done themselves? LOL. S sounds like my older dd's bf. He's already worried aloud many times over having a dd of his own one day. And what he has to say about my younger dd sounds a great deal like what S is telling you about N. They're likely being both an overprotective big bro - but WHY are they being overprotective? Likely because they KNOW what they've done with someone ELSE's 'little sister' once upon a time ;-) I wonder what S would say if you asked him how much HIS behaviour with gfs around the family will influence N.

As for N and Jon? Because both my dds have had 'bfs' at a younger age who have already been around our house long before such a label was created, their 'bfs' also came around our house. Usually nearly always with other friends in tow. My dd would NEVER want her 'bf' to come over here alone; she doesn't even like to call him back if he calls her. She'll call her best friend, and get her best friend to call him and 3-way her, lol. But we don't have a big family either, and that likely makes a difference to the comfort level. I just wouldn't refer to Jon, teasingly or not, as her 'bf'. I wouldn't give it an added emphasis of any sort. I'd treat him just like I did before they expressed an interest in one another. If they take to wanting to go off alone more or 'imitate' S's behaviour with a gf around the family, I would talk to her and ensure she understands the expectations and what will be permitted are NOT the same. I would never allow them to go off to her room at any time as another poster says happens in her home. My 19.5 yo dd and her very longtime bf still don't go off to her room to hang out at all - and they've even travelled together. For one thing, I don't want my younger dd to think this is a precedent she should be able to follow later on - and both my dd and her bf know this is one of the reasons. For another, they don't *need* to. Not even with the door open, just talking. If they want to be alone, they find somewhere else to go.

I probably would veto the occasional evening that Jon wants to come over. I wouldn't say it had anything to do with *them* though. I'd just say, not tonight, tonight's a good down time night, homework, family time, alone time, whatever time. *Too much* leeway, without putting at least the odd invisible brakes on it isn't wise either ... it will make it soo much more difficult for both N and Jon when the time comes that their interests turn elsewhere, to fill in that amount of time that they are used to spending together.

Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Tue, 11-11-2003 - 9:21am

Ok, being overly protective is one thing, but he is also stepping over the boundries into your territory of parenting.

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