13 year old dating!?!?!?!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
13 year old dating!?!?!?!
Fri, 10-17-2003 - 11:59am
My 13 year old is going on a double date tonight to the movies. Previously, she's gone on group "dates" with kids from her own school, but this is with her best friend and two thirteen year old boys from another school. We live in a small community, but I don't know the parents of these boys.

I'm driving the girls there and his parents are driving them back.

Is this WAY to early for this kind of date? He's sent her a couple of really sweet emails and ecards, and I know they've had a hug at a soccer game.

Any advice???

Edited 10/17/2003 12:01:58 PM ET by mvmmom

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Fri, 10-17-2003 - 12:46pm

To tell you the truth, that is really up to you as to whether it is too early to double date or not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Fri, 10-17-2003 - 1:28pm
I agree with Deb - you have to do what you feel is best but our rules are no 'real' dating until they are 16 or so.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-07-2003
Fri, 10-17-2003 - 3:44pm
I agree with Pam in that big, mixed group outings are best at this age, with adult(s) in attendance. My best friend always told her DD no dating until 16, but then she met a boy and little by little they started doing things together. To the mom, it was innocent enough and she let them eventually go to the mall on their own, to movies, etc., alone. Then she became very concerned that things were happening way too fast. And obviously, DD at 15 is too young emotionally to handle such stuff. But once you've let them date, it's hard to go back and say "no" and they'll argue adamantly. She thought DD was mature enough but it turned out she really wasn't. Just my 2 cents!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
Fri, 10-17-2003 - 6:18pm
Is this WAY to early for this kind of date? He's sent her a couple of really sweet emails and ecards, and I know they've had a hug at a soccer game.

Any advice???


Kinda late for advice considering you're driving them there tonight isn't it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 10-17-2003 - 8:19pm
Well, I'm going to take a slightly different approach to this than the other posters.

I think going to a movie, two guys, two girls, at age 13, with sweet emails exchanged and a card denotes more than I would think should be encouraged by allowing this to be a *date*, yes. So, no I think I would have insisted that the guys come to your house tonight and watch movies there instead, with you present, offered as a compromise.

My parents also had the 'no dating till 16' rule, which was enforced. HOwever, that didn't mean I had no contact or mixed group activities. For example, when I was 14 and 'went out' with Steven, he was allowed to come to my youth group activities and I was allowed to go to theirs (he went to my best friend's church). I wouldn't have been allowed to go to the mall or a movie with him and a couple others though. I was even allowed to go to his house, and my parents didn't know his parents either, with a group of kids once (& even with parents in the house AND a group of unmatched-up kids with us, I STILL found myself in a bad position that time). Then there was a guy, Terry, when I was 15 1/2, that I was allowed to go out with, one on one, because we were moving across the country within 6 weeks of meeting him, so they didn't see any danger in that (but they sure could have been wrong, had I had different ideas...). There was another guy, S, after Steven, that spelled major 'trouble' and I met him easily at the nearby mall when saying I was just going shopping with my girlfriend - who really was with me too (I backed off from S myself). My parents knew very little of what went on. I have made it my business to know and I'm telling you, it doesn't matter what kind of controls you place on your child - if THEY want something bad enough, they WILL find a way. It's only the kids who don't want this yet that don't push.

I personally think that when a parent is confronted with their teen's persistence in being allowed to have a guy/girl friend in their life that the most rigid of parents usually end up making compromises. A resounding, repeated "NO" for possibly years, is eventually going to fall on deaf ears. Teens respond to negotiation and compromise and structured rules that allow them to learn and make mistakes within a relatively safe space. They respond to feeling 'heard' and offered a compromise that the parents can live with. They also fare better with structure that's balanced with them in mind, over just hard and fast rules.

In your situaiton, since 'sweet emails' and a card have already been exchanged, I'm cautioning you ... first to really talk to your daughter and telling her that 'dates' are not something you think are right for her yet. Hanging out with guys, treating them as *people* first, learning how to handle herself around them - these are important things; it's important for them to not make the opposite sex a forbidden fruit and something that is both scary and enticing. They need to learn to be themselves and to be natural - this, by simple nature - takes that edge off the whole crush thing and the compelling feelings they get from being around the opposite sex. If even the parent sees guys as something their dds need protection from, or their interactions with a guy all set up with specific rules and regulations, then that all by itself is going to make it be something bigger than it should be. I have a 12 yo dd who is very accustomed to being around older teens, and is very at ease around guys; in fact, at age 2, her first real friend was our neighbor's son, and to this day they remain good friends. She has a whole group of guy buddies at school and a couple of close female friends and they spend time together at school, and have gone to the mall together as a group. She decided last year, in the wake of a solid couple of years of her big group of female friends all inter-fighting and causing issues over Everything, that guys make better friends. I don't make any kind of issue out of this. She's not exhibiting 'boy crazy' behaviour. She's totally herself and is still very '12' in the ways I'd look for.

In the future, perhaps just say, 'well, why don't you all just come over and rent a movie here? - and maybe you could even invite others too' - like a FUN thing. If she balks and says, why can't we just go to a movie? Ask her why; what difference does it make? It is when it makes a DIFFERENCE that you find something else for them to do. That's when you know you're heading into better-avoided waters. Because, obviously, the only real difference that could make would be to do with being alone; being out on a 'date' and relishing that sense of 'independence' that comes with that - all too heady at this age.

Kids at 13 sure can actually even 'fall in love'. But they definitely do not have the emotional maturity or life experiences yet to handle those emotions. And the movie that's out, "Thirteen" chronicles what happened in a 13 year old's life, written by her at the age of 15 - sex, drugs, drinking, full out rebellion, so don't think that stuff isn't going to go on because they seem innocent right *now*. Too much 'alone' time or something they can define as a 'date' places them in a different category from their peers who are still way far from that yet, another reason why actual dating at this age is not wise either. They are in a different 'category' in both the eyes of their peers, and in their own eyes and that opens the doors to all kinds of things best left alone for a few years still.

Not every kid is ready to do this at 13. Those who aren't make enforcing age-defined rules easy. Those who are more precocious will push their limits, no matter how consistent the parenting is. Which is why I've stuck more to reasons such as reputation, not finding themselves in a situation that they are definitely not ready for, not setting themselves so far apart from their peers so it creates other problems, and so on when talking to my dd.

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sat, 10-18-2003 - 8:19am
I agree with keeping things on a 13 y/o level without making boys seem scary or "the forbidden fruit" which always seems to look the sweetest.

My 12 y/o dd has grown up around older kids, all boys, (has 2 19 y/o brothers and a 16 y/o brother) and has always been more comfortable with boys than girls and also with older teens. So most of her good friends are boys. Right now she has a "b/f" within that group, but it's all pretty innocent - their "dates" consist of the group (5 boys, 3 girls) hanging out in our back yard acting like the 12-14 y/os that they are. But there doesn't seem to be the emotional stuff that normally goes along with dating - other than he seems pretty intimidated by me - I thought he was going to poop his pants the day that he came to the door looking for her and I answered the door...usually he sends his best friend to have N come outside to see them. DS S (19 y/o) says that this boy seems like a decent enough kid but "he acts like an idiot when N walks into the room!" AND S gets pretty upset that he tries to hold N's hand once in awhile when he thinks nobody is looking, because "she's too young for that sh**!" N, like your DD, would prefer to hang out with boys because they play fewer games than the girls do, and as long as they're hanging out here, I'm not going to be too upset...but I do intend to keep an eye on things, and if I'm not here S and Z will. They fret almost more than I do about how these boys treat their little sister. I will say though, some of N's girl friends get a little jealous because she's so comfortable around the boys, while they still see the boys as mysterious and a little intimidating. I think N has had the benefit of watching her older brothers go through the joys and heartbreaks of relationships, and she sees boys more as people than some of her friends do.

But no, I don't know that I'd go along with the whole dating thing, even as a double date, at 13.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 10-19-2003 - 7:19am

Many parents only allow mixed groups activties with

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 10-19-2003 - 6:14pm

I really think this is too young. My 14 y/o DD is only allowed to go in big groups and as an HS Freshman, hasn't had a bf yet. This is just too "romantic", especially given the fact that they have exchanged those emails. Not to alarm you, but I really think making out is almost guaranteed to occur given this set up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Mon, 10-20-2003 - 9:47am
Thanks for all the advice. Basically, I was panicking and the advice some of you gave was my personal opinion anyways. I ended up taking 4 girls to the movies - and the mother of the BF drove 2 boys. They all sat together, and then the other mom took the two boys home and I took the girls home.

My DD did sit next to the "boy" and they did hold hands, but all the kids at her school have been "holding hands" since they were in grade 6 and "going out". By "going out", it appears to mean that after knowing the boy since nursery school, you can now hold hands in the schoolyard, but no longer can talk because they're both too embarassed.

Since this boy goes to a different school and lives about a 15 minute drive away, I don't have a big problem with it....he did give her a hug again in front of both his mom and me.

The mom and I have met. She and I are pretty much on the same wavelength. I think what scared me is that I didn't really know this boy or his family. Any other "boyfriends" have been kids I've known for years.

My big fear is that if I put my foot down totally now, that the sneaking around will start. Right now, I get the details and am kept well informed about who likes who and who's "going out" and who isn't.

Thanks again for the advice.