Military Dance

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2007
Military Dance
27
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 1:51pm

I got a call from our Youth Pastor and a young boy in our youth group in the 9th grade age 15 in ROTC wants to invite my daughter whom will turn 13 in December to the Military Ball that will take place in late March at that time there will be 2 years age gap and 2 grades gap, but he wants to invite her just as friends because they hang out in the youth group at church totally innocent and I trust him. I issue is SHE IS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL!  I am crazy. I know most 9th graders enter the 9th grade at age 14 and my daughter would be 13, but I feel she would feel ackward with teens in high school.  She wouldn't know anyone other then the boy she is going with. Her Dad said NO but its the Military Ball and she looks so much older thats why the young boy was going to ask her because he thought she was 14 and in the 8th grade.  Ok tell me what you think honestly but be nice................

Confused Undecided

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 4:20pm

I would probably say no to the dance.  While the boy with whom she is going is 15, there will be lot of other boys (and girls) at the dance who may be closer to 18.  that's too big of an age range for my comfort.  Also, while they know each other from church youth group, this dance is a different venue with a different, unknown group of kids.       There will be plenty of opportunities for dances when she gets older. 

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2007
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 8:21pm
I believe i agree...thank you and nicely put.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 9:56pm

A quick history so that you will know where I come from in thinking:

Ten years ago this summer, our oldest SIL moved into the neighborhood where our youngest SIL lived and they became fast friends for life; a friendship that has profoundly blessed our family. They were 10 and 11. When oldest was in eighth grade he took a liking to a girl in his class—our oldest daughter. Rather than dump his best pal to take our oldest daughter to the school Halloween dance, he and his gal arranged for the pal and our youngest daughter to go to the dance as a couple also. The older couple were both 13, the younger couple were 12. When the guys came to the door to pick the girls up, hubby and I knew they were “the guys.” Not really! LOL Over the next few years the two couples hung out together at the mall, movies, fitness club, school activities, amusement park, waterpark, joint lawn mowing business, all classes together except PE, group study together, etcetera. The summer before the older two would start 9th grade, when we got home from our biannual Walt Disney World trip we were a couple of hours late getting home, but the guys were waiting on the front steps for us. Younger couple were 13 when they skipped out of “gifted and talented class” into high school with the older two. The summer after 9th grade several things started happening. All four started taking duel credit classes together at the community college and the guys went on vacation with us to Destin Florida. Fabulous beach!!! It was there that both couples made private vows to each other. Vows that are important enough to them to be the dates engraved into the inside of their gold wedding bands, not the wedding date 30 plus months later. The three sets of parents and couples were planning the destination wedding when youngest couple oopsed on the birth control. The couples have now been married for three and one-half years plus and things look really good. Hubby and I are blessed to live with both couples in a modest three bedroom, two bath, home with the garage converted into two extra bedrooms. Both couples work sixteen hours per week and all four go off to classes together four evenings a week, letting us grandparents watch the little ones. LUCKY US!

My parents started mooning over each other when they were like 15, got more serious as the years passed, and had an accident in the back seat at the Lone Star Drive-in shortly before high school graduation. (The accident is my brother. He and Dad have always been best pals. Dad with his irreverent humor says, “I got really ‘lucky’ in many ways that night.) Their marriage has only lasted fifty-two years thus far and it has been a most happy one. They are now seventy and hoping to make it to their 100th anniversary together on this side.

I wish hubby and my story was as good as these. Ours is the story of two really messed up people who came into marriage at 24 with so much baggage that it took ten years of marriage before we worked our way through most of it. We were fortunate and have a very happy marriage and are both looking forward to fifty plus together.

A few thought for you:

Some church groups have junior high separate from high school, some larger churches even divide up by grades, others have them grouped together 7th through 12th. 

If I read correctly, your DD is now in 8th grade and by next spring will be nearing 14, as I assume the boy will be like 16 and finishing up 9th grade. Girls mature sooner than boys, so your daughter may actually be more mature than he is.

Some parents start boys a year late in Kindergarten to give them more maturity and an edge in sports. To fight this trend, some schools are adopting a policy that all children over 6 on a certain date will be placed into 1st grade, not Kindergarten. And we know of parents who when they moved sent their two boys through 1st and 5th grade again because they were getting lost in the system. New school, no other students knew. It was so harmful to these two boys that both guys are now working on their PhD. LOL It should not be looked at as failing, or being held back, but rather being repositioned for the child’s academic success.

(A word of caution about boys and their egos: Boys are shy and easily crushed. It takes courage to ask a girl out. Youngest SIL is an “aspie,” which is slang for a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes him even tenderer and easily hurt. He is a great guy, wonderful daddy and husband, clueless about social things, and quirky as all get out. When the younger daughter was still 13, I pulled her aside and reminded her to be careful about hurting her guy. She answered, “Oh, Mama I love Butch and would never do anything to hurt him. I’m going to marry him.” I thought, “Ok, Mary Hatch of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, I hope you and George Baily will have a happy life together.” And I thought little more about it at the time. LOL My point is that girls need to be careful about not hurting boys needlessly. Declining should be done delicately. And if your DD does not want to go, USE DAD AS AN EXCUSE by all means.)

I assume this event will be well supervised with responsible adults present. To me, who may really be crazy, I can’t see what would be harmful with your DD going to what sounds to me to be like a school dance called a Military Ball for the ROTC program. That of course is assuming that she would want to go. And as Rose who posted here and had a husband and three sons who wore the uniform put it one time, “Is this a hill you would choose to die on? Pick your battles carefully.” What she meant was, if your daughter wants to go to the Ball, is this really a major thing to fight a battle over. I doubt it is, but that is a choice for each set of parents to make.

This Military Ball would be an exception to whatever dating age you and hubby think is appropriate. She should know and understand this from the get go.  And as somebody else posted on another thread, “At that age, dating is more a state of mind than a fact.” They will still see each other and sit with each other at church and youth group, which is a good place for her to make friends. And next year she will be at the high school with him, I assume.

If you do let her go, let old Dad be the softie and hero.

Letting your DD and this guy go to a school dance as a couple is a date for sure, but not the same as dating. In retrospect, the “hanging together” that our daughters and their guys did was flat out dating. When you spend lots of time with someone, you increase the chances of “falling in love” with that person and they did—big time. We did not plan it that way, but that is what happened.

I always suggest that parents get to know the friends and parents of the friends that there kids are spending time with and developing special friendships with at school, church, or in the neighborhood. You may end up in-laws with them. LOL Seriously, knowing them gives you insights into what your kids are seeing, feeling, and thinking. You probably already know his parents from church and as you somewhat alluded to, he’s a good guy that you can trust. That is a VERY BIG PLUS for your daughter and especially you and hubby. If you doubt me, read some of the other threads where the boyfriend is a liar, pot head, and worse.

In our circle of family and friends is a guy who was 25, coach at the HS, when a 15 year old student asked him home to Sunday lunch with her family. Afterwards, they would all go downtown to the father’s office high up in the sky where they could pick up a blacked out COWBOYS football game from a distant TV station. The team went through the playoffs and he went to lunch and watched games with her family weeks on end, some at the office, other games in the living room with her parents present. The Sunday lunches continued throughout the spring, long after football had ended. When school came to an end that year, he recognized that his teaching days were over because they were getting married at 16 and 26. In that day, such a story would be unacceptable with the district administration. (They were married for four years before the first of four was born.) He looked like he might be mid-thirties, while she looked like thirteen in their wedding pictures. The minister, a friend of his dad, told his dad, “Well, if she isn’t raised right, Denise has nobody to blame but himself.” LOL They have been happily married for decades. it looks like Denise did a good job.  LOL

We also have friends who married guys three to six years younger than their bride. As one laughed with me, “I really wondered about accepting a date with a college freshman when I was in grad school already, but he was and is a nice guy.” LOL

Do come back and tell us what you decide and if your daughter attends the Ball, how it was for her.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 10:12pm

I agree with Elizabeth.  The 13 to 15 age gap is really larger than it appears, because there is a lot of emotional difference between those years.  The point about there being a lot of older kids at the dance is also important, because that will make your dd the youngest one there, and she really will have nothing in common with those kids.  And altho you know the boy, and he seems decent, the statement that he asked your dd because she "looked older" gives me pause.  I think he should ask someone his own age, that he KNOWS.  

And from my experience with my dds, girls have the most fun at dances when they are with a group of FRIENDS.  This won't be fun for your dd.  Trust me on this one.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 3:20am

I agree with Elizabeth and Sabr, decline this invitation, for the reasons already mentioned. Like you said, awkward for your dd....especially if some of the kids are condescendiing towards her when they find out she's still in middle school...in 7th grade???? 

If it was any other HS dance (like Winter Ball) or HS event would you let her attend? If you wouldn't let her attend those then don't let her attend this one.

Since the pastor called you, was it to ask your permission or just to give you a heads-up that this invitation was coming? I think that it was nice of him to do so. Does your dd even know that the boy wants to invite her? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 12:22pm

No way. There will be plenty of time for your daughter to experience things like this, but right now, she's too young. And because she does look older than her chronological age, you need to be that much more vigilant,as there will be people who expect much more from her than she is able to give. Even if she looks 16, she is still emotionally 13. That is way too young to be involved in any kind of romantic situation, even if she's just going as friends.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2007
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 1:11pm

DD is 12 and turns 13 in Dec. then dance is in March. She is in 7th grade and he is in 9th but honestly they are just friends, she thinks of him as a big brother. I feel she is too young because there will be 16, 17 and 18 yrs there. We have a small COG church and with only about 12 youth they are all together. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2007
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 1:14pm

i think i agree she wont have fun without her girls there and he is a great guy, it truly is a friendship, most people think she is 14 to 16 so I understand he didn't know her age.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2007
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 1:17pm

It was the young pastor his uncle and it was a heads up slash permisson kind of.  No my daughter doesn't know yet, my husband said he would talk to the Youth Pastor tonight and I feel now since I have everyones advice that it's best she don't know.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 8:24pm

Ah, I did not fully understand, which is not unusual for me. I thought your daughter was 13 and in 8th grade already, not still 12 and in 7th grade. Still not sure about how great the age divide is, but if he turned 15 last week and she turns 13 in December that would be a minimum of 27 months which is, dare I say, quite wide for their ages.

Our youngest daughter was about your daughter’s age when the four of them went off to the school Halloween dance. Our girls were still 12 and 13. Both SILs are about a month younger than their brides. At the time of that first dance, would hubby and I let them go to a dance at their school or over at the high school with guys 27 months older than them? Of course . . . . NOT. Not even I am that crazy. LOL

Seriously, he may be “the guy” at some future date when the age difference is insignificant. Many stranger things have occurred. Ronald Reagan was like forty-one when he married Nancy, who I believe was 26. A long widowhood for her (especially when you consider that his mind was gone by 1995, “for better or worse, in sickness and health”), but a wonderful life for both of them (forty plus good years together before 1995). If that is my lot in life with hubby, I’ll take it with pleasure. (I’m speaking of the love relationship, not the other less important stuff like the White House. John and Abigail Adams were similarly blessed. Lucky in love, indeed.)

Returning to what I said about being kind and gentle with this young man’s ego, as I have heard Ellen of the Ellen show close the dozen or so shoes that I have caught the tale end of: “Be kind to one another out there.” Ronald Reagan’s son Ron says his dad oftne said, “A gentleman always does the kind thing.” Good advice from both the left and the right politically speaking.

As I alluded to earlier, a church group is a wonderful place to find friends of all types. Much better than a frat house kegger and other similar venues. They can and should remain good friends, enjoy each others company at church and in the youth group and leave the future in the hands of their LORD. As I said he may be the right guy and she may be the right gal for him at a future date. Or their LORD may have better mates for each of them than they could ever be for each other.

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