Long time no post:'Going out' at 11?

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Registered: 06-16-2003
Long time no post:'Going out' at 11?
9
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 10:34am
I posted this wrongly on another board Question of the week and tried to remove it but couldn't ! So I hope this is the right board!

Hello, everyone! I've been out of touch awhile, but it's so good to see some of the same board leaders (twoki, janet, et al) from the 'old' days! So glad to be back and join in on the boards again. DD just turned 11 and is a really great student at school. This past year in fifth grade, she was at the top of her class academically, and is very athletic as well as enjoying dance, martial arts and music classes. She expressed her concern that a number of girls (in the "popular group" have been really aggressive, almost badgering the boys daily about "going out". I've read this is normal for this age, and doesn't mean much-it just means the kids are an "item" (according to her). There was a new boy in her class at school this past year who was very friendly to dd, and there was a bit of a crush going on between the two of them. She spent a great deal of time helping him and getting to know him. They were prety much inseparable all year. Then, surprisingly at the end of the school year this past week or two, the news surfaced that he is "going out" with a girl he barely knows, is in another class, but who is in the popular group. DD is very hurt by this, but thinks he did it just to get into the popular group. We think this is too young for kids to pressuring each other. She is always being cornered by her friends to publicly admitting who she likes. We think this is young for asking each other out, but we're finding it hard because the parents at school think this is just normal and don't take it seriously. She also thinks he will break up with her right before school starts, since his parents don't approve of going out either. Since she doesn't believe in going out, she never asked him, and he was quite popular because he was a new kid. She really likes him, and thinks he likes her, but his actions don't tell her so. She is really hurt by this turnaround of events. Any advice for how I can help her in our conversations? Also, shouldn't parents not encourage this type of pressure and behaviour, especially at this age? Doesn't this promote the idea that it's o.k to do this, and lead to more aggressive dating and social pressure? She has very strong convictions about her privacy, as well as a pretty confident kid. She really doesn't want to engage with the popular group-she feels thy are not really good students, are needy of attention, and she tends to hang out with the more academic kids. She feels she is walking a tightrope, because she wants to be liked by everyone. She has always been a leader among the girls in her class, and it's hard to hear of her feeling insecure socially. I'm sure this question has been asked a thousand times already, but would appreciate your thoughts, or any articles or archive messages on this topic. Sorry for the long message. Thanks a heap!!!

Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 8:47pm
I've told ds10 (11 in Aug) that 4th and 5th grade (yes, it started last year for some!) is WAY too young to consider 'dating' or 'going with'. He's relieved, actually. Back in October, the boys were all in a tizzy as some had started asking girls to the February (!) Sock Hop (which is a family thing where they do the hokey pokey, hula hoop contests amongst each grade, etc., run by the PE teachers). He even got the guts up to ask one - I was shocked! I told him maybe he should just ask if they want to dance one dance with him there... He said about a month later their 'coach' (PE teacher) got mad at the whole class of 5th graders and said that the sock hop (for K-5th) is NOT a date thing; it's a family thing, so they'd better NOT bring a girl! He was so relieved! But yes, some of the boys are 'dating' the girls (which here means getting on instant messaging, calling, possibly going to the house to watch tv). Thankfully, so far, ds is NOT interested; he said he was proud last week to say he has a female friend, but doesn't think of her as a 'girlfriend'. I said it's better that way; no messy 'breaking up'; friends stick together, no pressure. He liked that. So far, so good...

Sue

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 11:12am
I remember when my oldest son was this age. I got silent chuckle over the fact that they were "going out" when in fact they actually did not go anywhere together, just ate lunch at school and talked on the phone after school. I think the terms change meaning as the years go by. In my mom's generation "making out" meant S-E-X, when to my generation it meant kissing.

Hanging out together at school, or at other supervised activities is a good way to informally try out new roles - by saying they are "going out" it's their way of pairing up with the opposite sex. As long as they aren't spending lots of time alone together, but instead being with a group of friends, being supervised, I think it's OK. They can call it whatever they want as long as the behavior fits the age.

It's better when a group of friends already hanging out together starts naturally pairing up and re-pairing up - not when another group does the picking and choosing. And when it's a group of friends, they do ask each other who they like, and tell that person, etc. I'm getting the idea that this is not her usual group of friends.

Maybe you could encourage her to turn to her own group of friends seperate from the pushy girls.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 1:48pm
Thanks, Suzy. It's good to know some parents instill the value of friendships over social pressures of 'going out', especially at this age. DD has been a little quiet over the matter, but she seems to be bearing it well in that she is very secure in her friendships with other girls (and boys). Sounds like you're handling this issue well with you ds, too! LT
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 1:55pm
I think the thing that bothered dd most is that her new friend (who is new to the school) succumbed to the pressure of going out with someone he doesn't even know that well. I think she will really learn from this too that this is not something she wants to do for herself unless she is good and ready. She indicated to me this morning that she would prefer to make sure she likes someone before agreeing to going out, and not let someone you don't know pressure you into it (not that I agreed to going out at this age, mind you) LOL! Anyway thanks for sharing your experience! LT
Avatar for cl_janetlh
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Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 9:22pm
Great to see you! I do remember you. Yeah, I'm still here, LOL! I just got a laugh because I asked my dd Rachel, who will be 11 next week and finishing 5th grade, about kids at school "going out". She said "It's so stupid. We're only in 5th grade!" She also said it's the "popular" kids who do this. They eat lunch together, and I don't know what else, but as mom_in_tx said, I think it's just social "exploring" and not a big deal. I remember kids "liking" each other in 5th grade. You have to start somewhere, I guess! As long as it's low-key and the kids aren't making a huge deal over it, with lots of social pressure, it's fine. However, I'm sure it crosses the line into high-pressure younger these days. Everything seems to happen younger!

As for my kids, Rachel eats with a boy every day, along with some other boys and girls, and she says they're friends, and that's all, and that's fine with me! Another little boy definitely had a crush on her this year, and Rachel was friends with him, but it wasn't mutual. I think it's cooled a bit, although they're all still friends, thank goodness, including Rachel's twin brother Sam. Rachel has also made the decision not to join the popular crowd. She had a couple of good friends in that crowd, but she's not interested in them anymore. Again, fine with me! Rachel seems to have very good social sense. It sounds like your dd does also. It's a shame her feelings are hurt. I'm curious as to why this boy still couldn't be friends with your dd, even if he was pressured to "go out" with someone else. Unfortunately, this is all part of growing up, and other kids are going to make choices that will hurt the feelings of our own kids, but they're all just trying to figure out their way in the social world.

Sam - oblivious, LOL!

So glad you re-found us and jumped back in. I hope we'll see you often!

Janet

Janet


Jewish Family Life

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
Wed, 06-18-2003 - 2:59pm
Janet, you are so lucky to have twins (girl and boy)! Yes, dd still is friends with the new kid,in fact she ran into him yersterday, and everything seemed a bit on the shy side. I have taken a more of a sit back and listen approach, and she just seems fine. I know I never went through this stuff when I was in fifth and sixth grade. Thanks for your welcome post!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 8:24am
Instant Messaging? Oh great. That's what my son was doing often after school. I just thought they were friends who just happen to be on-line at the time. Ok, girl friends but I didn't think they would consider that "going out". No wonder why he was so upset that a girl told him she didn't like him anymore. I have to get with it, I guess.

I guess I thought he liked these girls and they liked him and that's why they were im each other but to actually consider that going out, I thought was a stretch.

He's never asked to take any girl "out" though. I'm so glad for that.

Julie

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 8:38am
I have just realized I should have read this post a long time ago. LOL I am like so out of it.

My son talked a lot about who liked who, and who didn't this week. He's asked what going out meant and how everyone says they are going out with whoever. He was getting a lot of IM on the computer and silly me, it was mostly the girls contacting him. But he was so wanting to go on line when he got home, I can see why now. He was actually hurt when a girl he was supposedly "going out" with told him she didn't like him anymore. He told me about it and I basically told him that people change and sometimes will say things hurtful but that doesn't necessarily mean she "didn't like" him. I don't know if I ever tell him the right thing but he seemed ok with it later. I know he and his friends tell each other who they like and who they don't and tease each other about it.

I tried to explain what "going out" meant to kids and what it meant for us and I hope I said the right things. But it is early for this. But I remember as a kid "liking" boys. It's tough I know. I can't give much advice except to say it's happening here too. My son just finished 5th grade.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 5:05pm
Oh boy, I'm in trouble - I think. My son just finished 4th grade and he told me a couple weeks before school ended that he had a girlfriend. He's mentioned girlfriends before; I always ask their name and if they're in his class. What I've discovered is that these "girlfriends" are really just girls that he likes, he doesn't really talk to them and definitely doesn't let them know that he likes them. So it is very one-sided at this point. I'm thrilled to say the least. Though he is comparing notes about girls with his best friend and they're also talking about sex - I've had to correct some whoppers. *That* is very scary to me.

BTW: I agree with the poster who said that as long as it was age-appropriate, I wouldn't worry *too* much over what it was called.

Best Always,

Sherrie

Sherrie