I remember the days when I was 13. Quite vividly actually. I look at my 13-year-old daughter now and definitely don’t see myself when it comes to the opposite sex. She may or may not have a “crush” on a boy but her maybe “crush” rarely gets talked about. And from what I understand, this probably “crush” has been a “crush” since the 5th grade. Impressive if I do say so myself.
My 13-year-old self was quite definitely the opposite. If there was an award or certificate that was given out for most boy crazy and emotionally haywire, I would have been in the running for most boy crazy. And quite frankly if I wanted to give my young self an excuse, this whole acceptance and searching for attention was more scientific and psychological than anything. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.
At any rate, I’m quite happy to report that what I THINK I know about my daughter and her interest in boys isn’t all over the place like my bi-weekly crush change. And yes, there ARE girls in my daughter’s grade that are very much like I was as a youngster. So I have posed the question to myself quite often this year. Would I (or should I) like my 13-year old date?
First of all, we must consider the definition of dating:
According to the Webster Dictionary: “Dating is a part of the human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple. While the term has several meanings, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.”
*Would I allow my daughter to hang out with a possibly hormonal boy alone? No.
*Would I allow my daughter to go out on an actual date at this age? No.
*Would I allow my daughter to engage in social activities with a boy in public? Yes, IF there was a group of kids and IF there was some sort of adult supervision.
What I clearly remember about being a young teenager is that teenagers are going to find a way to do things they want to do. If you restrict them from doing something, it is going to want them to do whatever it is they are being told not to do more.
My thoughts are that group activities are probably the best way for a 13-year-old to get comfortable with herself in the company of boys, and for parents to feel like they’re not discouraging her interest but also not providing access or over-supporting, if you will, her interest in dating.
I have no problem inviting a group of kids over to my house, fixing them food, playing music, having board games, Twister, etc. It’s innocent fun! As long as they are all hanging out in the family room or a room where I can walk in and out of, I’m okay with that.
Communication is key, maturity of the kids also plays into consideration. While dating has changed quite a bit over the past couple of decades, one thing hasn’t changed. The curiosity is there. The
Sure there are going to be girls “dating” boys and hormonal drama surrounding that. What I wish my 13-year-old self would have known and understood back then is that there are YEARS ahead of you for boyfriends and dating. Get to know someone as a friend. Don’t think that you NEED to have a boyfriend. Focus on school to get an education. Have fun and relax. These are the best (albeit somewhat confusing) years of your life!
Discussion: Would you let your 13 year old date?