HELP!! My 10yr old daughter mentioned she likes a boy at school 😩. The “dad” part of me wants to be strict and shut it down right away, however I also don’t want to be too hard on her to where she doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to me about what’s going on in her life... Feeling a little stuck here, any advice?

  • Rokin4life7
    May 06, 2018

    I have a boy about he same age and I encourage friendship and let them know that when they eventually want to get married, that’s what will matter most. So be friends since you aren’t getting married anytime soon. It’s a healthy and natural desire especially if he sees a healthy and loving relationship between you and your wife. He will ultimately choose his guy friends when he wants to play and hang out but it’s not a bad desire. Also, you can have them all hang out in a group together (supervised). Like a bowling night or something.

  • Vicki
    May 06, 2018

    Also in general, talk to her about body autonomy, self-respect and self-worth (and I don’t mean in a purity ring way) in an empowering way.

  • Elle
    May 06, 2018

    I think you're asking good questions and have got it right. These are normal feelings, so just talk them through with her, help her navigate by not judging but asking thought-provoking questions. Ask her to explain what about the boy it is that she likes... This is a great time to start teaching self-awareness and introspection. Is it merely that he's nice to her, or do they get along well and have the same interests, etc. Helping her be aware of why she likes someone will help her leaps and bounds later on. Also, as her dad, you're her model for what is acceptable for her to tolerate from men. If you are so firm that you dismiss her feelings and experiences, over time, she'll interpret that that's what she should accept from her future husband / "that's just how men treat women," etc.

  • Anna
    May 06, 2018

    I think there’s a lot of good advice here. I will just say from my own personal life experience that it definitely is important you keep that communication available- my mom freaked out when at 14(!!!) I told her I liked boys and might want to start dating soon. You can bet I never talked to her about boys after that. All I learned about sex was from a book, and my mom only told us that sex was between two people who are married and love each other (!?). Lol. Most likely her concept of what will happen between the two of them at this age is innocent (note-writing, hand-holding, maybe a peck?) but I don’t think you have much to worry about where that’s concerned. Like many said, teaching about self-worth and concept, learning about her expectations, and allowing her to explore in a controlled environment (as people said, group or chaperoned ‘dates’) are good ideas. Even if you’re freaking out inside, it’s important to stay somewhat “cool” and keep the lines of communication open.

  • Abby
    May 07, 2018

    All of this is spot on. I can only add try to find the humor in this. It’s wonderful she told you. I wouldn’t be hard on her AT ALL. Find out what his name is, why she likes him, and enjoy watching your little girl grow up. Then when she hates him later you can enjoy that too.

  • Margaret
    May 07, 2018

    At 10 I really wouldn’t be too worried, she’s 10! I think my whole cadre I’d girlfriends at that age each picked a guy we “liked.” It’s pretty much harmless at this point. Ask her about him: what’s his name, why does she like him, do they spend time together in class? Think of this as the shallow end of the pool. Let her know you’re interested in her life and who she likes now and she’ll have a wonderful foundation when in 3-5 years she actually does want to start dating. And just wondering (this questions isn’t meant to judge but for you to think about) why is your reaction to “shut it down.” Why do you think you have that reaction? Are you tying to protect her? If so, from what? Are you trying to protect yourself?

  • Jeff
    May 07, 2018

    Thanks everyone for all the great ideas and advice! These are all extremely helpful and will help me have these conversations with my daughter. From experience, I know how much of a distraction crushes and relationships can become. After reading your thoughts I now see this as an opportunity to be more understanding about her starting to have crushes, but also an opportunity to make sure it doesn’t become a distraction. In a way, I guess I am trying to protect her 😓 (Typical dad, right?) The natural response I have is to dismiss the idea altogether, however I’m seeing now that taking the time to talk with her about what qualities she likes about this kid while also setting expectations will be more beneficial. I know I can’t control the outcome either way, just looking for better ways to “influence” where her focus is directed... does that make sense?

  • Elle
    May 07, 2018

    Jeff - I agree with you, no one wants their kid to get too distracted and lose their focus, especially from their studies/future. From what you've described, it doesn't sound like you need to be concerned with that here. One point I'd add on is that, while early relationships aren't studying, they are another form of her learning for her future how to be a happy, healthy, and successful adult. In short, over the next few years, she's learning (in a safe, parent-guided environment) how to have good relationships... be that friends, peers, boyfriends, etc. You can influence (or help guide) her on how to chose, develop, and maintain positive relationshis - and avoid, navigate, and exit negative relationships. And that's probably one of the *best* life skills a parent can offer a child.

  • Anna
    May 07, 2018

    Totally agree with Elle! Well said. I also forgot to mention, you like a book called “So Sexy, So Soon” by Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne. It’s a lot about raising kids in a world that is so sex-focused and influenced. There are even example dialogues about body image, etc. Hope that helps!

  • Anna
    May 07, 2018

    You *might like, not you like. For some reason it’s not letting me edit my post 😜

  • Janee
    May 08, 2018

    My six year’s friend came over the other day asking if his other friend who is a girl is his girlfriend . I shut that phrase down immediately! I told them that they weren’t old enough for girlfriends , but they are certainly old enough for friends . However, whenever they have feelings about their friends , we should talk about that so that we call all develop a healthy perspective on what it means to be a friend , what we should look for in friends , what’s appropriate behavior , and when we order how to handle our feelings about “liking “ someone and what that is supposed to look like at different stages in our lives . Like everyone else said we want to leave that door open so that kids learn those values at home talking to us not everything and one else .

  • Nancy
    May 10, 2018

    I’d just like to add that my ex-husband teaches middle school - ages 11-13. There is actual sex going on at this age, he hears and sees evidence. Plus there are photographs of body parts being passed around. Whatever your position on sex, I would start talking about that AND the dangers of online posting of photos or sexting. For anyone worried - I can use myself as an example (daughter 10) - we have broached every kind of sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, vaping, and online activity that can be dangerous (not always comfortable chats). My daughter wants no part of any of it. Talk, talk, talk, ask questions, receive questions, answer questions and talk, talk, talk some more. Good luck all!!!!

  • Cassandra
    May 10, 2018

    Ask how he makes her feel. That’s a great indicator and teaching her to listen to her intuition! I also think it’s important that we ask our children who they want to be and then guide them in prioritizing those things.

  • Germán
    May 15, 2018

    I think all of the replies are great and I’m super happy to be part of this. I’d like to add that the role your wife plays or will play in all of this is primordial. If she is in pro of having a nice open relationship with your kids and daughter then your daughter is gonna be like “great, I can trust them both!” But if your wife is or was anything like my mom (I have an older and a younger sister) you’re gonna grow grey hair soon or loose it!! You see, my mom was like, no, the girly stuff I deal with it, and you have no business knowing or talking about girl stuff (menstruation or boys stuff). So everything was so private, so secret, kind of a taboo to talk about things like that with my dad (for them girls) and so, I tell my wife, I’d like her to tell my daughter that she can talk to me about things too, or for all three of us to talk about it too.

  • STR8JKT
    May 18, 2018

    Honestly, communication is really all you need and never lie... be involved, make suggestions don’t give demand and give orders.. believe me my daughter is 22 now and recently thanked me for always being her dad first and best friend second and for never flipping out when she came to me with things that where awkward to even talk about.. lil does she know, inside I was going worse than flipping I was going ape sh** .. sorry for rambling, basically, make her feel she can always come to you good or bad

  • Jennifer
    Sep 30, 2018

    I would talk to her about it , my daughter is in the same boat right now they growing but I explain to her that boys will always be there they will never disappear and that your books are what matters, all boys do is distract you . And she understands