Boyfriends in sixth grade--Is this normal?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter and her friends all have "boyfriends." It doesn't seem that they do much more but hang together, talk on the phone, and say they love each other (I get a queasy feeling when I type that), but my daughter is a month shy of twelve and my first daughter turned into a druggie so I'm maybe more nervous than some mothers. On top of that, my daughter, who has serious Learning Disability (LD) issues and thinks she is "stupid" (her word, not mine) is a big hit both athletically and socially. Her self-esteem comes from sports and her gobs of friends. If I tell her she can't have a "boyfriend," I am pretty much isolating her from her friends. Can boys and girls have real romantic feelings toward one another at such a young age? I ask because, as a top geek, I didn't really feel attracted to boys my age until I was fourteen and no boys ever said they liked me until then either.
    My daughter is very pretty and has a nice figure. She just got her period. She doesn't have difficult child behavior (yet), and I keep a close eye on her and her friends. It's not possible to watch her all the time, of course. Oh, yeah. She was at an overnight last night and I admit I looked at her computer to see if I saw anything suspicious (goodness, I'm bad!). I went on her MySpace and all her friend's MySpaces and they all seemed pretty innocent--nothing pornographic, no drug talk, just a lot of "I love Joe" and stuff like that.
    Is this normal middle school behavior? What would you do about this? There are a lot of boys who seem to like her, which surprises me as she is one of the few biracial girls in a mostly white area, but she is just a very exotic girl with a winning personality and that all-important "good at sports." Although I can't call her a difficult child, she DOES struggle with LDs, which impacts how she feels about herself. And, of course, every kid her age is one step away from being a difficult child.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, MWM! Based on our experience, which my son did take a LITTLE (not completely) farther than normal, it does seem to be the norm these days to call someone boyfriend or girlfriend. That does not mean that they can or do have REAL romantic feelings. Keep an eye out on it- nothing wrong with checking MYSPACE or cell phones or anything else to stay on top of things, in my humble opinion. I've told difficult child that talking on phone in acceptable hours and time limits is fine, claiming each other is boyfriend/girlfriend appears more of a status quo at school or something- no personal physical contact, no dating at this age, etc. I wouldn't take it too seriously- just keep an eye out for things- it seems they really just want the others at school to know that they can get (or do have) a boyfriend/girlfriend. If she is sneaking out at night, that is a different story- Know what I mean??
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I agree with klmno...the kids want the status of boyfriend/girlfriend at school. It makes them cooler, or hotter, or more Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), or something like that! I let Miss KT go to school supervised dances, but that was it for the dating thing.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yep. Normal. Especially these days.

    I did find, with my girls, they wanted some sort of security from me, so they could "blame Mum" if they felt uncomfortable in a social situation. easy child would sometimes ask me to forbid her to go to a particular party which she knew could be risky.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 had her first boyfriend at about 12, it was another boy who used to hang around (friend of difficult child 1, but much younger) and I think FOR HIM, having a girlfriend was a status thing. He thought easy child 2/difficult child 2 liked him, she thought he liked her, so it was an attraction of misunderstandings.

    We took him with us on a couple of family outings - various local zoos - and it was all the kids in together. No canoodling, no hand-holding. I think when they both realised that it had been a misunderstanding they called it quits but stayed friendly.

    Some times later this kid went to the bad - hanging around with the wrong crowd. He and difficult child 1 drifted apart as friends but there was never a falling out. He's still polite and friendly to us all when we cross paths; just nothing in common.

    Your daughter being bi-racial - I don't think race is such a problem for kids these days. Schools are much more melting pots than they used to be. As long as she has self-confidence and never lets herself be 'put down' for being female or different in any way, then she should do well.

    I remember having a crush on a boy at school when I was about 10. Again, he came with us on some family outings. Looking back, I realise I liked him for the same reasons I've been attracted to most guys in my past - they were smart. The guy was a nerd, long before we had the term. But then, so was I.

    As long as it stays innocent, it's all good practice for life later on. At this age they should be going out together in groups, anyway.

  6. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    husband's infamous response to kt's announcement of her first boyfriend was "get thee to a nunnery". Scared the bejeebers out of poor kt - I just sat at the table laughing my fool head off.

    I'm seeing in more & more; to fit in, you have to have a boyfriend. Now, I'm not sure how much the boys are into this - what I see (which isn't a whole lot this year) is that the boys were more into sports & guy things. It seemed more in kt's & her friends minds that these guys were indeed boyfriends.

    I understand your concerns for your daughter; however she's going to do this now when all her friends are in the throes of young love or she's going to wait & feel a bit left out.

    I would hazard that she'd rather be with her friends & risk being hurt. (As a mom, I'd rather now when these relationships aren't quite as intense as in the later teen years).

    Good luck. by the way, my husband is threatening kt that he will chaperone (sp?) each & every one of kt's dates - he in the front seat with her date - she in the back seat being totally humiliated. Every dad's dream. Mom will have to reign him in - play mediator.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I think it's normal. I don't think the boys are as crazy about this as the girls, but it really is a prime example of peer pressure!

    Just keep doing what your're doing. Keep an eye on her, know where she is and who she is with, and snooping on my space is not bad. I did it when easy child was in middle school - I don't do it anymore because I trust her and she has earned it. It definately is an eye-opener for parents!

  8. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Very normal. My first "boyfriend" was in 6th grade. We played video games and rollerskated together. Copper's first "boyfriend" was also in 6th grade. Much of the same, video games and just hanging out.

    Deep breaths, mom. Your very beautiful daughter is very much normal.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, everyone. I think what bothers me is that this boy DOES seem to be into it. He calls her a lot and always wants to hang with her and they are great friends. But they met at a skating club and her entire group of friends are great at rollerblading, love sports, and that's pretty much what they do. Friday night they had a party for the skating kids at one of the kid's homes and the mom was there the whole time and I called my daughter's cell phone five times (love them cell phones) and also talked to Mom. The boys were there too, and Mom said everyone was really good. I asked my daughter what they did and she shrugged and said, "Watched movies and went on the computer." There was a terrible snowstorm (yes, SNOWstorm) Friday night so the boys had to stay overnight, but Mom assured me that the girls had been in their room and the boys in the living room. They were up pretty late--doubt there was much sleeping anyway. I wouldn't have let her go, however, if I'd known the boys would be overnight, however it wasn't planned. I guess I have to chill out. When I came by early yesterday to watch her skating, she was just hanging with her best friend and their "boyfriends" (girls on one side of the table, boys on the other) having pizza. Then they seperated and started skating. My daughter can do the ramps so she followed the boys and they were all trying to outdo each other. She didn't see me there until almost the end, then she gave me that "Mooooooooooom, why are you watching me look" lol. On the way home, she brought up how "Joe's" father smokes and how gross that is, so I guess we're still on the right track. But this is so scary. She is my youngest, my baby, and it's soooooooo hard to see her sliding into the teens! Especially after what we went through with my older daughter.
  10. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    It's hard to watch them grow up so quickly---but it is pretty normal. I would have a hard time with the boys staying also---although on many church trips my children were in co-ed situations quite a bit.
  11. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    another mom chiming in to say it is normal. When both my girls were that age kids were always "going out". I found it funny because they never actually went out anywhere, that's just what they called it when they had a boyfriend or girlfriend.

    I think these days it is so much more common for groups of boys and girls to hang out together. In my day we didn't do that til we were maybe seniors in high school. I was surprised to find out recently how many "boyfriends" my difficult child 2 had in middle school. Since she never did anything outside of school with any boy in a dating situation I had no idea!

    I'm glad for your dtr that she has many friends and is good at sports. Sounds like she is doing fine and you deserve that!

  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello MWM,

    Yet another voice agreeing that it's perfectly normal.
    Boys and girls hang around together, and the label boyfriend or girlfriend just seems to designate who you like or who you think is cute.

    It's getting younger too. Little easy child told me that one of the girls in his class (Grade 1, mind you!) wants him to be her boyfriend, but he "doesn't need a girlfriend right now 'cause I want to just be single". From what I can gather, it means that they sit together at the lunch table, and might trade sandwiches. Nothing more serious than that.

    With regard to race, I don't think you need to worry about it. Kids seem to be pretty open about that sort of thing these days. Even in my day. I am mixed race, and grew up in predominently white neighbourhoods. It never became an issue for me. (My ex-H, husband and all boyfriends have always been white)

    I think it's not so much about skin colour as who you know, who you have things in common with etc. Another child from your neighbourhood is much more likely to have things in common than some kid from all the way across the state or country who happens to have the same skin tone.

    Sounds like your daughter's doing just fine.

  13. dcwsaranac

    dcwsaranac I hear music...


    Scarey, isn't it?
  14. earthprowler

    earthprowler New Member

    perfectly normal. the phone will become part of their head also!
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all. Her cell phone is already glued to her head. She also likes to IM. She'll be with her friends at school all day then talk to them on IM right after she comes home from track. I have five kids and none were as social as she is. Maybe that's a good thing. Older daughter was extremely shy, had trouble making friends and partly took drugs, in her words, because it helped her socialize. Got to spin it a good way, right? ;)
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Most of Jess's friends have boyfriends. A few do more than just hang out with them at school functions. But only a few, and the ones that do were showing signs of it in 4th grade. They also have moms who let them rule the roost and dress in extremely provocative clothing. (I have heard these moms say everyone dresses like that, that the boys are the ones with dirty minds cause they think of sex when a girl is falling out of a too tight too low too thin top, and so many more rationalizations).

    Jess is not "dating" anyone, nor has she yet. She doesn't want to, and being homeschooled has given her some freedom from the pressure to do this. She is not very pressureable, at least not so far on this stuff.

    Linda - Jess was drooling over a workman on a roof at age 4. My husband was actively looking for a convent to send her to!! (He is Catholic.) You own't be the only one mediating.
  17. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Normal. It's easiest to let them do group things together at public places like movies and skating for a limited period of time. That way they feel like they're "dating" and they're less likely to do something stupid.
  18. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    It's a social thing, moreso in public school. My son has had girlfriend's sense 4th grade, but I feel if they have an older sibling they're more apt to mirror the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Not that I know this first hand or that I've ever been the parent of one- but she sounds like a typical teen young lady- with a healthy, supervised, social life.

    That must be frightening!!

    by the way- my difficult child has "implied" to me at times that my punishments have kept him from social situations where he really didn't want to go anyway because he didn't expect the friends that he would have wanted. If that makes any sense-