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Author Topic: HE'S 12!!
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I do think 12 is too young to be dating (if that's what the young whippersnappers are calling it these days) but it's not too young to be getting interested in the opposite sex. Most girls I know and knew at that age (including myself) were vastly more interested in unattainable boys (like David Cassidy or nowadays hmmm who is the teeny bopper heart throb du jour?) than they were in real life boys though. I'm not sure if this is as true for boys at that age.

That's why I wouldn't make a big deal about this. Yet. I'd definitely keep an eye on things and monitor developments though. Remember poor little Sarah Louise!*

* 5 points for the reference...

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Christie:

I'm not sure if this is as true for boys at that age.

From what I can recall, it was. There aren't too many female David Cassidys, of course (I've heard this is because boys that age tend to look up to sports heroes), but there were plenty of unattainable girls in my class whom I lusted after. And yes, many of them were probably only unattainable because I was too shy to try to make friends with them. [lol]

Seriously, though, at that age I was very curious about girls, but when the opportunity arose to actually do things that weren't appropriate at that age, I was scared off and didn't do it.

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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*Hijack for points: That poor little Sarah-Lou has turned into a right trollop!*

As you were.

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~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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I saw Mommy kismet Santa Claus
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I keep reading this posts that say, "You can't stop them from doing things, so you might as well give in..." and it drives me crazy. True, if this is the first time you have put your foot down on some activity of his, then that might be true. However, if you have spent the last 12 years teaching him respect, right from wrong, and to obey you, then giving him guidelines will work.

Doug, as one of the people who said you can't stop their behavior, let me clarify. I think the time to develop a sense of appropriate behavior and values is from birth, not starting at age 12. As the child ages, we have less and less physical control of their actions, and the control we have relies entirely upon the respect they have learned for us and for themselves. We can't keep our kids in sight of us 24/7 until they're adults.

"You can't date because I don't trust you to not have sex," is not a good way to maintain that respect if we have built it well. And if you haven't taught the respect successfully by age 12, an ultimatum on a movie date won't stop the kid from getting sexual in a remote corner of the school.

So, ideally you do have some control of your kid's behavior at age 12, and you can let him date with impunity. If you don't have any control, not allowing the date won't change that.

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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As another one who said something like that, let me clarify a bit as well. I was remembering myself at age 12 all the way through high school. I followed most of the rules most of the time and some of the rules all the time. But the reality is that no one that age is going to be 100% obedient, and I don't think that's a bad thing. The fact is that parents don't always know best, as it's impossible for them to know exactly how mature you are at a given age. Bottom line, it's just not realistic to expect teenagers to never rebel against the rules at all. It is realistic to believe that if you teach them why you shouldn't do certain things, they'll understand.

As far as my experience in dating goes, that rule was one I never wanted to break (to the point where my parents didn't even bother to spell it out for me at the time), because I'd been brought up to understand that 12 is much too young to fool around. Like I said in my last post, I did actually have the opportunity when I was not much older than that, and I didn't need my parents leaning over my shoulder to know that I should say "no." But that doesn't just happen by itself.

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I keep reading this posts that say, "You can't stop them from doing things, so you might as well give in..." and it drives me crazy. True, if this is the first time you have put your foot down on some activity of his, then that might be true. However, if you have spent the last 12 years teaching him respect, right from wrong, and to obey you, then giving him guidelines will work.

The problem is the "tell them not to do it" attitude. There are a lot more sensible ways to deal with the situation, like, for example, chaperoning their dates, etc. Clearly no one thinks you should let kids do anything they want, BUT you cannot just shield them from life and tell them they can't do anything remotely related to dating or girl-boy stuff. It's the banning them from doing it thing that's the problem. I think the OP came to a sensible conclusion in the end, and I suport her decision.

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Yeah, the problem is when parents forget that telling a kid not to do something (as in, "I forbid you to see him/her ever again") doesn't always mean the kid is going to follow orders. Sometimes it works, but in most of the cases I've seen firsthand, it usually happens right about the time the kids are starting to realize maybe their parents aren't always right about everything and take that reason as enough to sneak out/run away/do something stupid.

I have to agree that sometimes it is better to keep a closer eye on the child by chaperoning and staying involved even if you are a little unsure about the activity rather than trying to shut it down completely. I wouldn't consider it "giving in." It's a better way of handling situations while maintaining a good open relationship with your kids. It doesn't work with everything, but I think it's a sound strategy when boy/girl stuff starts to become an issue.

I just think back to high school and every freaking Romeo & Juliet scenario that got started because someone's parents forbid them from dating someone else. Those almost never ended well, and yet it seems like many could have been avoided if the parents hadn't tried to "ban" the other person from their child's lives and demolished their relationships with their own child in the process.

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Demon:
Hey guys, thanks for your input. It was really hlpful. they whent to the movies and I made sure there was a chaperone (another Boys father went along) and that there was a group of people, not just them. thanks again.

Well, for my own part, I can say you're welcome, but I gotta tell you, man, this isn't over. In fact, it's just the beginning. Stick around here, though; I think you'll get a lot of good support from this group.

I can tell from your trepidation that you've probably put a lot of effort into raising this kid, and so you've probably raised him pretty well. That's good, because in general, most 12 year olds aren't crazy about the idea of sex to begin with, so you're in the clear there. I remember being 12, I didn't even want to change in the PE locker room, lest another boy see me in my underwear! (And don't even get me STARTED about showering...)

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny T:
I'm echoing Joostik here. The whole idea of being "allowed" to have a girlfriend/boyfriend seems completely bizarre to me, whatever the age.

Not following you here. Why can't parents decide boundaries for their kids? At 12 it seems a little harsh to put the total kibbosh on a girlfriend, but I don't know if I'd want my 7 or 8 year old to be dating.
quote:
Also, IMO, it's dangerous. Saying they're not "allowed" rarely works in stopping kids but does pretty much guarantee they won't come for advice (or be in a position to receive it) or help if things go bad (sexually, romantically, whatever).
Yeah, I'm gonna second this as probably the best way to handle the situation. Bans and proclamations are dangerous territory; instead, I'd adopt more of an approach like, "Okay, you have a girlfriend. What will you be doing with her? What do you NOT want to do with her? Are you aware of what can happen if you do X?" etc.

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Jonny T
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Amigone201:
QUOTE] Originally posted by Johnny T:
I'm echoing Joostik here. The whole idea of being "allowed" to have a girlfriend/boyfriend seems completely bizarre to me, whatever the age.

Not following you here. Why can't parents decide boundaries for their kids? At 12 it seems a little harsh to put the total kibbosh on a girlfriend, but I don't know if I'd want my 7 or 8 year old to be dating.[/quote]I never said parents couldn't set boundaries on their kids, only that the whole concept of not allowing kids to start dating seemed very, well, odd. I never experienced it and AFAIK none of my friends did either. Things just kind of, well, happened.

Trying to discipline kids based on obedience is doomed to failure as, come adolescence (and usually earlier), that obedience simply isn't there a lot of the time. Teaching kids principles and self-discipline is IMO more beneficial.

- Jonathan

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Hello, I love you - won't you tell me your name?
Hello! I'm good for nothing - will you love me just the same?

Greetings from the dark side...

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Mosherette
Deck the Malls


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I experienced it, Jonny - I wonder if it's because I'm a girl and you're not? I wasn't allowed out with boys until I was 16. And I certainly wouldn't have been allowed to the cinema at the age of 12 with just me and another 12-year-old, no matter what the gender.

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Silence should never under any circumstances be construed as agreement. A lot of the time, it's simply a reflection that someone just said something so stupid that no response could possibly do it justice. - Ramblin' Dave

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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As a parent of three (two of which are teenagers), I can say "No" and it will stick. Why? Because I've been raising them for 11, 13, & 15 years. They know the rules and they follow them. Now if they want to "go out" with a friend, we ask "Where? When? Who? Why?" and we won't let them go out with someone we don't already know. My kids know this, so they make sure we "know" their friends. It can be as simple as, "You remember that girl I was with when you picked me up yesterday? THAT is XXXX.", or it can be as complicated as inviting someone over for dinner. We make sure we know who the kids are hanging out with, and they reciprocate by always introducing us to their friends. It works just fine.

Now at 12, I would NOT let my kids go to a movie unchaperoned, but I would let them go WITH a parent (maybe even me). Now I wouldn't try to sit between them or anything, but they would know I was there (in the back).

I don't know about other locations, but around here, a kid (and they are a KID) would need help getting to a theater. In that case, I would be more than willing to drive them.

The bottom line is YOU are the parent, not a "friend". Act like one.

ETA:Hit post too soon...

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And now for something completely different...

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistleS:
[QB] Tell him he's not allowed to have a girlfriend and lay down some ground rules/ guidelines about sex and dating?/QB]

Yeah, tell the hormonal, emotional teenage boy that he can't see his girlfriend, THAT'S likely to end well.
Yes, not laying down any rules about dating whatsoever is definitely the solution to this situation. After all, teenagers hate rules, and we wouldn't want to make this boy uncomfortable, would we?

Sorry, but it's important for hormonal young people to have firm parental guidance. I don't see anything wrong with saying so. "Not allowed to have a girlfriend" was just a suggestion for a rule based on Lemon_demon's reaction. She seems surprised that her) son is dating/ has this attitude about dating- she needs to be more proactive about getting involved and laying out rules if she doesn't want to be surprised by his behavior.

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Officially Heartless

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BlushingBride
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Yesterday's Dear Abby seems appropriate... ETA Because it's on topic and adds another point to the discussion, not because anyone here actually posted anything just like this.

quote:
DEAR ABBY: My son is 11 and, for the first time, he has a "girlfriend." I have always discouraged the children from saying they have girlfriends and boyfriends, so he has always referred to her as his "friend." Well, the other night, I heard him say, "I love you," and there were text messages on his phone from her saying it, too.

I tried to talk to him about it and explain that this is not appropriate because he's too young to really understand what love is, and he should not say it until he is older and knows what love is. He didn't respond very well and was embarrassed. I don't think I was very effective. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle this? -- SHANNON IN HOUSTON

DEAR SHANNON: I certainly do. And the first is to stop minimizing your son's feelings because you know better what he is feeling. His emotions are his own, and the more you insist they are not valid, the higher the barrier will be that you build between you. How much better it would have been had you listened to what he had to say and simply commented that along with love go responsibilities that he will come to understand as he grows older -- and that he can always tell you anything.

My parents were strictly "anti-date" until 16. In our case, that essentially meant "No being anywhere with a member of the opposite sex [except school], chaperoned or unchaperoned, even in large groups." So, we couldn't even hang out in mixed-groups of friends. (Even after 16 they were shady about it. But that's a rant for another day.)

It probably seemed to my parents like they were protecting us. I guess it never occurred to them that all the other kids were already dating (starting with the nervous "should I touch her?" dates at 12 or so) for several years. By the time I was allowed to date, the boys were experienced daters, and in full-fledged hormone driven teenage boy mode. I, however, was stuck in a slightly awkward "Ok, now what do I do?" mode. I got put in more than one position that made me uncomfortable, simply because I was thrown in the deep end of the pool without having had the chance to splash around in the wading end with the other kiddies.

So, my personal, very strong, experience based opinion is: once your child expresses an interest in going out with members of the opposite sex, allow them to do so in age appropriate ways. (Chaperoned dates, large mixed groups, etc.) Shouting "But you're only 12!!! My BABY!!!" will only be denying them the opportunity to learn how to date safely while the other kids are learning the same thing.

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"In perfume, as in underwear, the scantiest of applications provides the greatest of returns." -Silas Sparkhammer

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by ThistleS:
quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistleS:
[QB] Tell him he's not allowed to have a girlfriend and lay down some ground rules/ guidelines about sex and dating?/QB]

Yeah, tell the hormonal, emotional teenage boy that he can't see his girlfriend, THAT'S likely to end well.
Yes, not laying down any rules about dating whatsoever is definitely the solution to this situation. After all, teenagers hate rules, and we wouldn't want to make this boy uncomfortable, would we?

Sorry, but it's important for hormonal young people to have firm parental guidance. I don't see anything wrong with saying so. "Not allowed to have a girlfriend" was just a suggestion for a rule based on Lemon_demon's reaction. She seems surprised that her) son is dating/ has this attitude about dating- she needs to be more proactive about getting involved and laying out rules if she doesn't want to be surprised by his behavior.

Perhaps you forgot to read the entire rest of the thread where the point has been clarified multiple times?

Laying down no rules isn't the solution. But banning or telling them they can't see someone is going to end in tragedy and tears, just like it does with every teenager who goes through this situation because their parents don't think things through.

Once again, the OP made the right decision and I support that. The only thing I wouldn't support is telling them they can't see each other or any similar bans on dating at all.

Do me a favor and read the other replies first, mmkay?

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I did read the rest of the thread. I was just defending my own point. Whatever.

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Officially Heartless

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Ophiuchus
Deck the Malls


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Why is it that parents always hate or suspect other people's children?
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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by ThistleS:
I did read the rest of the thread. I was just defending my own point. Whatever.

Which would have made sense had we not clarified later in the thread. Your own point, however, we still disagree with. "Tell him he's not allowed to have a girlfriend..." is the part we disagree with, not "lay down some ground rules." Rules are great, bans are bad. Teenagers will always fight against banning anything, and it will almost always end in a very bad way. Rules and chaperoning are much better ideas.

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Midgard Dragon
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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
Why is it that parents always hate or suspect other people's children?

They don't. Some parents sometimes hate and/or suspect other people's children. It's called human nature -- and the distrust, at least, may be justified in some cases.

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistleS:
I did read the rest of the thread. I was just defending my own point. Whatever.

Which would have made sense had we not clarified later in the thread. Your own point, however, we still disagree with. "Tell him he's not allowed to have a girlfriend..." is the part we disagree with, not "lay down some ground rules." Rules are great, bans are bad. Teenagers will always fight against banning anything, and it will almost always end in a very bad way. Rules and chaperoning are much better ideas.
I reserve my right to respectfully disagree. I think it is okay and justified to ban certain things at certain ages. Maybe flat-out saying that the kid is not allowed to have a girlfriend and leaving no room for discussion would be bad, but I don't think that a no-girlfriend rule in and of itself is a terrible idea for a twelve year old. Anyway, the only reason I even said that is because Lemon_demon seemed uncomfortable with her son having a girlfriend- hence I suggested that she institute a no-girlfriends-yet rule for him.

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Officially Heartless

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vicious
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I don't think isolating genders will help anyone.12 is as good an age as any for a first love.
As others have said, if your son has been taught right from wrong and respect, I don't think there should be a problem.He's 12, I'm sure his concept of a date is far removed from yours.
I do however find the fact that you are only worried about her intentions quite unsettling, placing blame is a dangerous game.Perhaps this "girlfriend" should be invited for dinner so you can get to know her...

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lOoK aT yOuR SoCiAl ProBlEm.

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Joostik
The First USA Noel


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This is all so completely different from the way I grew up. As far as I can remember, at least from the age of about 4-5 up I would be playing and roaming around with the neighbourhood kids, basically unsupervised: boys and girls, different ages but all quite young.

When a bit older we would cycle around in the woods, or go to the town center, or even on fairly long trips -- unsupervised. In mixed groups. Although being a boy I usually was with other boys, there were girls too. As far as I could tell it wasn't really much different for girls. Boys and girls could just be friends.

My personal situation at age 12 was a bit different, as I was living in a boarding school at the time. This, in practice, gave me complete freedom to go as I wished in my spare time, as long as I was in before a certain time (can't remember exact how late, but even if you were late you could usually sneak in somehow).

Unfortunately it was a boys school. Girlfriends? People were more worried about me not having them.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistleS:
I did read the rest of the thread. I was just defending my own point. Whatever.

Which would have made sense had we not clarified later in the thread. Your own point, however, we still disagree with. "Tell him he's not allowed to have a girlfriend..." is the part we disagree with, not "lay down some ground rules." Rules are great, bans are bad. Teenagers will always fight against banning anything, and it will almost always end in a very bad way. Rules and chaperoning are much better ideas.
Who is this "we" of which you speak? AFAIK there is no "we" at snopes. At least not in the we vs you sense of the word.

On the subject of banning - my kids had age appropriate rules that their father and I agreed on. One of those rules, at 12, was no boyfriends/girlfriends. My kids, like a lot of others at that age were quite relieved that they were told clearly what they could and could not do. It gave them a face saving out with their friends. They didn't need to say "I don't want to do that." they could say "my mom says no."

Having rules that include saying no to certain things doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's just that parents need to be flexible and aware that rules that worked with one kid may not work with another.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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There were several others that agreed with me, and that is the we that I spoke of. Not a collective of snopes. Nor did I ever say I was speaking collectively for the forum.

Also, it sounds like your ban on dating was imposed before the children ever met someone they wanted to date. While I disagree with this too, it's much less risky than saying "you can't see this girl you've already met and think you're in love with."

Also, don't be fooled that your kids are doing everything you say. I had a girlfriend in high school who's parents didn't want her dating. We were in band together and got many many moments alone due to this, and were dating for quite a bit before we ended it on our own terms, not her parents. Her parents ban on dating resulted in only one thing, her lying to her parents. I know I'd rather have my kids free to choose and teach them right from wrong and attempt to chaperone them, rather than having them have to lie to me.

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Hazed
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by BlushingBride:

[QUOTE]DEAR ABBY: My son is 11 and, for the first time, he has a "girlfriend." I have always discouraged the children from saying they have girlfriends and boyfriends, so he has always referred to her as his "friend." Well, the other night, I heard him say, "I love you," and there were text messages on his phone from her saying it, too.

I tried to talk to him about it and explain that this is not appropriate because he's too young to really understand what love is, and he should not say it until he is older and knows what love is.

Okay, this is a major munchkin of mine, mostly because when I first started dating my husband both sets of parents tried to pull this crap on us. Why does his young age mean he doesn't know what love is? Hopefully his parents tried to instill the emotion of love into him, (and yes, I know a love between a parent and a child is different than love between a boyfriend and a girlfriend). If they did that, I don't see why he can't think he loves this girl.
Posts: 1128 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
*Hijack for points: That poor little Sarah-Lou has turned into a right trollop!*

As you were.

/hijack to award points. Sorry I missed this earlier. 5 Corrie points to Chloe - or a pint of Newton & Ridley's best bitter if you prefer! Anyway is there a woman out there who watched the scene with Gail and Sarah Louise in the doctor's office who didn't get teary? I know I did [Frown] ./

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
Why is it that parents always hate or suspect other people's children?

This one is easy. Your child is PERFECT and you know he/she wouldn't do anything bad. So if something bad happens, it MUST be the other kid.

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And now for something completely different...

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I agree with Dear Abby's response, but does it bug anyone else that the kid has his own cell phone at age 12? I had an extension phone in my room when I wasn't much older than that, but his own line?

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

Posts: 2669 | From: Jouy en Josas, France | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin' Dave, ramblin' again:
I agree with Dear Abby's response, but does it bug anyone else that the kid has his own cell phone at age 12? I had an extension phone in my room when I wasn't much older than that, but his own line?

Our kids (11, 13, & 15) share two cell phones. They take them when they go out or on field trips. True, they are not their "personal" phones, but they do get to use them. We got the 2nd kid phone because they were beginning to be gone on trips/etc. at the same time.

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And now for something completely different...

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin' Dave, ramblin' again:
I agree with Dear Abby's response, but does it bug anyone else that the kid has his own cell phone at age 12? I had an extension phone in my room when I wasn't much older than that, but his own line?

My kids have their own cell phone and their own laptops but they don't have extension phones in their rooms. Actually the last time we lived in England we didn't even have a landline, we all had our own cell phones. The times they are a changin'...

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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piyokochan
I Saw Three Shipments


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I feel strange now. It seems like everyone has had a "boyfriend" and/or a first kiss by age 13, and I *still* haven't had anything resembling a boyfriend or even a peck from the opposite sex yet. [Frown]

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"Shakespeare and Dante divide the world between them. There is no third." - T. S. Eliot

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by piyokochan:
I feel strange now. It seems like everyone has had a "boyfriend" and/or a first kiss by age 13, and I *still* haven't had anything resembling a boyfriend or even a peck from the opposite sex yet. [Frown]

Just as another data point, things didn't get started for me until I was in college, and even then it was no "flood" of babes. I did eventually find a cute Mexican to latch onto...well, actually, she grabbed me...

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