Question about 12 year daughter and boys

freezetagSeptember 17, 2007

My oldest child is 12, so I'm new to dealing with boy/girl issues; hoping someone more experienced can help.

Our neighbor's son ("Ryan", also 12) has liked my daughter ("Dana") for a few years, and has "asked her out" several times (whatever that means when you're 12!! they don't go anywhere or do anything - that's just what the kids call it). I think she is not yet ready for boys (e.g., anytime she expresses interest in a boy, it is always someone from another school, in another grade, etc., someone "safe" to have a crush on, without fear of having to actually interact with him). And anytime Ryan asks Dana if she likes him, if she'll dance with him at their school dance, etc., she always says no, that she likes him as a friend only.

All that is fine, and I am, of course, in no hurry for her to be more interested in boys. What bothers me, though, is that lately she will go outside when Ryan is outside, play in their backyard, volunteer to go get her little sister from his house (he has a little sister, too), make a point of playing in our front yard if she knows he is returning from somewhere, so she will run into him, etc. and just generally acts as if she feels more for him than before. So it seems to me that she is encouraging him, because she enjoys the attention, but then tells him she won't "go out" with him. I know she likes hanging out with him, and I hate to tell her she shouldn't, but this just seems wrong. He is a nice kid and I hate that she hurts his feelings over and over. I don't want to tell her to ignore him, just to back off a little - she says she is just being "nice" to him. Any suggestions for how to handle this?

I know they are young, I just want her to get a good start on how to deal with boys so that she is not sending mixed signals or teasing.

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She's definitely sending mixed signals and teasing. And furthermore, she's probably aware of it on some level. But at the same time, she's exploring her own feelings and her power to attract guys, and is probably flattered on some level also.

I think it's time for a mother-daughter talk. For Ryan to come forward, say he likes her, and ask her out takes a lot of courage for a boy that age. And Dana needs to respect that courage and fair dealing, and deal fairly with him in return. If she likes him or thinks she might, then you two should discuss a proper way for her to respond. (Whatever you think is appropriate at that age.) Is her feelings for him are 'just friends', then she needs to show more consideration for his feelings, and explore her feminine wiles with someone else.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 9:17AM
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That is the way 12 year olds behave....
What you are seeing is typical 12 year old behavior towards some jerky little kid who has a crush on her. She doesn't "like" him but she loves that he likes her!
She's fine...ignore it. She can certainly have him as a friend and not "go out" with him.
And I may say, don't get embroiled in the friendships and "love affairs" of your pre-teen and teen age children. The child won't benefit and it will drive you crazy!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 9:24AM
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Thanks for the responses, but those are completely opposite takes on the same situation! Linda, I think you are right that it is typical behavior, and that it's best to stay out of our kids' social lives as much as possible - I think they learn a lot when they have to figure things out themselves and feel the consequences of their decisions. But I also think, like sweeby, that it's sometimes necessary to point out when their behavior is inappropriate. I'm just new at this and don't know at what point to speak up.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 1:20PM
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I think both posters have shown great insight and wisdom.

How about you just have a little chat about how your daughter is sending mixed signals. See what she thinks, the penny might drop and she thinks, "yes" I am doing that.

She is probably pretty unsure of how she feels about this boy. I remember having crushes on boys at that age, but was way too shy to do anything about it.

You are about to embark on a rocky road of negotiation and clever thinking, until Dana can take the "wheel" and steer through the choppy waters of relationships! (sorry! I know that sounds corny!)


    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 3:23AM
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Perhaps it's different where you are....but anyplace I know of....when a 12 year old is "going out" with another 12 year old, it means she can't be friends with any other boys, nor he with other girls.
I sure see no harm with her making sure he is aware of her existance. She is trying out her feminine wiles and he is smitten.....all that will change in the blink of an eye. I repeat...stay out of it...they are 12 for cryin out loud, you are complaining because your daughter talks to but won't "go out with" a neighbor kid? Suppose she did want to "go out" with him and wanted to spend all her time at his house? makes for a new worry doesn't it?
Ignore will go away! I repeat....she's 12!!
I happen to have 3 12 year old grandsons. One recently "broke up" with the girl he was "going out with". He couldn't even talk in the hall to another girl without her pulling a scene and her girlfriends calling him and asking why were you talking to Carla when you are going with Dana?...and he got sick of it and broke up with her....
AND the next morning, Sunday, her mother called my son's house and wanted to know if they were aware that their son broke up with her daughter...and did they realize how heart broken she was and that she cried all night and what were they going to do about it.
My son let her know in no uncertain terms that he didn't get involved in the drama of a 12 year old's love life and that his son was well within his rights to "break up" with her daughter, and please don't call again and wake me for some trivial problem that really is none of our businesses.

Pay no attention....that's how she learns to be a teen age girl!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 1:18PM
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I dont see anything wrong with maybe a little friendly chat with your daughter.My daughter talks to me about everything if I'm willing to listen.(and I always want to know what's going on!)
Tell her that maybe she shouldnt spend so much time at his house if she isnt interested in him because it's kind of like "leading him on" and he may,"Get the wrong idea". A little feminine guidance.
Other than that though I wouldnt get too involved either.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:40PM
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O.K., I think for now I'll just stay out of it. I can't imagine that Ryan is all that heartbroken; every time Dana turns him down, he manages to find a new crush in a few days, anyway. I feel lucky that Dana gets home 1/2 hour earlier than my other kids, and likes to spend that time talking about her day. So for now I have a little window into her world, and it doesn't seem that either of them are spending much time thinking about it.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 8:31AM
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I have a 12 year old son, so far he is too busy doing "guy" things, skateboarding, riding his bike, playing football, etc..
I thought it would be next year before I had to deal with the drama of "going togather" and breakups. Guess that time is soon coming, sheesh where does time go? Seems like yesterday he was starting Kindergarten! One thing in my favor is there are no girls his age where we live, they are all either younger or much older, that may be part of it.
I remember acting the way your daughter is though, wanting the guys to see me but acting like I didn't notice them at all. Used to do some crazy stuff on the back of my horse showing off, what was I thinking? I could of injured my horse doing some of the things I did. I had two older brothers and I guess I thought I was "impressing" all their friends, what a dork!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 1:54AM
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