Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

My son is 11 years old, is going into 6th grade and has a "girlfriend" that is going into 5th grade. Now that school is out they still want to see each other. I did not think to much about it and thought it would be ok because they are just kids right? Wrong!

I have met both her parents and the grandfather. They also are ok with it. So she has come over to our house a few times and my son goes over to her house and has even gone out to dinner a few times with her family.

Well, I caught them CUDDLING! in a bed together watching a movie. I have know idea what else they have done that I don't know about. I broke it up and had a talk with him about what is appropriate and whats not. I let him know that he has my trust only until he breaks it. If that happens then she will no longer be coming over.

Only now I don't know what to do. I don't know how well they are being watched when with her family and I feel like a darn guard dog when they are here. Did I start something that should never have been aloud in the first place? Is he to young to have a "girlfriend"?
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Junkersgal View Post
My son is 11 years old, is going into 6th grade and has a "girlfriend" that is going into 5th grade. Now that school is out they still want to see each other. I did not think to much about it and thought it would be ok because they are just kids right? Wrong!

I have met both her parents and the grandfather. They also are ok with it. So she has come over to our house a few times and my son goes over to her house and has even gone out to dinner a few times with her family.

Well, I caught them CUDDLING! in a bed together watching a movie. I have know idea what else they have done that I don't know about. I broke it up and had a talk with him about what is appropriate and whats not. I let him know that he has my trust only until he breaks it. If that happens then she will no longer be coming over.

Only now I don't know what to do. I don't know how well they are being watched when with her family and I feel like a darn guard dog when they are here. Did I start something that should never have been aloud in the first place? Is he to young to have a "girlfriend"?

Girlfriends are ok. But no way would I allow my daughter who is 13 to be in a bedroom alone with a boy at that age. I know if they want to have sex they will find a way but I'm going to make it as hard as I can to do so . I personally would be ok with parent supervised group activities at 11. I am just now contimplating 'dates' where me and my husband would take ten to the movies and they would have to be in eyesite the entire time.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

I agree. I think the parent supervised "dates" are fine, but time to just hang out together alone is not. They should be fine just seeing each other once a week to go to a movie or similar activity.

I would limit their visits to family supervised events only.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

Uh...why were they in a bedroom in the first place?

My DD20 wasn't even allowed to have a boy IN her room until she was 17. She knew the rule, THEY knew the rule, and everyone respected it. At 17, they were allowed in, as that's where the game console was, but the door remained open. Once she graduated high school, I said 'do what you want; I trust you not to ruin your future by getting pregnant.' By then, she'd already learned all the moral lessons I wanted her to learn.

But 11? No freaking way.

Sure, they'll 'find a way.' But research has shown that the NUMBER ONE way to prevent pregnancies is for parents to explain - and to keep reiterating - why underage sex is dangerous and fraught with consequences, and for parents to enact strong boundaries that the kids understand and learn to respect through discussion and consequences.

What your son needs most from you right now is a LOT of discussions about what his consequences will be if he follows that path. I'm not talking about getting grounded. I'm talking about HIS consequences - pregnancy, VDs, not getting to go to college if he has to stay home and raise a baby, having other parents treat him like a parriah, losing your respect, getting kicked off a favorite sport team because you catch him lying to you...you have to show him the LOGIC of why he should wait.

Oh, and don't forget to talk about respecting a female, like, how would he like it if someone went after his own sister or cousin just for sex. He should treat any girl he dates the same way.

And trust me, he's not too young to hear all this. When I was picking up DD20 at her junior high school 7 and 8 years ago, I watched kids dry humping and everything else all over the campus. Junior high kids KNOW IT ALL already.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

I think it's important to explain that at 11, a "girlfriend" is just that, a "girl" "friend". She's a girl and a friend, just like same sex friends even if the feelings are sometimes different.

It's very important to explain the difference between the adult and childhood meanings of girl and boy friend and to outline what are appropriate and in appropriate behaviors for such childhood, pre-teen, and teen friendships.

As you might now, most teen pregnancies start between 4-6pm while parents are still at work. I strongly recommend that parents, even of teens, provide as much adult supervision as humanly possible with girlfriend boyfriend relationships.

Going on outings together with your family, or doing things as a group at home (playing board games, watching a movie etc) can be very helpful here.

Setting clear expectations and boundaries related to supervision can really prevent problems and arguments before they happen.

It's best, as in most parent-child teaching and learning, to talk and teach when things are emotionally neutral or better yet positive. This increases the likelihood of follow-through and cooperation when it most counts.

Teaching and learning in the heat of discipline and negative consequencing too much, unconsciously links or associates what you talk and teach about to the negative emotions of being punished.

Kids will often avoid applying such advice in the same way they avoid negative consequences from their parents. The opposite is also true from a positive behavioral parenting perspective.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

Thank you for the replies and all the good advice. Believe me they were not aloud to be in the room alone and they knew that. There was a group of kids all playing basketball outside while I was doing laundry. How they got in the room without being seen I still don't know. I am a lot more vigilant now that's for sure!
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

This is not the world we grew up in , guys. A kid saying he or she has a girlfriend is cute to us, but it means something different to them than it did to us at their age.

I know your son is 11; I have 2 boys- 10 and 14. The 14 yo wants to date; I am not comfortable with a full-fledged, drop them off and leave date until he is older. At HIS age, I would be ok with a movie at the theatre, if I was sitting 4 rows back in the same room. I would not be letting them leave together to go get popcorn either.

I'm a public school teacher, and a collegue was riding the activity bus for the co-ed swim team last spring. She said the kids in the back were entertaining themselves by doing each other "favors" (actually, the girls were performing favors for the boys orally...) Yeah, it's sickening, especially if you are parenting a teen these days. But let me be clear: this is not about my school system or our area. If you do some research, you will find that teens AND pre-teens are not only doing this, they don't even consider it having sex, or being intimate. It's purely entertainment.

You need to talk to your kids, and put it out there that X is okay, but Y is not, and Z will get you grounded until you're 65. Tell them about HIV, peer pressure, drugs, all of it. THey don't want to hear it from us, but they need to. I started a composition book that I write in and put under my son's pillow. I write him a fact the peaks his curiosity that I got out of some PSA brochure (ex:did you know that most people who get HIV now are straight?) and if he has questions that he is too embarassed to ask me directly, he can write back, and I will elaborate. It's easier and less awkward sometimes, and he has become more open about actually talking about things directly when he has a question.

But 11? He needs to be learning how to tie knots in scouts. He has all his adult life to cuddle with women. Keep him young as long as you can.

Now that you have given him this freedom, though, it may be hard to pull in the reigns. I would ask him directly what they have done together. If it's beyond a quick kiss, I'd say he needs other hobbies, and you're going to have to be the one to provide the alternatives. WII is more appropriate for 11. Not grand theft auto (I know kindergardeners who are allowed to play this..) Karate class. Anything designed for kids, that will get him moving and tire him out or get him interested in something besides girls. You can invite her to go on some things with you (supervised) so they don't feel you're just trying to keep them apart. But the emphasis on sex in our culture is just over the top, and too much for our kids to handle unless we step in. I hope this has helped.

Last edited by uhaul4mybaggage; 06-29-2011 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

Ps: I agree with Duddy and Turnera completely. Scratch what I said about threats of grounding them. Their advice is much more solid; mine was knee-jerk throwback from my own childhood. I have to watch that!!
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

Hah. I was sitting 4 rows back when my daughter was 16! And she accepted it - as kids do, when you give them rules logically and lovingly - and had no issue. The more attention you pay your kids, the better they turn out.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

I can only you that when I was 11 I would have exploited that to whatever advantage I could. Children don't have to understand sex to do it.
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Whats appropriate for 11 year olds?

I have never understood why parents encourage their young kids to have boyfriends and girlfriends before high school (or at all, for that reason).

This girl is in 5th grade. She should be hanging out with girl friends, not one boy. It makes me wonder if this little girl, who ended up in bed with your son, has been sexually abused.

I would encourage your son to focus on his relationships with his male friends. I have two sons and they didn't really get involved with girls until around 16. They much preferred to have fun with their buddies than to follow girls around like a puppy dog.

Your son is young and you have a lot of control over what he can and can't do. Exclusive dating at 11 is just a bad, bad idea.
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