"Mom ... I have a boyfriend".
Where do I even begin?
Instincts would have me say, "Nooooo, don't do it!! Runnnnn!! LOL
But I didn't. Instead, I went very shrink-like "Okay, so how do you feel about that?"
For as long as I can remember, I have always believed that communication is very important in every relationship. My biggest fear has always been finding our only child lying to us or not being to talk to each other. I've always said that I would rather give her the freedom she craves (within reason of course) and know where she is at all times. A relationship based on trust is what I have worked on all these years.
Now that I had basically talked the talk, it was time to walk the walk.
"I'm happy Mom. I like him and he likes me. We talk during our free time at school and play tag."
Oh ok, I thought to myself. It's not that bad.
Next step would be informing her father, which she was a bit more reluctant with and of course charged me with that mission. Well, actually, she didn't want me to say anything for a few days. But that wasn't going to work.
"So basically, you're asking me to lie to your father, my husband for a couple of days? So now that YOU have a boyfriend, you want ME to lose my husband? I said jokingly.
She laughed. "Of course not Mom! You're so silly. We'll tell him when he comes home, just carefully."
I have to say I understood her because when her father found out, he asked her to write a 200-word essay on why she thinks she's ready to be in a relationship. Yes, that's right - I am so not joking! Gosh, I wish someone had been there to take pictures of our faces and how low our jaw dropped.
But she obligingly did her assignment, which she took with much fun and seriousness. It was actually nice because she was able to put down in words what a relationship is, what her relationship was like, and what a boyfriend means.
Is having a boyfriend / girlfriend at 12 years old a bad thing?
Right age or not is quite irrelevant. It's a fact. No matter what we do we must accept that our kids develop a mixture of feelings and hormones and learn to work with it. Trying to prevent it or deny it is an impossible task. It's time to have those talks most parents dread. And then become available for questions and concerns.The body may be starting puberty but the mind and heart simply isn't prepared. Our daughter needs me to be non-judgmental and feel comfortable talking to me about anything.
What does a relationship look like at 12 years old?
Well, in our daughter's case, it seems that they like to spend time and hang out during their break at school. The boy's mom is strict about the use of his phone at home, so they don't really communicate outside of school. That's not so bad, I think. They eat lunch together. They don't hold hands, but yeah, they have hugged. But it doesn't come naturally, it's more experimental.
"Whew, of course not Mom!"
We'll see about that.