Friends with benefits??
Doc Mike- I had the pleasure of hearing you speak in Nashville this fall and have visited this forum often but have never posted until now. After your lecture, I was able to speak to you briefly and mentioned my 8th grade daughter who was "going out" with a sixth grade boy. That continued until about a month ago when my daughter's school, which is an acdemic magnet school, had a dance. The 6th graders have their dance in the afternoon and then the 7th and 8th graders return for an evening dance. So, the 6th grade boyfriend could not attend the 8th grade dance. My daughter went "as friends" with a boy her age. The next week she "broke up" with the younger boy and the older boy asked her out. A week later she decided she still liked the younger boy and she broke up with the older boy. He was furious and wrote her a very nasty letter, calling her a "slut" and other terrible things. She showed me this letter. Recently her friends have given her a hard time about liking the younger boy and she decided that she did not want to "go out" with anyone. So, she broke up with the younger boyfriend (confused yet? I am!) Long story short, the older boy, whom she claims is just a friend, calls her every night and they talk for at least an hour. One night I went into her room to ask her to end the call as it was getting late. I found her talking to him while under the covers in her bed. So, the next day, I did the unspeakable, and looked in her journal (which she has out in the open on her nightstand!) and read that they were considering being "friends with benefits" I know what this is from other readings, but was alarmed to see it written in her journal. She also wrote that she loves talking with him because they can talk about things they do not talk about with anyone else - such as orgasms!! Oh my gosh- this is my sweet and very smart 13 (to be 14 in March) daughter. Now she wants to have a new year's eve party and have a chaperoned sleepover - this boy included. I have pretty much decided no to that - but should I over react to the friends with benefits comment. They have not been alone unsupervised yet but I am concerned what she might be learning from these phone conversations. I have talked to her about sex and dating from my perspective but she is very sensitive about the boy issue. Advice please! Thank you so much!
You need to have on-going discussions with this girl about the nature of sex for boys versus girls. Better yet, if there is a Dad in the picture, he should have this talk. She is falling into the epidemic trap of girls attempting to function sexually as boys. These girls tend to have much higher rates of depression, anxiety and even suicide. View her potential sexual acting-out as if it were drug use---this stuff can kill her.
In the interim, you need to let her know that she is simply too young to be so involved with boys of any age. She needs you to step in with dispassionate but firm limits to protect her. By the way, do NOT get talked into co-ed sleepovers. No, they are not the harmless gatherings that kids describe to their parents.
Dr. Mike Bradley
Thank you for the advice. I am divorced from my kids dad and we are both remarried. We have a very good relationship but I feel sometimes my daughter wants to go over to her dad's house just to get some privacy from me (ah, that mother-daughter thing). She wants to have this party at her dad's house. At the moment we have both said no - I will take your advice and have her dad talk to her about the dating issues. Thanks again for your help.