11 yo DD and her close friend who is a boy
LadyPenelope · 07/12/2012 08:43
Looking for some wise advice - not even sure what I'm asking, so bear with me please!
DD 11 and just started y7 in Sept at a co-ed secondary school. She has made friends with a boy, also 11 (let's call him John) in the class who she's kind of known for years - they were at primary together but never in same class, and he lives in next street. I am friends but not very close friends with his Mum - we have common friends, and do things together in a group from time to time.
This is new territory for me. Up until now, DD has had girls as friends - friendly with boys at school and friends of younger DS, but never sought out a boy as a close friend. I don't think he is her "boyfriend" or anything - I do think they are just friends. But I also have a small worry in case he is more mature than her and she gets unwittingly led into anything that she is not ready for. Really no reason to think that. I am very happy for them to be friends - They have a lot in common including a joint love of sport - both in a few of school teams and doing athletics and swim training.
In last couple of weeks his name comes up all the time, they email and chat, walked home together this week (she would usually take bus). They just did a cross country race this afternoon after school and she goes straight to a 2 hour sports team training and he has gone along to watch her train.
I'm not sure how to handle this and keep things on the right track. She is a normal 11 year old - not gone through puberty yet, not ever been silly about boys etc. I want her to be able to have this friendship but I want it to be a normal 11 yo friendship and nothing more! I also don't want to overreact - it's great that she is having a normal friendship.
I wouldn't bat an eye if this was a girl - in fact all the things John is doing right now are just the same as her close girlfriends do. So why do I have a sense of worry??? I know there was some talk at school a couple of weeks ago about other friends "going out" - DD couldn't even tell me what it meant! But obviously they are starting to talk that way at school.
What wise advice do you have mumsnetters?? - especially if you have tweens yourself or have dealt with similar. I want to help her have this friendship, plus her girlfriends but also prevent anything happening too fast for her.
cory · 07/12/2012 09:22
Remember that even if it develops into a boyfriend/girlfriend thing it is unlikely to be a sexual relationship at 11. What happens in most cases is a bit of holding hands and perhaps an experimental kiss. It is a normal stage of pre-teen development and usually nothing to worry about. For one thing, very few boys are ready for taking things further at such a young age. So there is often a courting stage that can last many years where boys and girls play at relationships.
Imo the children who go further very young often have parents who see sex in everything iyswim. Don't be one of them.
LadyPenelope · 07/12/2012 09:58
Cory - thanks for the response. It's what I hope it is although even the experimental kiss would beore than I would anticipate right now!
I feel so unprepared - did not see this coming at all!
MuffinPaws · 07/12/2012 10:07
Our dd's best friend is male and initially she was reluctant to tell us but was too full of excitement and enthusiasm for this friendship to keep it secret.
They are good for each other, giving support and encouragement to one another. We trust them both and have had no cause to doubt this trust.
Dd is happy having a best friend although her other close friends are mixed sexes too. Her confidence has improved and she has someone who understands her likes and dislikes or teenage angst.
Their friendship has gone on for more than two years.
LadyPenelope · 07/12/2012 14:06
Miffinpaws, thanks, that's helpful to hear. That's the kind of reassurance I was hoping for.
GreatUncleEddie · 07/12/2012 14:10
It's unikely that the boy is going to mature physically before she does, and if he does you will be able to tell. He is just a child, no less innocent than her. I don't see what there is to worry about, the only thing I would do differently from a girl friend is not let them get into the habit of sleepovers in case that becomes tricky to get out of when they are fourteen.
LadyPenelope · 07/12/2012 14:22
Greatuncleeddie - good point. He doesn't look more than an 11 year old boy and you are right about maturing later.
Sleepover point is good one too ... Will store that thought in case I am asked!
DoubleMum · 10/12/2012 13:45
It's very likely she is much more mature than him. I do understand why you have a niggling worry, but I don't think it's needed.
LadyPenelope · 11/12/2012 06:57
Thanks all - latest development over weekend is that she shared that all the special attention makes her feel a bit uncomfortable. She says she knows he likes her and kids at school are teasing her ( teasing doesn't sound too bad and she seemed OK about it). But she did ask what she should say/do if he "asked her out". She wants things to be normal - just a friend. I suggested she could tell him, that alrhogh she likes him too she doesn't want to go out with him. That they can be friends like they are now.
She nodded and could see she was thinking about it. Told her this was first of many times this will happen in her life and it's important to tell people what she honestly thinks and feels. She can be kind but she must be straight forward too and not feel dragged into something that is not right for her.
Neither of them are mature, street wise 11 year olds, so can't believe we are having these conversations. But guess the films and shows they watch have these themes so think they are trying it out.
Am I on the right track? Don't have people in real life to share this with as they either don't have kids that age, know the family or would worry like mad ( my Mum!)
ZZZenAgain · 11/12/2012 10:42
I think if they go out somewhere at that age (such as ice-skating or to the cinema), they should go out in a little group. I don't have first-hand experience of this yet. My dd is 12, so a bit older. What I might do in your shoes is see to it that the boy can come around to your house fairly often so you can judge for yourself the state of affairs.
I do vaguely remember being 11 and although I was too young for a real boyfriend, I remember boys having a crush on the girls, the girls more on older boys. Some girls did have actual boyfriends, by which I mean they held hands, they talked about "going out" together, were known to be a couple and perhaps they tried kissing. A couple of girls who looked very old for their age and were physically quite developed did have sex at 12 I remember that but they were also looked at askance on the whole. It was not common. I don't know how it is these days but my dd and the dc her age I know all seem very innocent still and I haven't heard of any boyfriend-girlfriend couplings so far.
I think what you have is a boy with a crush on your dd and your dd flattered by it but not ready for more.
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