What I Told My 10-Year-Old about Dating, Kissing, and Young Romance

By: Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner

Only you know, for sure, when the right time will present itself to have “the talk” with your kids. But, chances are, if you’re the parent of a tween, your kid may already be experiencing romantic drama in his or her own world. Did you know that one out of six 8 -11 year olds sees other students “kissing or making out” and 45% want more information on how to know when they are ready for a boyfriend or girlfriend1? Here’s what I told my 10-year-old daughter about kissing, romance, and “dating” >

“Mom, Teagan and Royce kissed on the lips behind a tree on the playground today.”
A few months ago my 10-year-old daughter reported this to me as I tucked her into bed. I heard the angst behind the simple statement and noticed her furrowed brow. And although I was tired, and wanted nothing more than to curl up with a good book under my own blankets, I scooted her over and crawled into bed with her.

“Hmmm….tell me more,” I probed a little deeper.

Cue the flood gates: Jack likes Julia; Colton and Maggie are going together; Judy once kissed Jake in the hall for 10 seconds; Simon says my daughter would be perfect for Marcus (I didn’t ask perfect for what), and so on and so forth. Oh, and also Olivia sometimes gets love letters from a mystery boy, but a fair number of people think she’s writes them herself—to get attention, they suppose.

It turns out there is A LOT of fourth grade drama in her world. And judging by the statistics above, she’s not alone.

Among her closest friends are four boys and one other girl. People outside this group have started teasing her, she says, about how much she and Corey like each other. She thinks he’s funny and nice and wonders if she might actually “like-like” him. But mostly right now she wishes people would leave her alone about it.

I listened more than I talked that night, a practice I generally find to be among the best, but did offer her three bits of wisdom gleaned from my own years of drama, friendship, parenting, and youth work:

1. If you feel uncomfortable about something you see or something someone tells you, it’s always a good idea to talk to an adult you trust (together we decided to report the playground kissing, without naming names, to the principal).

2. Ten is not at all too young to have romantic feelings for someone, but it is very young to have exclusive relationships that leave out other friends.

3. Physical touch is an important way we express our close feelings for others. Things like holding hands, sitting close together, and hugging are all ways we can show and feel love and caring and trust. And these things feel good. Some touch is much more personal and therefore makes our feelings about it more complicated and confusing. It’s important that we save these most personal kinds of touch, like kissing, for people we trust and love very much.

So, knowing the statistics you now know about young people and relationships and physical expressions of love, what do you think of my advice to my daughter? Would you have approached the conversation differently?

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1. The Nickelodeon / Talking with Kids National Survey of Parents and Kids is a nationally representative survey of parents and their children age 8-15. The survey was designed by staff at Nickelodeon, the Kaiser Family Foundation and International Communications Research (ICR).

2. Image via www.courtneycarmody.com on Flick’r.

Hi I’m 11 I do not have a bf, but a stupid kid kissed me so I slapped him and I got in trouble. Seriously why MEEE!

5

I have this crush and I really like him and he likes me back but
He won’t atmit it.he likes me because u can tell
Because he told my best friend

I’m 10 years old and I think kids my age should date. I have had a boyfriend for a while and I think dating is just an easier way for kids to express there feeling about eachother. It’s not like there gonna sleep together. They just hang out. Go to movies or out to dinner usually with an adult and have a good time. Sometimes it can also make people feel less lonly in life. Also they might kiss but they aren’t like seeing eachother in the shower. There just great friends. I hope u take my advise. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

5

I am 9 going on 10 and I REALLY LIKE this guy in my class I know he likes me because he is like hey nice outfit and then laughs at what I say and asks to play outside with me at recess he sots by me at lunch. WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO should I tell him how I feel!!?

3

Hi i am 12 nearly 13 and i really like a girl and she really likes me but were unsure on wether dating together is ok or not. Please give me some tips!!!!!!!!!!! :) thanx

5

Awesome

Hi,i’m 10 years old and i have a crush i think he likes me and i think he might still have a girlfriend i have been wondering what to do for a while now i just want to know if he likes me or not

4

Hi i am 12 years old and I have been in a relationship for about 2 months now and I think your approach was good. Also I think that people should be allowed to date at any age, not allowing someone to date is not allowing them to express their feelings toward someone. It’s natural for people to have feelings towards people, and I understand why people don’t allow their children to date but allowing them to date will help them machete In many different ways.

10 year old cant find a boyfriend.

Ilike this boy but am not sure if he likes me

5

hi, i am 9 years old and i have been interested in these questions for a long time. a girl has been pressuring me to have sex with her, but im scared. she says all her classmates do it and its not a big deal. i would love some advice?????!!

5

hello, I am 11 and have been in a healthy relationship for several months now and I think it is a very healthy thing to be discussing this subject with your child at this age

I love this site

4

I am falling HARD for a girl she’s mine, but what do I get her for valentines day (want to be romantic);)

3

I’m eleven and have a girlfriend,

I don't think that there is a right time, and you did the right thing to be on top of it. I think you are right to say that it is important to have a parent around that kids can trust. I work at a school and you can tell the kids with a strong parent at home.
3

I am in 5th grade but ten and my first kiss was at preschool and after that we kissed each other like every day. Now i have a second girlfriend and where always “axidently bumping into each other at movies and also literally bumping into each other physically on purpus “. And are teachers are allowed to say s***, c***, piss they are aloud to say nonsexual curse words so ya. 5th grade rules

5

I am actually in 4th grade and I was looking for “love advise” and I was surprised to hear that there was kissing going on at her school because in my class I have seen boys and girls look at each other but I have not heard about any kissing or dating.I liked your entry most because people usually think of 4th graders less mature then they really are,but you got them just right.Also i need advice.How do you tell a boy you like him?

I think ten is a wee bit young, about 12 is ok, I know a lot people in my school about 12 that have boyfriends and only one of them has kissed.

5

I think ten is fine to start all that. When I was ten I would date.. I’m 14 now but when I was ten i was allowed to Have a boyfriend and go on dates.! As long as there was an adult watching us from a distance . Well in other words I’m saying I find it OK to date and kiss at 10

Yeah.Ten year olds are OK to me because I kissed my boyfriend Zachary once.When I was 9 though.I kind of like him cause he’s cute and funny.And we went on a “ date “ to the Zoo during P1 and Mdm Tan paired me and Zachary up. I was kind of you know like angry because I wanted to pair up with Kennice but Mdm Tan said no.I was shocked when Zachary kissed me on the bus when no one was looking.So the answer is :I do not know.

i think that she shouldnt be kissing at that age but i think that going together is really just being really good friends and they are just exeptionally nice to eachother. No problem. i also think that you should just let those kids be themselves. Also if they r doing all that stuff at 10 years old then they should find out what actually happens

it helped my son alot i talk to him and he told me ever thing

4

Lord, please tell us the right things to say to our kids.

5
Well, it sounds like you handled that great! I think that there is a lot more going on in the 4th grade than what people really realize. In fact, parent would be shocked at some of the stories that my 4th grade teacher tells me.

 

 

If only holding hands and hugging were the only things that 4th grade students were doing in gran scala but nobody really pays attention.
5

Open communication with your child about what goes on at school and in their world is the key to raising a responsible, caring teen. Listening, without judegment is also very important. Bedtime is a great opportunity to have these moments of conversation. I remember when my son was in the sixth grade, he would talk about what was happening at school if I rubbed his back. When I stopped, he stopped talking. Girls seem to want to talk more, or my did. If a reader has a child in the age range of 3 to 9, he/she might want to check out the Kelly Bear Feelings and Behavior books. They are on Amazon, and provide the words to say that encourage open communicaiton and bonding between an adult and child. Thus, the foundation is laid for many future “talks.”

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