What's A Girlfriend Mommy? How Young is too Young to Start Dating?

Last night my son comes up to me and asks me what a girlfriend is? My son is in 1st grade what the heck is he asking me this for?? Well after I had my panic attack...I asked him if he had one and he said no but one of the big girls at lunch asked him if he wanted one...thankfully he said no.

So I talked to my hubby and told him we have to get our ground rules when it comes to dating. We felt it was great to go with how my mom raised my sister and I. We were not allowed to date until we were 16-17 years old. My brother in-laws wife when I mentioned it to her said that is too old to start and it will cause them to feel left out and it will have them act out when they get older.

My sister had a rough road when she was a senior in highschool she had a few boyfriends. My first boyfriend that my didn't know about was when I was 17 and it lasted a week lol.

Yet 1st grade really? When did kids in elementary school have boyfriends and girlfriends? Is it a public school thing? I went to private school until middle school.

So moms I ask when is too young to date? How would you go about explaining girlfriends and boyfriends to your kids?

02
Moms Expertise
    10/23/13
    I don't think I would freak about "dating" at this age.. he literally can't lol He can't go anywhere on his own with her.. or do older dating things anyways. I would explain to him that dating is some girls and boys do when they get older, in HS and college. That until then, girls are his "friends".. but once you get older, like Mom and Dad ages.. you can start dating girls. I see no reason to read into it more than you have to when he is only in 1st grade :)
    2
      10/23/13
      8Theresa Gould
      Well.....according to reports kids are doing more than dating at an early age. Like at 10, 11, 12.....I don't know it would freak me out too because I think it's too young. Then again kids emulate what they see and hear, so it might be safe to assume some are doing just that whether it's real life or what they see on TV and movies.

      We've kind of set the dating age to 18 mostly because we believe dating is the road leading to marriage and we'd never let any of our children get married under 18. Our oldest will be 17 in early 2014 and so far is ok with our decision.
      4
        10/23/13
        I just got my little guy from school and was confronted by the little girls mom and she was wondering if my son had told her about her daughter wanting to be his girlfriend. She was apologizing to me about it, and I was trying to tell her not a problem I was a little worried about it but I he didn't even know what a girlfriend was LOL. She explained that she is a recent divorcee and has started dating again (she is almost in tears at this point) she said since her divorce she has dated several guys and her daughter is seeing this. I didn't know what to tell her. I did give her my phone number in case she wanted to talk during the day when the kids are at school. I was not sure what to tell her but I think I made a friend and it will let the kids be friends (only) lol.
        3
        10/23/13
        8Theresa Gould
        Aww...I teared up for the poor woman and for you being so sweet to welcome her as a new friend. So both you and your son will have new friends. I bet the mom needs a little support. It sounds like it's not easy for her right now, even if she is back in the dating scene.
        3
        10/23/13
        Sounds like your son's question made you step into this woman's life at just the right time. The little things. :)
        3
          10/23/13
          I had 'boyfriends' in elementary school. I can't imagine not dating until 16 or 17. I had completed school and was living with my husband, hundreds of miles away from my family when I was 17. It would be so strange to me to have only begun dating at that point, with everyone around already being very experienced including in how to deal with conflict in relationships, heartbreak, standing up for oneself... etc. Of the very, almost absently few people who didn't start dating until later, in my experience their innocence and trusting nature was often taken advantage of.

          From the people I was around the average 'actual' dating (going to movies alone, etc) seemed to start between 12 and 15, though some parents would still accompany.

          Most people I know though did have (basically pretend) boyfriends and girlfriends in elementary school, and most definitely by middle school, even if it was just in the school setting. I have noticed may people who didn't seem to have harder times with relationships later.

          As for how to explain it... I would just wait until he figures it out. He'd figure it out by socializing and one day he'll feel feelings for a girl... the one he 'like-like's and he'll probably ask you about it. As long as there are strict physical boundaries I don't see much wrong with letting him explore this side of being social when he gets the inclination. Just my two cents.
          1
          10/24/13
          8Theresa Gould
          I didn't date until I was in college. I had one semi-serious relationship that lasted 2-4 months. My husband was my one and only serious relationship and we've been married over 19 years and happily so, but not without bumps in the road. My husband also didn't date in high school, so I think it will be individual as far as when dating starts. Neither of our parents had a dating age set (my parents "met" at age 13 and were married 36 years before my dad passed away).

          I do like Karen's rule and it's one we've already talked about. The guy has to go through my husband to get to our daughters. It's a screening process. If the guy isn't willing to do that we know he isn't serious.
          1
          10/24/13
          19 years, wow! Congrats! I also 'met' my husband very young, 12. It is strange that now we relate to the couples (for example in a tv show) that have been married for many years than the newlyweds.

          I like the idea about screening. I feel like my husband is going to be super protective of any future daughters we may have. I'm just not sure how many guys will pass the screening process! Haha.
          1
          10/24/13
          8Theresa Gould
          I know, I've also wondered how many will actually get through the screening process. I've heard of some dads having questions they have to answer or things the guys have to do. Not sure my husband will do all that but it makes you wonder what a guy is willing to do for a girl he likes.
          1
            10/24/13
            My kids could go on group outings when they were 13-14-15, like to the mall or to movies or parties, as long as there was a parent along to chaperone. I was usually the parent, though, because a lot of parents don't consider this to be "dating". However, I DO remember what it was like when I was young, and girls and boys could still get in trouble even when in a group like that.

            When they were 16, they could start going out on dates. They had to be home by 10:30p.m. unless the event ended later and they had permission in advance. And the rule was, the boy had to come to the door to pick them up, (they were not allowed to just go out the door to get in the car), and they had to introduce their date to their father. That was a big one, because we were divorced, and that meant they had to call their dad and have him come over to the our house for the introduction. That ruled proved to be a good one for us to have, because our daughters had to really think about whether or not they wanted to go out with that guy or not.

            My daughters are now in their late 30's but I would still have these rules today if I had a teen at home. You only get one chance to help your kids be safe in any situation, so it is better to be a little "too" strict and enforce reasonable rules than to give them too much freedom too soon. I don't care what everyone else is doing.

            And, in answer to your question, yes, the "girlfriend, boyfriend" thing starts really early. First grade is often when they start it, but it just means they like someone better than any of the other boys/girls. And it usually only lasts a day or two, and then there is a different one. It is healthy, and nothing to worry about at all.
            3
              10/24/13
              Yea my husband is dreading the day when boys will come knocking for our daughter, I am at the stage where I have so much dread and anxiety about the whole dating thing. I am not sure how I will handle it when it happens I know it is inevitable, but I can wait for that day for sure.

              I spoke with the girls mom, and she is really a nice lady she is just so lost and did not really give herself enough time to recoup from her divorce she started dating again about a month after it was finalized.
              2
              About Celeste Whitehead
              Current: Spring Hill, Florida
              Birth: August 26
              On Moms.com since: Aug 5, 2013
              Stay at home and work at home mom of two loud, crazy, adorable kids that are the center of my entire world. We all live together with the love of my life and the father of my children in sunny Florida with 3 of out four-legged kids.