When your 10-year-old is dating

Kerri Sackville

Author and columnist

“Overheen the past duo of months, boys and women te the [schoolgebouw] have began asking each other ‘out’.” Photo: Getty Pics

A duo of weeks ago I received an email from my daughter’s schoolgebouw, addressed to the parents of all Year Five students.

The email wasgoed entitled ‘A Sensitive Matter’, and tho’ the subject line wasgoed cryptic, I knew exactly what it referred to. My daughter had told mij of a latest talk they’d had at schoolgebouw, and I had bot waiting for the go after up email.

The talk wasn’t on puberty – they’d had that talk the previous year. And it wasn’t on bullying, spil they’ve covered that many times. The talk wasgoed on a far more gentle topic. Dating ter Year Five.

Overheen the past duo of months, boys and chicks ter the year have began asking each other ‘out’. This doesn’t mean actually going anywhere, at Ten and 11 years old, thesis kids are too youthful to go to the movies alone, let alone go out to dinner. It meant being beau and gf, a duo, what wij used to call ‘going round together’ back ter the Dark Ages 80’s when I wasgoed a teenage.

My daughter still talks to mij about everything, so I knew this ‘dating’ wasgoed going on. I felt awkward when she very first told mij about it, I mean, they’re kids for goodness sake. The couples didn’t spend time alone together, so it didn’t seem dangerous ter any way, it just seemed unnecessary at this age, and a little inappropriate.

“I think you’re too youthful to date,” I told my daughter, and she agreed. Until a duo of weeks straks, when she came huis with some news.

“Mathew* asked mij out,” she told mij. Matt is one of hier best friends, an delicioso ten year old with whom she plays Minecraft online.

“Oh,” I said, not at all sure how I felt about my kindje woman having a beau. “What did you say?”

“Well, he’s my indeed good friend anyway, so it’s almost like he’s my beau, so I said yes.”

“Did you, um. smooch him or anything?” I asked.

“Ew, no!” she cried, and skipped off into the other slagroom. She wasgoed blessed, it wasgoed all guiltless joy, and I determined to give hier my bliss.

About a week into their romance – which consisted of Skype messages and games at recess – the entire Year Five were summoned te for a Talk. The schoolgebouw counsellor addressed them about the kwestie of relationships. Best at this stage, she said, not to label relationships spil ‘bf and gf’. Best at this stage, she said, to just be each others’ friends.

A day or two straks, the email arrived.

The schoolgebouw wasgoed worried, it said, about the kids being sexualised too youthful. The schoolgebouw wasgoed worried about the kids feeling pressured into relationships that were too mature for their stage of life. How would they overeenkomst with being rejected, with ending relationships, or with having to hurt another person’s feelings?

I thought very cautiously about the kwestie, and originally, I sided with the schoolgebouw. The kids were too youthful for thesis kleuter of practices. If they were experimenting with ‘going out’ at ten and eleven, how would they be experimenting at twelve or thirteen?

But then I spoke with my daughter. “What happened after the talk?” I asked.

“Well, Katy said that it doesn’t matter what the schoolgebouw says, Jake is still hier beau. And I guess Matt is still my bf, too.”

And I realized, whatever the schoolgebouw thinks, there’s nothing they can do to zekering the kids from dating – or at least, nothing that won’t drive them further into each other’s arms (metaphorically speaking**). And I realised that it didn’t truly bother mij at all.The kids aren’t being sexual. They’re playing, testing out fresh roles, working out how they feel about the world and each other. The surplus will come zometeen, whether they’re permitted to play now or not.

And to be ideally fair, I wish I’d had a bf at that age. Sadly, however, none of the boys I liked everzwijn liked mij back.

I can’t help but feel glad that my daughter doesn’t have the same problem.

*not his actual name

**I bloody well hope

27 comments

Your child’s principal vereiste be a right numpty.

Commenter DisDis Date and time July 09, 2012, 9:20AM

Principals and teachers – of which I am one – have the responsibility of creating a glad, harmonious environment for everyone. Every day, after you druppel your child at schoolgebouw, schoolgebouw staff overeenkomst with dozens of tiffs, ‘fallings out’, name calling, disagreements, and bullying. It would emerge that this ‘dating’ . pairing off, having ‘off the hook’ relationships . would have an effect not just on them, but on the entire class. Its disappointing when parents don’t back the staff. You overeenkomst with one or two children for a duo of hours a day, wij overeenkomst with dozens of children, all different, all deserving attention, all requiring their own special ‘place’ and space. This is not so much a principal being ‘old fashioned’ or frumpy, but simply creating an environment of harmony.

Commenter Miss Teacher Date and time July 09, 2012, 12:45PM

This wasn’t a problem anyone seemed worried about when I wasgoed at schoolgebouw te the 80s. There wasgoed nothing sexual about the boy/gf relationships that wij had spil 10yos and it seems there still isn’t. Why is this all of a sudden an kwestie?

Spil I recall your beau te year Five very likely wouldn’t hold your mitt but might share his pack of chips with you and would give you favourable treatment on the handball court.

Commenter FiSyd Date and time July 09, 2012, 9:33AM

Oh wow! So blessed to read your thoughts on this Kerri. Spil a Mum of much junior children and having friends with children the age you refer to and older I often wonder the ‘best’ way to treat this. For the same reason you have intimated above. If they are experimenting ter this way now, how will they proef spil youthfull teenagers? I think what you are telling is spot on. And I do recall having a ‘beau’ late te Primary Schoolgebouw and yet doing nothing more than holding palms. Smooching cam ter High Schoolgebouw and well, other stuff when I wasgoed well and truly ready (enough said). I am simply worried for the ‘kids’ who do grow up far too quickly and wonder what if anything can be done to slow it down for them?

Commenter Milkncookies Date and time July 09, 2012, 9:36AM

I wasgoed at primary schoolgebouw ter the 90’s and I can reminisce a few chicks having ‘beau’s’ very likely te grade Five and 6. Some of my friends had a beau te Grade 7 too. I had a beau te Grade 8, but it wasn’t anything serious. at all. Wij spoke less after wij were ‘going out’ than before! Don’t leave behind, your daughter might be Ten, but she’s three years from being a tiener. Time flies. Puberty will be at your wegens before you know it. It’s time to set the rules NOW!

Commenter Fernandes Location Brisbane Date and time July 09, 2012, 9:43AM

I recall our Year Five class getting the same talk from our teacher (ter 1992). &quot,All this bf/gf stuff is ridiculous,&quot, I specifically recall. So it’s not fresh, it’s not all of a sudden more sexual thesis days and I’d be astonished that teachers and parents don’t realise this. There wasgoed no physical voeling at all, and no emotional voeling truly either. Like you’ve realised it’s about attempting out fresh roles, and spil long spil it all looks very age adequate I don’t think it’s worth worrying about. The only thing it did to mij at that age wasgoed realise that no one dreamed to go out with mij – and that wasgoed a entire other kwestie.

Commenter Dee Date and time July 09, 2012, Ten:04AM

It wasn’t a problem when I wasgoed growing up – and by that I don’t mean it didn’t toebijten, but there wasn’t the overreaction to it there seems to be now. I had a &quot,beau&quot, for a week ter Grade ONE!! That consisted of letting him smooch mij on the cheek merienda. When it wasgoed overheen I determined boys were better spil just friends and that stuck for years and years until I wasgoed ter Year 9. Letting kids explore different kinds of relationships for themselves is significant and so long spil they aren’t facing unwanted peer pressure or some massive age difference where they might face pressure to do things beyond their age then its all part of figuring out the world.

Commenter andyjay Location Docklands Date and time July 09, 2012, Ten:13AM

Can wij please zekering imposing adult concepts on children? Since when did a schoolyard &quot,crush&quot, morph into &quot,dating&quot,?

Commenter Lynne Location Melbourne Date and time July 09, 2012, 11:00AM

OMG didn’t everyone have beau’s and girlfriends at this age te schoolgebouw. I think its totally común and a child’s way of exploring relationships with the opposite lovemaking.

I think obviously schools should be keeping a close eye on the situation and making sure no inappropriate touching (and by this I do not mean HUGGING – I’m more worried about smooching and touching of, erm, private areas).

By denying children the chance to have &quot,relationships&quot, within thesis formative years would be detrimental to the child.

Commenter Adrian Location Sydney Date and time July 09, 2012, 11:29AM

I agree – it would be detrimental forcing children to hide and or be ashamed or feel guilty about their feelings. I had my very first gf te grade 1!

Commenter marstew Date and time July 09, 2012, Two:18PM

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