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Sex and Sexuality:
“Should I be upset that my 13 year old kissed her boyfriend?”

Dear Annie,

I have a 13 year old daughter and her boyfriend is 12. They met at church. He goes out to eat with us sometimes and they hold hands. He also told me they kissed. Should I be upset? I do supervise when they are together but I also try to give them a little space. I told him I didn't think they needed to be kissing.

What should I do?

Confused Parent

Dear Confused Parent,

I'm not sure why you are asking me "Should I be upset?" when the boy tells you that he and your daughter have kissed (and will, undoubtedly continue kissing, etc. unless you take a leadership role). Either you are upset or you're not. It sounds like you actually are feeling upset otherwise you wouldn't have bothered to write to me.

You're diluting your message by being so ambiguous. "I told him I didn't think they needed to be kissing." That doesn't sound like a very direct message from an adult to a child. If you mean "no kissing" then say "no kissing." And be ready to enforce the rule with your supervision. Instead what you offered is your rather vague opinion: "I don't think you NEED to be kissing." I can just imagine how a 12 year old interprets that: "Well, lady maybe YOU don't think we NEED to be kissing, but we want to, so there!"

One more question: Why are you even negotiating with this 12 year old boy about what your expectations are for his behavior? You're not his mom. You ought to be talking to your daughter. And you ought to be very clear with her about your expectations for her behavior. That includes letting her know in advance what disciplinary actions you will take if she chooses to ignore your rules.

Church or no church, your daughter and her boyfriend need to be supervised by you.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

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