This weekend our 8th grade son posted a picture on Instagram with his arm around a girl who I do not know. Oh, YAY! <<insert mom eye roll here>> See being a mom of both a girl and boys I know how things work, I’m no dumby, although I live with four people who think I am. And this is why you need to keep your middle school daughter away from my son. Or shall I say sons…
With a daughter in middle school I didn’t worry about boys. Nope, I worried about other girls. You know mean girls. That’s what middle school is all about right?
So as our sons started moving through middle school I noticed this weird trend. Moms think that boys are the enemy. But here’s the thing, there are no enemies just boys and girls who need to learn how to commune together. While these boys are starting to grow as in their bodies and what they can do, well, they are still socially on the same level as a 4th grader, and listen, I am being generous here.
Now on the other hand our daughters are like 15 years past that point by the time they get to 6th grade. They are all ready to settle down and play boyfriend, girlfriend. Sorry to say that while girls are getting the attention of boys I think you will be hard pressed to find a boy age 11-14 that is ready for that kind of commitment. Seriously they barely make it 3 days. And that’s when the boy becomes the enemy. Because these girls are all in. It’s October here and these girls are planning what they are wearing to a semi-formal dance in May. Meanwhile I am driving boys around who’s greatest gift at the moment is the fake sneeze he can make.
My son sleeps with his blankie.
Not going to sugar coat it. Both of our middle school, football playing, mud caked into their clothes boys sleep with their baby blankets. While the girls are taking a bubble bath and trying to figure out what to wear tomorrow I have told my boys roughly 5 times to brush their teeth and they have fought for 15 minutes over who will take a shower first. I can say these things because I have lived it with these four kids. There is a HUGE difference between girls and boys in middle school. Not that these boys aren’t smart…quite the opposite. They are crazy intelligent and focused on school work and things they are passionate about. They love to read, some love math, some love social studies…but they aren’t ready for your daughter.
So please keep your middle school daughter away from my son for no other reason than he does not have one idea on how to handle your daughter’s emotional needs. My oldest middle school son has the most insane text messages from girls on his phone. Like he’s that new ‘text a therapist’ app. This kid is clueless and when I read his responses I cringe because someone’s baby girl is asking my son these questions. Or just sharing some pretty intense stuff. Now on rare occasion I’ll be like, “well done, that’s my boy!” But yeah that’s not very often. He has girls asking him about other boys, telling him they wouldn’t be here without his friendship and asking if they are attractive. That is a whole lot to put on a 14 year old kid. And he can be easily lured into something that he really doesn’t want to do because honestly, he genuinely cares for your daughter.
Our daughters need emotional support in middle school more than anything else. I am also acutely aware that this doesn’t pertain to every girl or every boy or parent of middle school kids – but it pertains to our family and we have seen it time and again with our three boys.
So back to that whole mean girl thing. Let’s face it ladies, sometimes it’s hard getting along with other women. But we need to rise to the occasion and help our daughters emotionally get through these years in the healthiest way possible. I learned super early on to be a listener and not a ‘jump on the band wagon’ mom because guess what? That girl that was just mean to your daughter and your just verbally tore apart will be your daughter’s best friend by next Wednesday. So zip it and listen. Read between the lines. What they are looking for is to fill some type of emotional component that they feel is missing in their lives. Sometimes it comparison, sometimes its loneliness, sometimes is just filling that void that Jesus is supposed to fill. Let’s equip them with what they need. They need something else besides a boy that can fake a sneeze sounding like an allergy sufferer in mid April.
They need to hear all the things they need to hear, from you.
Use God’s words if you are lacking for some. Tell her she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Share with her that she is made in God’s image and is perfect the way she is. Teach her to be healthy- mentally, physically and spiritually. Do it together. Teach her how to be friends with boys. Do not tell her that my son or his friends are yucky or bad or the enemy (although yes, I will admit they are yucky sometimes) and tell they aren’t who will solve any of her problems. The whole purpose of dating is to find a spouse. I will assume that is not what a girl in middle school is looking for. So teach her how to have a relationship with a boy that is not focused on dating or physical appearance or what sport he plays. Teach her how to have a conversation and how to work side by side with a boy. Have her be a part of something bigger, and to find a purpose and a passion for Christ and community. Spend as much uninterrupted time with her as possible.
And while I completely understand the whole ‘boys are only thinking about one thing’ deal – I can tell you that they may think less about it if girls weren’t trying to lure them into somethings by being so transparent and emotionally down and out. I had a mom lean across a table once when I said one of our daughter’s best friends was a boy…her eyes got big, she leaned in and said, “you let her be friends with a boy?” Ummm, yes I do. Because in life she will have to work with men, she will have to go to school with boys and she needs to know that their purpose is not to fulfill her. Jesus is.
So until my boys stop sleeping with their blankies please keep your middle school daughter away from them. They are gullible, and sensitive and kind. And they play hide and seek after school and football in the park until dark with the boys from the neighborhood. Your daughter wants to know why he doesn’t respond to her messages fast enough…please tell her it’s because he’s making noises like snot is flying across my back seat, skateboarding to the park and buying junk food at the dollar store with his guy friends after school.
And tell her he thinks she’s pretty awesome, but he really isn’t ready for her yet.
Oh my gosh, again you have blown my mind!! I love your posts, so real and down to earth… And while I don’t have any kids I DO have a middle school aged Nephew and I can tell you he is in no way shape or form ready to be emotionally attached to a girl.
You’re the sweetest Melissa, Thank YOU!
Yes! Thank you! (from a fellow #boymom)
Always our pleasure to share our stories 🙂 Thank YOU for reading it!
Emily Susanne says
This post needs to go viral! As a youth leader, I have seen this way too many times. Girls hit puberty earlier than boys, and they tend to mature faster emotionally as well (although all kids are different). And in this culture with social media and peer pressure, girls and boys are growing up WAY too fast. I played Barbies until highschool. Now kids are sexting in elementary school. And it’s happening to Christian kids too, who are even more vulnerable when their parents ignore it.
Thank you Emily! I really appreciate your insight from the youth leader perspective. As Christian parents its hard to navigate, because we have seen so much frustration and anger at times from the boys which we don’t like, but they don’t know what to do with all that emotional stuff. Always thankful for you friend!
THank you for this post! I just had a mom ream me out yesterday because my 10 years old (almost 11-year-old) was being mean to her daughter via text. The mother told me my son doesn’t deserve a girl the way he treats her.
I was taken back because I didn’t know my son even had interest in her…he’s 11?
I’m going to let me husband read this and perhaps send it to her!
It is so difficult to navigate. We have a 14 year old and 11 year old in middle school. Thankfully our 11 year old doesn’t seem to be into any of it yet. But the older one is. I saw a message he sent a girl on his phone I didn’t like, and it wasn’t indicative of his personality. But looking back through I believe he was frustrated and hurt and really didn’t know how to respond. We are having A LOT of conversations here these days. Our 11 year old doesn’t have a phone, but the 14 year old does and turns it in to us each evening, and yep I read through it all. I’m sorry to hear of your situation. As a mom of a daughter as well it’s so easy to jump in and think that a boy is being nasty if we don’t have the full picture.
This is so great! I’m a mental health therapist and I’m having these conversations with both the kids and the parents. All. The. Time. Everything you wrote is so true. And then, add on, that society attempts to teach our daughters that boys are everything negative and you don’t need them. BUT, if you want one, here’s how to get one. I have both a son and a daughter. These conversations are a few years down the road for our family but I know they’re coming!
I loved this post so much. I have 2 sons and 2 daughters and they are night and day! Every parent should read this post if they have kids this age.
This post is so good! Our oldest isn’t in middle school yet, but I can certainly appreciate the wisdom here — and am tucking it away for future reference! 🙂
Love this post and definitely tucking away for when our little guy gets a little older. Thankful for your wisdom and willingness to share! So proud to call you friend and thankful for the good work you do! Keep going!!