We have friends that have a 10 year old daughter that I can only describe as "boy crazy." This is not new.... she has been for many years. She talks endlessly about boys, does her hair and makeup for boys and dresses for boys. She has already had numerous "boy friends" and is allowed to go alone to the movies, go to dances and spend all hours on the phone with her boy friend. Ultimately, the way other people raise their children is other people's affairs.
The challenge though is that we also have an 11 year old daughter in the same grade, and our families spend much time together. When we go to visit, the girls will go to her room and come back out dressed most innapropriately and want to do things like "do a play about dating a boy" or do a cheerleeding skit "about boys." I have overheard this little girl scheming with my daughter (my daughter always confides with us after anyways) "to tell your parents this and that so that we can sneek down the street and hang out with the boys." Tonight my daughter was asked by this little girl to join her at a dance at the community centre because, "there will be lots of boys there."
I am not a conservative prude and really am not one of those dad's that looks only at other people's kids at the oversight of their own... yet this really is not my daughter at other times.... gawd she still regularly plays with Barbie dolls. I am not trying to resist the inevitable... we just feel that there is time forr that later and encourage her to enjoy being a young girl.
Though I would never challenege my friends on how they raise their children... I will speak up on how we will raise our own. I have told my girls (when they come out of this friend's bedroom in halter tops and short skirts) that "this is not age appropriate and not the way I would like my young daughterss to dress" and ask them to please go change. I will tell my daughter that I feel that 11 years old is still too young to be going to a public night time dance and that we will be more open to the idea when she is a bit older. I will allow my daughter to go to the movie with boys, but I expect there to be other children there and for now there should be at least one adult going with them.
The problem though is that our friends perceive our hesitations as a challenge to their parenting style and that we are too restrictive. They feel that their daughter would not be going to the dance alone if we would let our daughter go (we asked our daughter she is not interested in going). Are we old fashioned? Are we missing something. This really is not a morality issue for us, as much as it is about letting her simply be 11 while she can still be 11. Have other parents hit this??