For the past decade, I’ve wondered when it would happen.
I’ve watched my sweet baby girl, my first-born child, grow and develop right in front of my very eyes.
That sweet scrunchy nose that she modeled in every smiley-faced picture for years gradually evolved into a perfectly picturesque young woman.
We haven’t allowed her to have a phone, we pick her up from school everyday and she still covers her eyes when she sees me and her daddy kiss.
Yet it still happened.
As she climbed into the front seat of the car next to me last week (oh, and did I mention I’m still getting used to that milestone? I still can’t believe I have kids old enough that they don’t need car seats!), she looked worried. I thought she might still be fretting over not making the basketball team, a milestone that took a week to get over after countless days of convincing her it was worth trying out for the team in the first place.
But that wasn’t it.
When I pressed her a little further, she quietly whispered, “I’ll tell you later…not with him in the car, ” motioning ever so slightly to her younger brother seated behind her.
*That may have been the longest seven minute drive home from school ever*
Once safely inside and settled in from our afternoon routine, I crept up to my daughter’s room and discretely closed the door so my son wouldn’t be tempted to peek through the crack – as only little brothers can do. I sat on her bed and waited for my sixth grader to drop a bomb on me.
“A boy asked me out…and it wasn’t a dare.”
I managed to stay quiet and keep my face fixated on a steady smile, though internally I found myself ranging somewhere between laughter and outrage.
My baby? On a date? Someone’s girlfriend? Not under my watch!
Instead, I uttered a simple, “Ok, so what do you think about that?”
She went on to tell me that he handed her a note asking if she would go out with him and then, in a plot twist right out of Hollywood, she proceeded to hand me the note and confess she’s kind of liked him since the beginning of school too.
All I could think of to say was, “This is a good problem to have!”
Her face looked as shocked as I felt on the inside.
“Really mom?” she questioned me.
I had to take a quick second to think if I really did mean what I was about to say.
I shared with her that really, this was the best of all scenarios. After all, it’s flattering to be asked out – especially by someone you like – and to ultimately be in control of the process.
Luckily, she asked me to continue explaining what I meant…
“What is the purpose of dating someone?” I asked, praying she remembered all the times we’ve subtly tried to drill this in our children’s heads.
“To find out whether you want to marry someone,” she correctly replied.
“Exactly. Are you ready to get married?”
“Then I’m going to tell you exactly what I told daddy the moment I knew we wanted to marry each other, but knew we didn’t know each other well enough yet: Let’s work on our friendship….and we were over twice your age!”
“I know I’m not ready for a boyfriend, and I know you and dad wouldn’t let me go out anyway, but I don’t know what to write back to him.”
I then went on to share with her the three things I would say:
* Express some form of gratitude
* Ask exactly what he meant by “going out”
* Share that you’d like to get to know each other better as friends
I know, I know: no 11 year old would say that. But it showed her a basic pattern that she could turn into her own version of those three sentences.
But you know what amazed me more? Her response to me.
After about fifteen minutes together, she looked at me earnestly and said, “Wow mom, I thought you would freak out.”
Her anxiety melted away and I found my confident daughter return.
In truth, she was as worried about my response as she was about how she would respond to the bold young man seeking her heart (or at least a date to the school dance).
I scored some major mom points in that moment, not because of what I did, but because of what I DIDN’T DO.
I didn’t freak out, I didn’t over-react and I didn’t over-quote scripture to her.
I listened, I hugged and I listened some more.
And while this might just be the first of many of these situations we’ll be dealing with over the next decade or so, I pray that I’ll be known more for what I DON’T DO than for what I COULD DO in the situation.
So whether or not you’ve experienced this coming of age moment as a parent or are still praying your kids don’t notice the other sex until they’re 30, think about what your kids DON’T need from you before you stress yourself out trying to figure out what you THINK they need to hear.
And should you find yourself wanting a little more concrete advice when it comes to parenting your teen and tween girls, I highly recommend 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know by Kari Kampakis.
Teen girls deal daily with cliques, bullying, rejection, and social media fiascos. Kari wants girls to know that they don’t have to compromise their integrity or their future to find love, acceptance, and security. Her 10 truths include:
* Kindness is more important than popularity.
* People peak at different times of life. Trust God’s plan for you.
* Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Otherwise, you’ll never stick to your guns.
* Today’s choices set the stage for your reputation.
* You were born to fly.
This nonfiction book for teen & tween girls expands on these 10 truths and can reach the hearts of both mothers and daughters. You can purchase a copy on Amazon.com or enter to win a copy of your own below.
Whether you decide to enter the giveaway or simply stick with my stellar advice, I wish you the best of luck as we navigate this new parenting road together!
This post, “What not to do when your daughter gets asked out for the first time”, is part of a monthly series of posts I write as a Tommy Nelson Mommy. It’s my privilege to be a part of this amazing group of women and bloggers committed to helping raise faithful kids and I hope you too find great comfort and knowledge in their writing, as well as in the resources from Tommy Nelson. If you purchase the book mentioned above through the Amazon.com link, know that you are clicking on an affiliate link and I will make a 6% commission on the purchase at NO additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog in that way!