I've written here about my leaving the church for a boy, about my talking to the twins about sex, and about a million other things in between. So I thought I'd pop in to also share my recent thoughts on fourth grade dating.
From the time the twins were born, I had planned on letting them date when they turned sixteen, which was how Josh was raised. He was not allowed to have girlfriends until then. That was my plan. Then the twins started the fourth grade and I was constantly hearing talk of girlfriends and boyfriends and crushes and heartbreak among all the 8 & 9 year olds and I started to have a feeling that my stance on dating was not right.
I don't know why I felt that way. I don't know why it wasn't right, but I knew that my rule wasn't how I really felt, it was what I thought was the right answer. It's not what I really wanted for my kids. So I had a heart to heart with Josh, telling him that I wanted to let our boys date now and have open communication with us about it, as opposed to saving it for later or having them hide it. He agreed that that seemed like the right thing for our family and we told the boys.
Since then, the twins have each had a couple of girlfriends and different crushes, and both have individually confided in me about handholding, which I would have missed out on if I had forbidden them. We have even had one situation where one twin wanted to date a girl that the other brother *adored* and we let it ride knowing the boys would figure it out. Sure enough, they did, and Josh and I discussed how grateful we were that they are figuring this out now, so that at sixteen, when there is so much more on the line, these are waters they've already navigated together.
Them being twins muddies the waters in so many ways. Dating, birthday parties, playdates... And the struggle is, I don't always know what the answer is. Do I forbid them from hurting each other? From dating someone their brother likes? Do I call parents and request that the uninvited twin be invited to a party? Do I force the twin who invited a friend over to let their brother play with their friend? Some answers are obvious (only the twin whose name is on the invite gets to go to the birthday party) but other things (like playdates at our house) are less obvious. So a lot of it, I'm making up as I go along.
But this dating thing is something I feel really good about. I am happy to be walking our boys through all this slowly, naturally, as it happens, and without shame. I will admit that I am probably overthinking it, because I had so many restrictions placed on me by my church when it came to dating relationships when I was a young woman, but I want to approach this part of parenting very thoughtfully. So I'm okay with that.
This morning on the drive to school I was talking to Jack about a girl that he was dating, but is no longer dating but he said that they were still friends. I told him that was good because the cool thing about friends is you don't have to break up. He said, "Well, that's not exactly true, mom." I asked what he meant and he said matter of factly, "You kind of break up... if you end up on my "Dead To Me" list." Then he burst out laughing.
These kids keep me on my toes, that's for sure.