Friday, January 25, 2013

Pre-Teen Crush Has Widowed Dad Worried

Dear Tazi:

My 12-year-old daughter appears to have a crush on my  neighbor's 14-year-old son. The boy does not appear to be doing anything to encourage her crush, but I have not seen him discourage it either. For example, last week he was oiling his bike chain when my daughter caught site of him. She immediately grabbed her bike (which she hasn't ridden in months) and asked him if he could oil her chain, too. He obliged her, but refused her invitation to go on a bike ride. I am not certain if he was just being polite in oiling her chain, or welcoming her advances but then shying away when he remembered how young she is. At 14, he is simply too old for my daughter.

My wife died a few years ago, otherwise I would ask her to have a talk with our daughter about appropriate behavior around boys. I plan on asking one of her aunts to talk to her (she is particularly close to my wife's sister), but in the meantime I am wondering if I should have a talk with my neighbor's son about my daughter's crush and let him know that I do not consider her an appropriate choice of girlfriend for him, due to the age difference between them. Overall, he is a nice boy, but I was a teenage boy once myself and I know how teenage boys think! On the other hand, I know that girls nowadays can be the aggressors when it comes to things like this. Should I talk to the boy? My daughter? Both of them? Or simply keep an eye on the situation and let his parents handle him and my sister-in-law deal with my daughter?

Protective Dad

Dear Protective Dad:

I have yet to meet any other kind of Dad, so I think it is safe to say that it is natural for you to feel protective of your daughter. I am impressed that you are not shoving your head in the sand and ignoring the fact that your daughter may grow into a sexually aggressive teenager, but rather are willing to face the fact that someone is going to have to talk to your daughter about what is expected of her now that she is growing up.

At twelve years old, I doubt your fourteen year old neighbor sees your daughter as anything more than a cute little kid who happens to live next door to him. If he is not inviting her along on a bike ride with him, and is in fact turning down her invitations to join her on a bike ride, I do not think you have to worry about this young man making advances towards your daughter (at least not for another few years, and probably longer. As the "girl next door", he may think of your daughter like he would a little sister).

If I were you, I would not talk to this boy; it will only lead to embarrassment - for him, regardless of his interest in your daughter (romantic or otherwise), and for your daughter, who will probably claim that she is going to "just die" over the fact that her crush now knows she likes him. (Girls can be weird like that - they like a boy, but don't want him to know in case he does not like her, so please spare your daughter such embarrassment).

If you are comfortable doing so, talk to your daughter about her increased interest in the boy next door. Tell her that you have noticed it, and leave it at that. If she wants to talk about him, you can elaborate on your thoughts, explaining that you think he is a fine boy but a little too old for her at this point in her life. If you are not comfortable talking to your daughter on the subject of boys, I suggest you call your sister-in-law and have her set up a Girls' Day with your daughter, letting her know what subjects need to be broached during the course of conversation.

It can be difficult for a young girl to lose her mother, so I am happy to see that she still has a strong female influence in her life - she is entering a time when she will need one more than ever; the teenage years are not easy ones for anyone to navigate, not even a teenager.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

No comments:

Post a Comment