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Mother Fears Early Sexuality
Q: My 12-year-old daughter has a boyfriend who is a year older. They are both only children from divorced households. Both kids are supervised closely by their parents. I have created rules about them being together to be sure an adult is always present. I know that she was "cuddling" with him in his house while his dad was in another room and she had her "first kiss," with open mouths. She is very excited and I am very nervous about her awakening sexuality. She has told me the details and we do talk. I am a bit worried that if she starts kissing now that will lead to early sexuality. I have given her my opinions on the matter and I told her we will schedule a conversation about her beliefs about her actions. What is the normal range for kissing, dating etc.?
A: The normal range for kissing -- especially open-mouthed kissing -- would probably be at least high-school level. Dating, in a couple rather than a group, would be about 15-16 years old. It's good that you are so open with your daughter and talk with her. It is also good that you are aware of your fears of her budding sexuality and that you recognize her as a sexual being.
All that being said, I would encourage you to keep your daughter and her boyfriend busy with other activities when they are together. Keep up the supervision and emphasize the importance of being friends first. One year's age difference is a lot at her age.
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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.