Middle-School Make-Outs … And More

E.J. Gordon, GIRLilla Warfare’s “Sexpert”:  I received a few letters this month that revolved around the same hot topic: Middle School Make-Outs. I thought I would share the letters and my responses with GIRLilla Wafare readers. I welcome your feedback and personal experience — bring it on!

Dear E.J. —

I was having one of those chats with my sixth grader …  you know the kind when you say good-night to her and just before you close the door, she says, “Mom, I have a question…” Anyway, she confessed to me that two of her girlfriends had been making out with their respective boyfriends. And at this age, “boyfriends” is a term used very loosely, as in … we text and tell everyone we’re together. My daughter told me that she’s not sure if she was ready to be making out too. She was nervous about what the next step after that was, and she was a little uncomfortable about her friend’s activities too. I honestly didn’t quite know how to respond to her. HELP!

-Speechless Mom

Dear Speechless,

First of all, I hope you know how lucky you are that your daughter will discuss this with you. Second, I hope you know how lucky YOU are that she’s saying she’s not ready! Next bed time, tell her you’ve thought about what she asked and restart the conversation.

The most important thing we can teach our daughters is to listen to that little voice inside of them that tells them what to do.

Tell her if that voice is telling her that she shouldn’t do something, she should listen to it! Tell her that when she really likes a boy and he really likes her back, and she’s comfortable and ready, making out will come naturally. Make sure she knows that one day she WILL feel ready, and that it will only be wonderful if she WAITS for that time, whenever it is.

In regards to her friends and their activities, I think part of being a good friend is to be very accepting of who your friends are. Even though your daughter might not be in the make-out stage, that doesn’t mean her friends aren’t, and it doesn’t mean she can’t go down her OWN path, respect her own voice and choice, and accept her friends at the same time. Personally, I had a large and tight group of friends throughout junior high and high school who were all over the board in terms of “fastness”. One of my friends was a virgin well into her 20s. Two of my friends “came out” after college.

A few of us were quite sexually active, some with one boyfriend, and some with many. But the one thing that kept our friendships strong for all of these years was that we ACCEPTED ONE ANOTHER  for who and what we were.

And that very same acceptance allowed us to eventually make some better choices, because we knew we had the support of each other. So tell her to love her friends and herself by accepting both their choices and her own.


Dear E.J. —
I was hoping you could help me with this predicament. My good friend’s daughter is in seventh grade along with my son. I overheard my son’s friends talking about how one of them has been “hooking up” with her. I asked my son directly about it, and he confirmed that yes, his friend has been hooking up with my friend’s daughter. Should I tell my friend about her daughter? I know that I would want to know, but I’m not sure how to go about doing this. Any advice?    

– Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned,
You have to tread lightly with this one. First, if you “tell” and your son finds out you told, you will have lost his trust. That line of communication with him is very important, and you don’t want to jeopardize it unless you are very, very worried for this girl. Second, you need to really examine your motivation for telling your friend. Are you indeed really worried for this girl? Or do you have another motive … one that you might not even be aware of, like a need to show up your friend or to gossip with her or to feel superior to her.

Third … Be careful of falling into the “I would want to know” trap.

When my eldest started school, I had this arrangement with two of my friends: If you hear anything about my kid that you think I might not know, but should know, please tell me. I didn’t want to be that Mom who thinks the sun rises and sets on my son’s ass — especially if it doesn’t. And in turn, my friends asked me to do the same thing.

BUT, when a time or two came up when I felt, “Gosh, I would want to know this story about my kid, so I’ll tell my friend” — it ALWAYS came back to bite me.

Either the Mom didn’t want to know, or she had a billion excuses for her kid, or she resented me for bringing it up. I NEVER was happy I got involved.

That said, when the tables were turned, and a friend told me something she’d heard about my son, I’m glad I found out, because it allowed me to talk to my son and get in front of a potentially large problem.

So when you decide to get involved, make sure it’s worth risking some tension in your friendship.

If you truly think that this girl’s behavior is risky to her health, can forever ruin her, or can otherwise seriously harm her, it might be worth upsetting the apple cart and telling your friend.

So the DETAILS in this situation matter, and since you didn’t include them, let’s consider this: Does “hooking up” mean having sex? If so, for a seventh grade girl, this could be very dangerous and harmful. Or is this girl just making out with her boyfriend? Or even a little bit more? While you might find 13 to be a horribly young age for a make-out session, maybe this is normal and acceptable to her mother.

There is no way to tell your friend about her daughter without it coming with a judgment, and that judgment might be perceived by this girl’s Mom as, “Your daughter is a slut,” or “You’re a bad Mom”.

Finally, is your relationship with your friend’s daughter strong and open enough to have a talk with her yourself? I know that if my children didn’t feel comfortable talking to me about what they’re doing and how to be safe, I would hope that they would talk to one of their aunts or one of my close friends. Could you orchestrate a window of time to pull her aside and let her know that she’s being talked about by the boys, and you’re worried about her? She might even be more open with you than she would be with her own Mom.

Regardless of what you do about the girl, it’s still a good parenting moment for you with your son. You can talk to him about respecting girls and not talking about them like that behind their backs. You can also talk to him about whether you think he’s too young to be doing some of that same hooking up. View this as a good point of departure to discuss kissing and sex and everything in between.

– E.J.

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: E.J. raises some excellent points — would love your perspective, GIRLillas! Have at it in the “Comments” section below (and yes, you CAN remain anonymous!).  Feel free to reach out to E.J. directly on other important kid/teen/adult sex issues. There is no taboo subject here … Contact E.J. Gordon at: EJGordon529@gmail.com.

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