Following an event last week, I met a man and his wife who have 3 daughters. The oldest is entering middle school next fall, and the dad was lamenting, “I know that the ’boyfriend thing’ is on the horizon…some of her friends are already there. What is a good way to start a conversation about this? I’d like to know what she’s thinking, and I’d also like to have a little input.”
My advice was for him to ask his daughter to make a list
Leave off the word BOY, and just ask her to make a list of what a GREAT FRIEND looks like. More than likely she will have things on her list like honest, loyal, funny, kind, considerate, a good listener, encouraging, someone I can laugh with, unselfish, trustworthy, caring…. Now you can admire her for her high standards, and let her know that these are also the perfect things to look for in a future boyfriend.
Somewhere along the way, you may want to point out to her that the word HOT doesn’t appear on her list. You can let her know that although mutual attraction IS an important part (our culture tells us it’s the ONLY part), it’s not nearly as important as everything else on her list. This person should first of all be a good friend.
This is obviously only the start of conversations about boy-girl relationships. But like so many things in our lives, it helps to have a starting point….and for me, it’s usually a list!