How to Help Your Daughter Navigate Boy-Crazy Friends
- Jaime Jo Wright Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- Updated Jul 19, 2022
HELP! I’ve reached the season. The dreaded season of a mother’s life when raising a daughter. It’s the season of “boy-crazy”! On the one hand, I’m thankful my daughter isn’t goo-gooing over boys, but on the other hand, she is navigating the oh-so murky waters of friends whose attention has turned indubitably toward the opposite sex.
Not that there is anything wrong with crushes and so on, but I firmly recall my pre-teen and early teen years when my cool gal pals suddenly turned rabid, and all they could focus on was boys, boys, boys. It happened overnight, and I felt as though many of my friends became strangers. And don’t get me started on summer camp and cabin full of girls whose only purpose that week at camp was to have a boy ask them to the Friday night camp banquet. Sure, did I want to be asked? I wouldn’t have minded. I wasn’t immune to boys. But it wasn’t my mission in life. It wasn’t my focus. It brought tears and frustration to my camp days, summer days, church days, and friend days. I still wanted to play in the woods, ride bikes, play Barbies and make up stories, craft, cook, bake, and all the fun stuff. Finding a boyfriend I could break up with within two weeks was not my focus.
Maybe it doesn’t bother you. I have a few friends with girls of similar ages, and they seem to find it fun, part of growing up, and so forth. But if you’re more on the end of boy craziness being over the top and not the healthiest of obsessions, this article is for you.
Now, while I’m navigating this currently, I’ve also been married to a youth pastor and been in youth ministry for twenty years. I have navigated many groups of middle-grade girls and their crushes. Enough that I feel I can say I’ve learned a few ways to make it through the white water to the calmer still waters on the other side.
Here are some ideas if you’re of the bent to help your daughter survive these years:
1. Get new friends.
Okay, okay. I admit. I got this advice from a man. My response was, “it’s not that easy.” On the flip side, it did give me pause to think. There is some logic in choosing who you spend time with, and we typically choose people with whom we have shared interests. Granted, many of your daughter’s friends are ones she’s probably grown up with, so the bond/relationship is strong. Still, getting new friends doesn’t mean abandoning old ones, but it does mean branching out and finding those with interests not circling around boys.
Help your daughter find new venues that encourage the pursuit of hobbies and other interests where they have the potential to find a few new friends. I took my daughter to an ice cream social last night at church, where there were quite a few girls her age she’s not had the opportunity to mingle with. She met one girl who would also like to start her own coffee shop someday, and for the next hour, they schemed their futures and never once discussed boys.
2. Set limits.
This will potentially take some extra stamina and time from you, but these will pay off in helping your daughter be with her good friends but divert their attention from boys. A few ways to do this is to have electronics checked in. This means the kids turn their phones into a kitchen counter, so they’re not spending the bulk of their time Snapchatting other girls about boys or trying to get boys’ attention via social media. (yes, this is a thing taken from real-life scenarios).
Consider offering other options for activities, so they’re not sitting around bored and gravitating to the one thing they know well. Boys. Have them bake cupcakes and decorate them, consider taking them to a park where they can ride bikes or swim, offer them craft projects to do, and break out the board (not “bored”) games when all else fails.
3. Have candid conversations.
It may take you as a parent having a straight-up chat with your daughter and her friend/friends. Explaining that in your house, while you understand the excitement around boys, “we don’t want to constantly focus on that here when there’s so much else to do.” You don’t really want to start preaching your opinions and beliefs about dating, but being upfront about what you will and won’t tolerate is important.
Keep in mind that this probably won’t stop the boy chatter, and you’re not going to spy on or chaperone your daughter and friends. But it does bring awareness to the issue if it’s getting out of hand, and it gives your daughter something to fall back on. You. “Remember, what my parent said … let’s do something else besides talk about boys”. It’s a segue opportunity for your daughter who wants to focus on something else.
4. Set a text code.
Does your daughter need an intervention? She might! Sometimes, we just need to be available to our kids when they get in a bind or in a spot where they’re no longer comfortable. This can happen at the age of boy-crazy, and your daughter may need an easy “out” that isn’t embarrassing for her.
Consider setting a text code between the two of you that essentially means, “I need you to help me out here,” without actually saying it (in case their friend is looking over their shoulder). Maybe it’s a secret string of emoji, or perhaps it’s words like: “Please don’t make coffee” (If I got that from my coffee-obsessed daughter, I’d know she needed help!).
The fact is, we can’t shield our kids forever. If your daughter is expressing frustration and agony over the focus of her friends, it can be very frustrating. But it’s important to teach her why this is becoming an issue for her. Advising her about the burgeoning awareness of boys, God’s intentions for men and women, how this is a beginning step toward that, and how to have patience with others who aren’t on the same page as you are all important things to teach her.
Encourage your daughter to talk with you. Be cautious of criticizing her feelings toward boys and also be cautious of criticizing her friends. It’s an education in patience, human kindness, exacting moderation, and learning how to communicate. This can be a prime time for your daughter to learn to express her own feelings and opinions with her friends—in a nice way. It can also be a chance for your daughter to help her friends navigate the world of boys, but sometimes navigating away from the world of boys and back to just being a kid.
In the end, I, too, have to realize that this is just the beginning. My daughter is growing up, and so are her friends. It’s my duty as her mother to be a good example, to help inspire her toward strong womanhood and faith, and to teach her as my mom taught me: boys are temporary, the Lord is forever.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/PeopleImages
Jaime Jo Wright is an ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. Her novel “The House on Foster Hill” won the prestigious Christy Award and she continues to publish Gothic thrillers for the inspirational market. Jaime Jo resides in the woods of Wisconsin, lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com and at her podcast madlitmusings.com where she discusses the deeper issues of story and faith with fellow authors.
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Are you in the trenches with your toddlers or teens? Read Rhonda's full article here!