I’m wondering what is the “average” age for boys to start getting interested in girls? My son is 10 and it seems like all his friends are talking about girls now and who likes who. My son is clearly not interested. At all. I know I should be thankful, just looking for confirmation that this is normal and that he will get there when he is ready. 10 seems very early for this to be happening, so I’m hoping he is the normal one and the other boys are just early?
Thanks for your letter. Your son is normal! Truth is, at this age, tweens are so unpredictable and erratic that just about anything can be “normal”.
Sexual and psychological development take place at different rates for each child. The fact that he doesn’t seem to be taking interest or showing any curiosity when it comes to girls is perfectly normal. The age for the onset of puberty and intellectual maturation ranges from as early as 8 and as late as 14. This is a huge gap – and it is likely that you son will fall within this range. In terms of an ‘average’ age, it seems to be 11 for girls and 12 for boys. But don’t worry about averages…who wants to be average, anyway! Furthermore, even if his body says he is ready, intellectually, his mind might not be on the same wavelength just yet. The two don’t always line up during the process.
Geography and environment also play a big role when it comes to the ages and stages of early dating. At some schools it seems to be the natural thing to do when kids hit Grades 4-6. They start to split off into “couples” and smaller groups. “Going with someone” might simply mean they talk at recess and walk home from school together. In another school just a few blocks away, the culture could be very different. If the recess agenda includes playing soccer and doing things in large groups, the “coupling” process may not start to take place until grade 8.
Based on this idea of tween culture – just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean your son needs to. This is actually a great sign of independence and confidence. He’s not into it just yet and he feels no obligation to conform. Good for him!
The bottom line is that we need to realize what “dating” means to them at the various ages. If it simply means you spend your recess talking to your other half, your son may not be willing to give up his physical activity and basketball 1 on 1 game yet. It’s perfectly normal! Lastly, just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean your son needs to. He’s not into just yet and he feels no obligation to conform. Good for him!
P.S. I have an upcoming tween workshop you should check out. You may find a lot more information that is helpful during this new stage of parenting life.