No, It’s not OK to Make Out on the Middle School Bus

school bus

Yesterday I overheard an 8th grade girl trying to convince a middle school administrator that it was “appropriate” to makeout on the middle school bus since “it is not the same as school and there is nothing wrong with kissing.” Where to begin, precious young teen? Let me start by addressing the teen herself since any parent reading this will probably never be tempted to makeout on public transportation, and the issue is the age of the kissers more than the location of the kissing anyway.

Dear Middle School Girl,

I totally get that you are confused as to why adults would want to prohibit makeout sessions on your school bus. After all, you and your boyfriend are in a “committed relationship.” You “love” each other. It doesn’t “hurt” anyone. I hear you. But stories like these make me sad, and I’ll tell you why.

The most important decision that you will ever make is who you should marry. The marriage relationship is intended to be stronger as a unit than each of the individuals in the couple. By caring and cherishing your husband more than yourself and him doing the same, the relationship becomes a source of incredible strength and joy for both you and your husband. The “WE” must be more important than the “ME.”

I know that is a long way off, BUT every relationship that you have with a boy from now until then will impact that relationship in some way. The behaviors that your start now place you on a path, a trajectory, straight into your future. So if you “dated” seven boys in sixth grade and held hands and kissed, then in seventh grade you “dated” five boys and madeout at the ice skating rink a few times, and now in 8th grade you are makingout all the time with your third boyfriend of the year and even doing stuff you weren’t sure about doing…well what will you be doing next year? And the year after that? At this point you have accumulated the tears, break-ups, and intimate experiences with 15 boyfriends and you haven’t even started high school.

I know. You’re not a little kid. That’s true. But this is a time in your life to be figuring out who you are separate from your parents. What do you like to do? What things are you good at naturally? What things are challenging for you? This is the time to be developing strong friendships with other girls, deep friendships rather than superficial ones. This is a time to seek your parents’ wisdom about more grown-up topics since they have a perspective that your peers cannot provide.

I’ve seen lots of kids pull away from their parents during the teen years. Wow, is THAT a mistake! You are becoming your own person with your own way of doing things, but they are an incredible source of knowledge to help you navigate these new waters on your own. And, they want what’s best for you rather than to harm you. When they say, “No dating till high school,” it’s because they want to save you some pain and also to keep you focused on figuring out yourself before you complicate things with boys.

Relationships with boys during middle school are naturally immature. They have to be because both people have just begun the journey into adulthood. The boy/girl relationships at this age are packed with drama, complicated by friends’ interference, and frequently hurtful as immature boys say things like, “I only kissed you because my friends dared me, but I really think you are ugly.” True story. This girl was looking for her identity in her acceptance with boys and rather than an unhealthy acceptance, she was reeling from ruthless rejection.

Think of it this way: Disney World is fun for families. Space Mountain is a roller coaster there that I have always loved because the steep hills in total darkness make it a memorable experience for me. But I would never strap my toddler in the seat next to me. To the baby, the ride would be frightening, terrifying as we twisted and turned, not fully understanding what would happen next. But if I simply waited a few more years, until that toddler was mature and excited about trying the new coaster, then we could enjoy this experience together. Riding too soon might ruin the experience for them forever, never wanting to go on another roller coaster again.

And that’s what can happen when kids “date” in middle school. Not always—but often. I do know an amazing 8th grade girl who has navigated a relationship with a boy for over 10 months (almost a lifetime when it comes to middle school romance.) This was the very first boy she ever liked and her parents have been cautiously watching and coaching from the sidelines. This girl keeps an eye on staying committed to her girl friendships and staying close with her family. The boy also has similar support from home.

Still, because they are a “couple” in a middle school, they are regularly harassed by friends. “Why don’t you guys kiss?” “Why don’t you guys makeout?”

Each time she is asked, the girl’s response is the same, “I want my first kiss to be special and that is NOT going to happen in middle school!”

Don’t you and your friends want to feel special? Do you want to feel like an object when an immature boy casts you aside and moves on to the next girl? Do you think that maybe boys who are so interested in makingout might not be that interested in you as a person to be valued?

No one at school can stop you and your boyfriend from taking your kissing party into a private setting, but I do hope that you will consider whether you are more valuable than that and have other things in your life to focus on right now. Tell your boyfriend, “Why don’t you wait for me until high school. I’m worth it!”









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