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A Brief History of My 11-Year-Old Daughter’s Love Life

It has been brought to my attention that my 11-year-old daughter Riley has a new suitor.

A boy in her class named Griffin has taken to hovering around her, making snarky remarks about the fact she’s short, and telling her that she’s way too lame for anyone to ever think she’s cool. He often approaches her at lunch, interrupting her and her friends to tell her she’s super annoying, and to make absolutely sure she knows that she should definitely not sit next to him later in Social Studies.

Later, in their after-school program, Griffin and my daughter sit together in the library and compare avatars they’ve created for various online games.

In other words, he has a big fat crush on her.

In other other words, I need to sit down with young Master Griffin and ask what his intentions towards my daughter are.

I have not met this lad yet. I’m sure that he’s a fine, upstanding citizen with a bright future.  I’m told he likes computers and ninjas, so perhaps he’ll have an impressive career in one of those areas. I have no doubt he was brought up to respect women, and as soon as he stops calling my daughter an World’s Most Annoying Midget, he’ll come to our house, sit down with me and ask formally for my blessing before his avatar proposes to her avatar and they start planning their virtual online wedding.

Or they’ll continue to antagonize each other, be irritated by each other, and orbit each other until high school. Either way, there’s the remote chance that young Griffin might at some point become her Boyfriend, at least in some capacity.

This makes me uncomfortable. This whole thing is making me realize that there’s a new frontier approaching. The main reason I’m feeling particularly ill at ease here is because Griffin is distinctly different from Riley’s past boyfriends. See below.


  • Elmo 1 of 7
    Elmo
    I had no problem with Riley's relationship with Elmo. At least not in the beginning. He was sweet, harmless, and treated her well. I was particularly glad to see he respected her intelligence (partially because he was instrumental in her learning how to read). Things did get a little awkward when he started asking her to tickle him all the time, but by the time he started crossing boundaries, she decided she'd outgrown him anyway.
  • Spongebob 2 of 7
    Spongebob
    Another ex-boyfriend of hers that I was fine with. They had a lot in common, enjoying a lot of the same things: long walks on/under the beach, burgers, knock-knock jokes. It's probably for the best that they broke up when they did, though. I wasn't looking forward to the inevitable conversation we'd need to have later, when I'd have to break the news to her that her boyfriend was clearly gay.
  • Mario 3 of 7
    Mario
    An ideal boyfriend for anyone's daughter, in many regards: he's brave, he's committed, he'll go to any length to save his princess, and he's got Olympic-level jumping skills. Sadly, he's also severely addicted to mushrooms. I told my daughter, "He may seem like he's got it together, but you don't want to deal with a guy who's going to be a major project." Am I right?
  • Aquaman 4 of 7
    Aquaman
    Riley was seriously in love with this guy when she was younger. At age seven, she walked into my office and announced that she was going to marry the King of Atlantis. I get it. He's a blond surfer who works out. But the guy's seriously married to his job. You know he's the kind of guy who'd expect his wife to stay home with the minnows while he's out "fighting evil." And no daughter of mine is going to waste her college education sweeping tiny blue rocks out of an underwater castle all day.
  • Whichever Jonas Brother This Is 5 of 7
    Whichever Jonas Brother This Is
    Honestly, I'm not totally sure which Jonas this is. But you can tell he's the Sensitive One. Luckily, her fascination with him didn't last. And better him than one of the others. Or the Biebs.
  • The Older Brother from iCarly 6 of 7
    The Older Brother from iCarly
    If your kid watches iCarly, you know who this is. Riley loved him as recently as last year. Even though she understands he's too old for her, she'll probably always think he's dreamy. Of course she does: he's tall, he's goofy, and he rides bicycles inside the house. If he's the baddest Bad Boy on her boyfriend list, I should consider myself lucky.
  • Peeta 7 of 7
    Peeta
    It all comes down to this doofus from The Hunger Games. Riley pines for him in a major way. He's everywhere in the media just as my kid is starting to feel the early carbonating of her hormones, which makes him her official pre-adolescent fantasy. He may be the guy who kickstarts puberty in our house. Which means I Do Not Like Him. I don't trust him. I don't care if he's the last hope in the District. I should probably be glad Griffin has come along to take his place.

Seth Taylor writes about parenting at DadCentric, and on his own blog The Didactic Pirate.   Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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