Last night my daughter went to her very first dance. It was a “Bubblegum Boogie” at the local community centre: a special event for students in grades 4-6 where the kids can get together and groove to their favourite tunes.
When my nearly-nine fourth-grader came home from school last week telling me that she wanted to go to “the Bubblegum” (as kids-in-the-know call it), I was enchanted. I willingly hared off to the community centre to reserve her spot and didn’t give it a second thought. Some of my friends’ kids have gone to these dances for a few years, and I always loved to hear their cute stories about the fun and adventures these little ones have in the safety of a chaperoned, local and yet grown-up-feeling event. These nine to twelve year-olds are really into popular music and rock stars, and being able to groove with their friends from 7-9 on a Friday night seemed like a really fun time to me.
So I innocently mentioned it to a few of my friends whose daughters are also in grade four at my daughter’s school. I just thought it would be fun if a bigger group of them were there together, along with kids they know from the neighbourhood Catholic school and from the next grade or two above them in the public school. It’s a small-ish community, and most of us know each other from school or soccer, dance or swimming lessons.
I was not prepared for the response I got.
Both of my good friends (with whom I usually agree about 90% on parenting-related questions) emphatically refused to allow their daughters to attend. When — in all innocence — I asked why, they responded with:
“Not already: it’s not appropriate for them to go to dances”
“They’re too young for it”
“I always hated dances…I don’t want her to go through that”
Is there something wrong with me or my judgment as a parent? Am I breeding a precocious little floozy here? I don’t think so. This is one of those cases where I feel like my friends are over-protecting their kids. I mean, we’re talking about an event that’s been running successfully in the community for years, and that is geared towards their age group. They give them a piece of Double-Bubble at the door, for heaven’s sake! It’s not like I’m suggesting we drive our grade four girls over to the local high school to crash one of their dances.
I dunno. I just don’t see the problem. My daughter came home last night glowing with excitement. She had such a great time, hanging in the caf’ drinking iced tea and a munching a little grab-bag of candy treats. She bought a glow-stick necklace and danced to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. She danced with a nice young boy from her class and she is excited about going to the next dance.
So what do you guys think? Are they all too young? Is this an inappropriate event for this age group? Would you let your child attend?