A couple is kind of like a recipe with just two ingredients. You mix them together
and — wow! — interesting stuff can happen. Milk and chocolate syrup turn
into ... mmmm ... chocolate milk. Combine milk and pickle juice and the results
are not so yummy. And sometimes the stuff you mix — like root beer and vanilla
ice cream — will bubble, fizz, and nearly explode!
So it's no wonder that girls and guys are interested in those romantic recipes
called couples. In fact, more than 4,000 kids — most of them between 9 and 12
— answered our survey on what makes a great couple. The No. 1 answer was that
people who make a great couple are different, but in a way that works really well
— like peanut butter and jelly. The No. 2 response was that great couples make
each other laugh.
And whom did kids choose as their all-time favorite couple? Vanessa and Zac? Hermione
and Ron from Harry Potter? Will and Jada Smith? Nope. It was Mom and Dad.
Isela, 12, chose her parents because "they're kind of from two different backgrounds
but they couldn't fit better together."
Victor, 12, says his parents are his favorite couple because "they make me happy
whenever they are together."
Grandma and Grandpa rated high as well. That's who Ashley, 12, chose as her favorite
couple. "They are fun and make each other mad, but always work it out," she said.
As for herself, Ashley isn't interested in a boyfriend right now. "Everyone thinks
you should have a boyfriend but it is really stupid, I want to concentrate on school."
But Caiti, 10, named herself and her boyfriend as her favorite couple. "We make
each other laugh and we have a good time when we're together," she said.
Half of Kids Have Been Part of a Couple
Like Caiti, half of the kids surveyed said they already had been part of a couple,
though with mixed results. About 50% said being in a couple was good and only 5% said
it was a bad experience. But 45% said it was a little bit of both.
You take two people who both say, "Hey, you're the one for me." But what happens
next? It's common for young couples to stay a couple for a while and then realize,
"Hey, you're not the one for me after all."
One or both people might decide they like someone else. And sometimes a person
is just not comfortable having a girlfriend or boyfriend. It's perfectly understandable.
Lots of kids told us about how funny it feels to be part of a couple for the first
time. Sure, it's fun and gives you that
warm feeling inside, but in other ways it's just so strange. Someone is holding
my hand and maybe wants to kiss me? Cool! Gross! What do I do now?
Timmy, 12, said he had a girlfriend for about a month and the best part was hanging
out together. The worst part was "not knowing what to say when I talked to her."
And 12-year-old Jade said she liked knowing the other person returned her feelings,
but the worst thing was "trying not to embarrass yourself every time you're around
them — easier said than done."
Other kids said they didn't like feeling pressure to spend time with that person
all the time. And many said they felt like they couldn't talk to their friends who
were boys or friends who were girls for fear it would look like they were flirting
or cheating. Being part of a couple sometimes means being stared at or talked about,
both boys and girls said.
Tanya, 12, had a boyfriend for 2 months and didn't like that "the whole world gets
to know your business."
And Melissa, 12, noticed that things didn't go quite back to normal after she and
a friend stopped being boyfriend and girlfriend. "It never lasts as long as you want
it to. And you're not as close as friends anymore," she said.
While about 30% of kids said they stayed a couple for a year or longer, most relationships
ended more quickly. About 35% ended in less than a month, with about 14% making it
only a week or less.
Break-Ups Are Common
But before you get too worried about all these couples breaking up, know that it's
perfectly normal. It would be boring if everyone paired up in fifth grade and stayed
When you're a tween (between a kid and a teen), you get to try different things
and imagine what it will be like someday when you are older. That's why it's OK if
you're like Olivia, 9, and you don't want to be part of a couple just yet. "I'm still
young," she said.
So true! Olivia, like most of the kids we surveyed, thought 13 or older would be
the right age to be part of a couple. Of kids who said they hadn't had a boyfriend
or girlfriend yet, 67% said they'd like to be part of a couple someday.
Most Choose Marriage . . . Someday
And looking way down the road, almost 90% of kids said they wanted to get married
in the future. The top reason (54%) was that they wanted to have children and be a
family. Lots of kids (33%) also said they wanted someone who would stick with them
in good and bad times.
For those who said they didn't want to get married, here's why: It sounds boring
(30%); forever is too long (29%); they didn't think they would ever find someone;
or they didn't think they could ever pick just one person (16%).
But most kids wanted to get married and not just for a little while. About 85%
said they would like to stay married for 50 years or more. That's 50 Valentine's Days
with the same person — whoa!
But for now, how can kids celebrate Valentine's Day with the people they like?
Lots of girls and guys said they'd use their cell phone to show they cared. Nearly
half said they'd put their boyfriend's or girlfriend's photo on their cell phone.
Others said they'd assign that person a special ringtone (21%) or text the person
Kids were even willing to do some of the silly, romantic things couples sometimes
do, like give each other cute nicknames (32%), write love poems or letters (18%),
or wear matching outfits (12%).
But the No. 1 answer was to put two straws in the same drink and slurp together.
What a sweet way to celebrate Valentine's Day! What will it be — chocolate milk,
pickle juice and milk, or a bubbly, fizzy root beer float?