Glitter balls and strobe lights
Glitter balls and strobe lights
Scott Dunlop

It’s a disco. Three words that can turn your head upside down. Especially when they come out of your eleven-almost-twelve-year-old daughter’s mouth.

Not because I don’t trust her. In fact, the reason I trust her is that integrity is her middle name. (It’s not, but you get the point). No, the word “disco” is loaded with uneasy memories for me.

At school in the 80s, discos were the way to act out. Since I went to a boys’ school we were allowed to invite girls from one or two of the girls’ schools. There was an awkward tension as we circled the hall trying to feign being cool but instead trying not to gag on an overload of cheap deodorant. Dancing teens in their newly-stretched legs and arms, flailing around as if they were at home in front of the bedroom mirror. 

Hoping to get to dance with girl, and, goal of goals, to slow-dance. Shuffling around like two people wrapped in the same straitjacket and surreptitiously sniffing each other’s necks. Ecstasy.

Those were the early days. Before some kids begin filching their parent’s cigarettes or those little bottles of spirits you get on the airlines. And, of course, before the slow-dancing drifted outside for clumsy snogging- the clash of braces on teeth and noses.

I think I had my first kiss at a school disco. That’s how memorable that experience was. I don’t remember her name, it was more about the WHOA LOOK AT ME I AM KISSING event.

I loved the initial innocence of it all, but it rapidly devolved into experimental adulthood.

So when my little girl asked me if could go to her friend’s birthday disco, I had to catch my breath. Her mom and I know her to be a lovely child with delightful, respectful friends, so that made it easier to say “yes”.

She wore her favourite dress and did her own hair. Wrapped the present and complained that she was ready too early and now she had to watch the clock, which she did.

We took her out and watched her enter the hall with her friends. They LITERALLY skipped inside (literally). Later (but not too late!) Karen picked her up. She said she saw her dancing with her girlfriends in the hall in her own earnest way.

It’s not easy to let go of childhood, especially when it isn’t yours to let go of, but knowing my children, I hope that they’ll remember the chats we’ve had about consequences, decisions, choices and conscience and that they’ll let go of childhood without letting go of themselves.

What do you worry about most when it comes to helping your kids let go of childhood? Send us an email to and you could win a R250 voucher.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.