In MySQL, a string and date are treated the same. a date is passed the same as a text string in my sql:
you can get around these date formating issues by using a varchar columns for your dates, a MySQL date column will need to use the yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss format
in a varchar column you can store the more familiar 5/2/2011 format. If you are going to use a data column type, then you will need to reformat the date to the expected format.