What to do when dating in middle school

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There is no hard rule for when tweens should be allowed to date.

Keep in mind that even if you forbid young relationships and dating, your tween may still spend lots of time with a special someone at school. Rather than a flat no, you might consider a more nuanced answer that includes “yes” to some scenarios (Okay, you can say you’re going out), “maybe” to others (I’ll consider whether you can go to a movie together, but if I say yes, I will be in the theater a few rows away), and “no” to others (You are too young to go to the movies without a chaperone and, by the way, you’re too young to kiss).

Two awkward, gawky tweens forced to think of conversation is much better than a group of tweens daring the couple to go into a closet for seven minutes.

(I don’t know if that’s still a thing, but it was when I was in middle school.) You get the point.

In the backseat they were chattering away, and in the front seat, I was the proverbial fly on the wall. “Yeah, they have been hooking up for a while.” Dating? I wondered how they could be talking about these things when they couldn’t even drive a car or pay for the movies.

They were laughing about another friend who was “dating” a girl. It got me wondering what exactly “dating” means to middle schoolers, and whether it’s a good idea at that age.

For many tweens, dating in middle school simply means texting excessively.They just don’t have a lot to compare it to.” So within this murky relationship ecology you might hear your teen say, “I’m going out with…” or “Jared and Ashley are hooking up.” Of course, the language varies depending on who you talk to, but in most cases, these relationships last an average of a few weeks.And as any parent knows, relationships coupled with changes in adolescent development can impact not only kids’ ability to cope with these changes, but also how they perform in school and in other activities.When a middle schooler wants to date or go out, we’re left wondering, “What does middle school dating even mean?”Begin by asking your tween what it means for them.

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