It may be old-fashioned, but keeping adults in the mix is a great way to slow things down.
Related: Two Questions Your Middle Schooler Has About Puberty and Love (and How to Answer Them) Kids in middle school mature at vastly different rates.
- What if my child gets a bad reputation for dating early?
- What if this is just the first of many steps my child is taking in the opposite direction from me? One of the biggest complexities of dating in middle school is that these are still kids we’re talking about; however, they’re kids caught between two worlds - not little children anymore, but not yet teenagers.
And remember to have this conversation in a way that respects their need to feel grown up with your need to protect them.
Be brave enough to have hard conversations about physical and emotional intimacy and reputation and anything else that concerns you.
Maybe your child envisions texting with someone they’re too afraid to talk to in the hallway at school. Before you freak out, calmly ask, “What does it mean to date someone at your age?
It’s hard to have rules around an area that is so undefined. ” You might be surprised and relieved at their answer.
While I would caution you against making assumptions about kids who have an interest in dating at this age, and what this says about their character, I would also encourage you to be observant of serial-dating.
Research shows that kids who feel the need to be in back-to-back relationships throughout middle school are more likely to engage in high risk behaviors in high school and beyond.