Dating in 8th grade

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It’s helpful for parents to recognize that being more than friends doesn’t necessarily mean an interest in physical intimacy.

A lack of clear terms with these middle school relationships is part of the problem.

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Your tween might show an interest in being more than friends with someone they know.

You’ve accepted the fact that your child is taller than you, and you’ve (almost) convinced her that taller does not equal smarter.

In all seriousness, though, it might be fair to put dating—or “hanging out” as many middle schoolers say—near the top of the list.

If dating in middle school terrifies you, take stock of your concerns.

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).

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