Should Tweens Be Allowed To Date?


Should Tweens Be Allowed To Date?
Should your kids be allowed to date? And what is "dating" in middle school, anyways?

By Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy.D., Talking Teenage for

Your tween has a boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe your tween tells you directly. Or perhaps, you found out from a friend, another parent, Facebook or by checking in on their texts.

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You feel that moment of dread and panic.

How could this be? You're baffled.


How could he be going out with anyone? She’s too young, he’s too immature. And wait a minute -- going out? Where exactly could they be going? You are an involved parent, your tween doesn’t go anywhere without you having all the facts and ensuring there is always appropriate supervision. Save the freedom for his teen and young adult years! For now, you like her just where she is -- under your thumb!

First, take a deep breath.It is probably not what you are thinking. The tween definition of dating in many cases does not include going anywhere! In fact often, it doesn’t even involve any alone time. So, what is the tween definition of dating? These days, technology plays a major role.



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What dating means to many tweens

Here's what I know from working with families and teens: Tween dating does follow some traditional rules. One tween for example, typically asks the other tween out. And yes, while women have equalized the playing field in many areas, it is still usually the guy who often asks the girl out. How he asks her,however, can vary. Face-to-face is still the preferred method but a text or IM is not unusual. The happy couple will demonstrate their commitment to each other by changing their social networking statuses from "single" to "n a relationship."


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The couple’s "together time" often consists of texting back and forth, and even an occasional chat on the phone. Maybe they have a quick conversation at their lockers or walk with each other to class. Birthday presents and holiday presents (especially Valentines) are exchanged. In some cases, the couple may even spend some time together going to a movie, or hang out at a party, with adult chaperones carefully looking on. Most often, couples just maintain their relationship through texts. Relationships can start and end within days or weeks. A long-term relationship is usually defined by a couple of months.

Is your tween ready to date?


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