Tween dating is certainly not for everyone. Because the developmental differences between kids is so individual at this stage in their lives, many tweens lack the desire and/or maturity to even think about coupling. It is not unusual, however, for older tweens to start spending time together in larger coed groups. Boy/girl parties are not uncommon, nor are group trips to go ice skating, skiing, to an amusement park, concert, or the premiere of a movie. Common meet-up places include the mall or local pizza place. Lots of times, parents will lurk in the background, doing their due diligence to ensure that the kids are having fun and behaving appropriately.
The most important thing parents can do
As a parent, you know the rule, never assume anything. If your tween asks to attend a group function it is always in your best interest to find out what the supervision will be like. If they are attending an event with kids whose parents you do not really know, offer to chaperone or at least connect with the responsible parents prior to the event.
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In many ways, it may feel like kids are growing up so much faster these days. The impact of the media cannot be ignored. Even television channels targeted at younger children depict tween romantic relationships. While these connections are usually an innocent case of ‘the likes,’ talking with your tweens about respecting oneself and others is important. If your tween is dating, be sure to have continued conversations at a developmentally appropriate level about the boundaries of their relationship especially in relation to physical contact, and especially sex.
Your tweens probably know more than you think. Although these types of conversations may be difficult or even embarrassing to have, better safe than sorry to discuss your concerns, expectations, and boundaries now. The good news is that most tweens aren’t ready or interested in more than a quick peck on the cheek or holding hands.
It is a bittersweet feeling to see your tweens show a romantic interest in a peer. It is perhaps a real sign that your baby is growing up before your eyes. Savor their innocence, in today’s world these days are short-lived.
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