Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Teens and Dating > When Should Dating Start?
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

When Should Dating Start?

Middle School Expert Advice from Judith Lee Ladd

Q: Should I allow my 11-year-old to date?

A: First we need to define "dating." In early middle school, "going with" or "dating" often means being attached in name, in art work on notebooks, and occasionally by hand-holding.

Even when relationships become more serious, they're often more like having a new friend than an intimate relationship. These attractions are very special and should be encouraged. As parents, we can provide supervised opportunities in which the relationships can happen. Escorting your child and his date to the movies is a safe way to introduce your child to dating. Setting limits on activities such as length or number of phone calls can keep things balanced instead of "going overboard." To prohibit these activities only heightens the attraction and sends a message that he is not ready or that he must be different or that you do not recognize his growing mature nature. Assisting the relationship to develop gives parents some control and real awareness. The horror stories of early sexual activity and wild parties at early ages often come when young people feel parents do not understand and parents are not given a chance to exercise or model healthy decision-making.

More on: Expert Advice

Judith Lee Ladd is a former president of the American School Counselor Association, a national organization of K-12 and post-secondary school counselors.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks