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Is Dating at Age 12 Okay?

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: Is it all right for my daughter to date at age 12? She thinks that we are being overprotective.

A: I encourage you to think about all the reasons you decided that your daughter was too young to date. You, as parents, know all the extreme dangers: drugs, drinking, driving, sexual predators, date rape. And you know the more subtle dangers: focusing on the date to the exclusion and detriment of studies and/or friends; emotional confusion. You know your daughter and you know her level of mental and sexual maturity -- or lack thereof.

Are you being protective? Absolutely. That is your job. As for being "overprotective," every 12-year-old I know uses that word to push a parent's buttons, to excite those feelings of guilt. You are her parents. You do know best.

In the meantime, prepare yourself and your daughter for the time she will begin dating. There are some excellent pamphlets and books on the subject that can help you out. Consult with your child's school counselor and/or at your local library. Discuss it with her. Look forward with her to that very important even in her life -- her first date.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


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