Tips On When Your Tween Wants to Date

It's normal for pre-teens to get crushes.
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It comes as a surprise to many parents when their 10-year-old child announces she has a new boyfriend. Or, when their 12-year-old son says he's got a dance to the dance.

But it's not unusual for tweens (and even younger kids) to want to date. After all, they see adults and older kids coupled up. And TV shows, movies, and music often centers around romantic relationships.

So while you may not be thrilled to think of your tween entering the dating scene, forbidding romance usually doesn't work.

Your best bet is to help your child learn how to handle a young crush in a healthy way. 

Allow Supervised Activities

While you certainly don't want to encourage two tweens to spend countless hour alone together, you can allow them to be active together. Attending sporting events together, for example, can be a healthy way for them to spend time together.

Go with them. You don't have to sit with them or eavesdrop on everything they say, but make sure you can keep an eye on them.

Going in a large group can also be a way for tweens to spend time together. Going to an event with several friends can give them a chance to see each other while also preventing the situation from turning into a one-on-one date. 

Allow Them to See One Another In Your Home

Allow your tween to invite the person she has a crush on over to your home. Make it a habit for your tween to spend time in your home with friends. Then, when your tween is old enough to start dating, she'll be more comfortable bringing her friends into your home.

Tweens can be socially awkward, especially when they have crushes. They're notorious for wrestling or playing 'games' that involve some type of physical touch. 

Intervene if things become physical at any point. Sometimes, their 'fun games' can into inappropriate contact. Establish clear rules and make sure your tween knows your expectations.

Talk About Sexuality

Tweens need to know their bodies are changing. They also need to be made aware of what sex is and why it's important not to engage in sexual contact.

If you're not talking about it, your tween will hear these things from peers. And it's likely your tweens friends won't have all the facts right.

If your tween is communicating that she's interested in dating, she's sending the message that she needs more information about relationships. 

Share your opinions too about the importance of not becoming sexually active. Hearing you say these things can go a long way toward preventing your teen from engaging in sexual activity.

But don't think of this as 'the talk.' Your child will need to hear these messages many times over the next few years. And as he matures, he'll need more information from you.

It's important to talk to your tween about sexuality in the digital age too. Establish rules about sexting or sharing explicit content on social media. 

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