I recently came across an article with that very title– Should I let my middle schooler date? The article gets pretty sanctimonious, and talks all about how you should definitely not let your middle schooler date.
But what really surprised me was how everyone in the comments agreed that you should absolutely not let your middle schooler date.
Dude, I get it. I get that it is stressful to think about your kids “dating” I get that when they are “going out” they aren’t actually going anywhere, and I get that, but what on earth makes people think that they can keep these kids from “dating” from “going out” from being “boyfriend and girlfriends” with each other?
Are we so old that we don’t remember middle school? All those confused hormones all holed up in one giant building. Teachers just trying to keep the peace while girly girls flash too much leg, boys who can’t stop staring at all the things they haven’t learned yet to stop staring at, and of course, all the RELATIONSHIPS that these kids have with each other.
“So-and-so likes you, do you like her?”
“I totally ship these two.” Is something you see all over their instagram accounts. Their snapchats filled with streaks to and from each other.
So, to all of those parents out there asking, “Should I let my middle schooler date?” Uh, guess what– that isn’t your decision. You can forbid. You can suggest, but this isn’t up to you. This is one of those times where we have to HOPE we have raised our children to make the right decisions, to pick and choose the right friends, and dare it say it– boyfriends and girlfriends.
You can FORBID your kids from falling for others all you want, but you can’t stop it. So quit trying. Do you know what happens to those parents who don’t let their kids “date?” Those kids DO IT ANYWAY, and guess what? Those parents have no idea. This is one of those times where it’s better to let your kids do what they want to do and offer the guidance that keeps them from making terrible decisions that can get them into real trouble later!
This isn’t a time to put on your hard-ass hat. This is a time to listen, to be there, and to show your kids that you can have an open honest relationship. THIS is the time when your kids need you. Be there for them.
(In case you want to read it, here is the article in question.)