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At the end of the day, "it's better than saying they shouldn't date at all." "What is healthy is being in a group of boys and girls and transitioning from same-sex-only groups into groups in contact with the other sex," says Connolly.Groups can offer a safe, protective way for kids to learn.Each time I revisited it, for different reasons, the structure of ‘no dating in middle school’ worked.

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Our role as parents is to provide structure and guidance through their growth in this area.

"But I didn't start dating until I was 18," says Mom. According to one survey, nearly half of teens between the ages of 11 to 14 years old are dating.

If they can date in middle school, will they want more freedom in relationships when they reach high school?

Are they wanting to date because everyone else is dating?

Your answers to these questions can inform the type of dating policy you create for the tween years. This may sound funny coming from someone who kept the same policy for 3 kids, but I did take a look at my policy each time one of my children entered middle school.