But I suddenly had to face the fact that I wasn't reading the situation clearly enough—I had blinders on.You see, I didn't realize how common it was for parents to actually allow and even encourage pre-teens to go out on single dates without any supervision, or even be in the home alone with no chaperone.
I wanted to confirm what I suspected—that it was a family outing and the boy was allowed to join them. She assured me that she and her also-twelve-year-old boyfriend were driven to the mall and dropped off, where they had dinner in the food court, wandered around for an hour, and then went to a movie. My intention has always been to do as my parents did and not let my kids date until they were sixteen—hoping they'd choose to wait even longer.The world wants to define dating for your teenager.Satan bombards her with images of "normal relationships" that contradict God's Word.Until you feel that these things are in place or achieved, I'd recommend holding off on allowing dating: Make sure your child exhibits some level of maturity; that they're able to resist temptation; that they can differentiate like, lust, and love; that they make wise selections, and that they know they are responsible for any consequences of their behavior.The effects of preteen dating have not been well studied, largely because "dating" before 13 used to mean only going on group dates or "going out" without really going anywhere.They're trying to work out how they'll be different from us, their parents, by watching teenagers, and figuring out that adolesecence is when you make the big break. Friendships are crucial to separating from parents - they give a child space to be different from their parents, and confidantes from outside their home with whom to share secrets and events.