Above all – we need to work to make sure that Define these terms with your kids: hanging out, going out, going with, dating, group dating, hooking up Focus more on the expectations and responsibilities than the age, and if you are honest with yourself, you will likely see that tweens just don’t have the developmental capacity for dating, just as preschoolers don’t have the developmental capacity to be left home alone. If you are fortunate to have your kids come to you about dating, take a deep breath and listen first.Then take some time to formulate your responses, and avoid the knee-jerk “You can date when you’re 25! Otherwise it might be one of the last times your kids come to you about dating. While I admit that it can be an awkward conversation to have, Unaware – Parents who aren’t aware that the other person exists or that they are “hanging out” with your child aren’t having conversations with their kids about the situation.This doesn’t mean that they are bad parents – it just means that somewhere along the way something went amiss.

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But I also know families who believe that dating is only to be used as an immediate step before marriage – so nothing is allowed until that child is essentially no longer a child.

According to research and author David Elkind (The Hurried Child), I become, the more I see that age and readiness are two vastly different points. Elkind feels that 14 years is an appropriate age for kids to be allowed to date (and many other professionals agree with him), but it is the general sense of readiness that he describes that I agree with more.

All of these three ingredients need to be on board in order for parents to consider the readiness of their kids and dating.

Without these, our kids aren’t going to be coming to us and talking with us about these relationships and aren’t going to be able to make the safe and responsible decisions that dating requires.

But as a dear friend reminded me of my own words recently, we need to try to be conscious parents, and the world of teens needs us to be conscious and caffeinated-beyond-belief when it comes to dating.

Suddenly potty training and teaching the kids to tie their shoes seems so much easier.As I’ve been finding out, that answer is different for every household, and some of the answers might surprise you (at both ends of the spectrum).I know families who don’t have age even on group dating, and their 12 year-old can have an un-chaperoned date.The point is that if the other parents aren’t aware of the (potential) relationship, then it is time to turn on the lights for everyone.Secrecy – If your teen doesn’t want you to meet his or her or insists that your house is too boring so the movie-watching and hanging-out time is always done elsewhere, this can be a red flag.Sure, it might just mean that your teen is having typical “my family is a bunch of aliens and I can’t relate to them” moment, but when it comes to teens and dating, embarrassment of family is just not an option.