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It’s important to give them independence — but also supervision.

Set ground rules about not being home alone without a parent." "Try not to tie dating to an age, particularly if you have more than one child," warns licensed psychologist Julia Simens.

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If there is a general rule in place but open conversation can take place, it gives room for parents to express their concern.

I would ask the child how they intend to meet their educational and social obligations and whether they would be open to their parent meeting their date.

Trying to control the outcome will only hurt your relationship with them." However, if your child wants to date the same sex, their maturity level might be even more critical, says Mc Bain.

Help prepare them in case someone makes a hurtful or otherwise insensitive comment toward them (because unfortunately, some people, even teens, still view same-sex relationships as undesirable.) And remember: Many kids do not come out to their parents first, largely out of fear of judgment or criticism.

Whether your child is "old enough" should be determined by your child.

It's not unusual for certain 12-year-olds to be more mature than certain 15-year-olds, etc.

In middle school, kids might be going out with a few friends including their love interest.

Maybe they start developing a text communication first.

First things first: What on earth is even an OK age to start dating?

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