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Dear Dish-It: Am I Too Young To Date?

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Dear Dish-It,

Am I too young to date?

Steph

Dear Steph,

The answer depends a lot on what you mean by "dating." While crushes start as early as elementary school, in middle school kids start talking about "going out" or "going together" or “dating.” Usually, what they mean is that two people let it be known that they like each other. They might write notes to each other or talk on the phone or text message each other.

It's possible this couple could see each other at an event, such as a dance, a party, or a basketball game. But most kids won't "go out" on a date, just the two of them, and if they do it's likely their parents will want to come along. The bottom line is most parents think kids should wait until they are older to start dating.

If someone asks you to "go out" or “date” them you might feel happy that someone likes you, but also a little strange. You might wonder what it will mean if you say yes. And what if you want to stop "going out" with this person? These couples usually don't last long and that's perfectly OK. The best advice is to go slowly because it's easy for kids to get their feelings hurt.

It's a good idea to talk with your mom or dad, too. They might not want you to "go out" or “date” with anyone yet, even if you're not really going out anywhere. Or, if they're OK with it, they might have certain rules they want you to follow, like about when and if you can get phone calls from this person. Some kids make the mistake of calling the person they like a zillion times a day. Oh no, don't be a constant caller!

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