I am 14, and almost in 9th grade, and dating is considered a regular everyday subject for teenagers my age. I know it's natural for kids his age to start wondering about the opposite sex and are getting interested, but is 11 to young to be dating? If you are concerned about your brother and what his friends are doing, FX thinks it might be helpful for you to start out by getting a better idea of what “dating” means for his peer group.
however, i have an 11 year old brother that claims kids in his grade are dating, and I have overheard him talking about girls with his friends. For younger kids and pre-teens, having a “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” might just be a way of identifying the person they like, or it may just mean they spend a lot of time during recess together.
He refers to various problems that can be associated with dating younger than 14:: Early dating often gets in the way of boys and girls learning the skills that they will need to have healthy relationships later on.
They may simply model relationships after relationships they see on television and in the movies rather than learning with time what is really appropriate dating behavior.
What this means is understanding who you are, what you like and dislike, what you value and believe in, and more, so that you can relate to someone else in a healthier way and find someone else who truly complements who you are as an individual.
In other words, they will act the way they think they should act rather than developing a real relationship with the other person.
: Dating often means less time and fun with same-sex friends.
These friendships allow young people to learn many skills about getting along with others that will be valuable in dating experiences later on.
: People need a sense of personal identity before they can be really close to another person.
FX is going to refer to David Elkind, who is a professor at Tufts University and the author of The Hurried Child.
Elkind believes that people younger than 14 should not date because they do not have the social and interpersonal skills required for dating situations.
Dating in 5 grade may not necessarily mean that they are spending time together outside of school – time that is both supervised and unsupervised.
If your brother’s friends are using these terms but are not getting physically intimate or dating outside of school, the use of the terms “dating,” “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are probably relatively harmless.