(I don’t know if that’s still a thing, but it was when I was in middle school.) You get the point.

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Or maybe it’s just extra texting and a change in her social-media status. This is also an opportunity for you to talk about your own expectations for what you believe is and is not appropriate in middle school.

There is no hard rule for when tweens should be allowed to date.

Michelle Icard is the author of Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years.

Learn more about her work with middle schoolers and their parents at Michelleinthe

Keep in mind that even if you forbid dating, your tween may still spend lots of time with a special someone at school. Rather than a flat no, you might consider a more nuanced answer that includes “yes” to some scenarios (Okay, you can say you’re going out), “maybe” to others (I’ll consider whether you can go to a movie together, but if I say yes, I will be in the theater a few rows away), and “no” to others (You are too young to go to the movies without a chaperone and, by the way, you’re too young to kiss).

You should also be talking about the appropriate age or circumstance for different levels of physical contact.

This is not for the faint of heart, but you can do it.

Otherwise, how will your tween know what’s appropriate?

And it definitely doesn’t help that finals are quickly approaching and studying will soon devour my life again...