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"Parents can be so uncomfortable with the idea of their kid becoming more grown up -- we wish our kids could stay kids," Atkins says.

"The problem with that attitude is that your kid still is a kid.

Even if your son is mooning over a certain girl, most 12-year-olds aren’t really ready for the one-on-one interaction of a true relationship.

For eighth-graders, dating likely means lots of time spent texting or talking on the phone, sharing images on social media, and hanging out in groups.

However, with the advent of digital technology, it’s very likely that parents (and siblings) may have no clue that their child is even in a relationship, as today’s tweens/teens are often engaging completely in private, and sometimes primarily through texting.

You go from changing their diapers, to teaching them how to tie their shoes, to eventually helping them understand dating and love.

The preteen and teen years aren’t easy on you or your child.

To learn more about Ellen, or to contact her directly, please see Our Team.

Being a parent means committing to guide your child through many complicated and difficult stages of life.

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