An eighth grade student, tired of waiting for her crush to take a hint that she wants to be with him decides to stop wasting her time. Figuring things would be better in their relationship, she decides to take another shot at her past relationship with her ex. Realizing that her feelings remained strong for her crush, she breaks up with her ex once more and now faces frustration and confusion between who she wants to be with and who she’s willing to wait for. Depending on how mature and genuine a middle school student is about being involved in a relationship, determines whether or not they may be ready for one. If someone just wants to be in a relationship for juvenile and immature reasons like being able to do inappropriate things or to impress one of their friends, then they’re likely to be the type of people who are not ready for a relationship just yet.
Those who actually want a future with their soul mate and plan to be loyal, trustworthy, and open-minded with whoever they are together with could probably handle being a relationship. I think middle school students should definitely be allowed to date, because it’s a great way to open up to someone who you trust with your thoughts and feelings. Someone who is always by your side when you’re feeling down, supporting and encouraging you, as well as one of the main people that you can go to for comfort and advice. I also believe that middle school dating could teach valuable lessons and prepare them for whoever they may be in a relationship or marriage with in their future.
According to the website http://www.imom.com, a mother mentions the pros and cons about middle school dating. Some of the pros that she included were things like:
• Spending time with a boyfriend or girlfriend is fun
• Having a girlfriend makes you feel older and cooler
• Being known as “Steven’s Girlfriend” gives a 12-year-old a sense of identity and a place in the crowd.
I agree with the pros that are provided by this mother, however I believe that middle school students such as seventh and eighth graders have different perspectives on how a relationship should be. And that could just be based on their mentality.
The cons of middle school dating that this mother included were things such as:
• Finding out 11.4 days later that he is “so over you” destroys your self-esteem, affirming all of your middle-schooler suspicions that you are unattractive, awkward, and that no one really likes you.
• Spending lots of time with a boyfriend or girlfriend takes you away from your friends
• Feeling older and more mature than what you really are can lead to choices and responsibilities that you’re not ready for.
• Thinking of yourself in the context of who you are in a relationship before you know who you are by yourself is dangerous.
I strongly agree with the last con that this mother provided, because I believe that once you get yourself involved in a relationship, you are bound to end up making decisions that should really be saved for when you become an adult. However, some people let their relationship get the best of them, and they have to make decisions and become afraid of making the wrong choice and what the affects might be in the future.
Once they make a wrong decision, it may be impossible to take back. At that point, they are unfortunately stuck with the regret of their decisions. To avoid these difficult decisions, students should not focus on things that they may not be able to handle such as starting a family or living together. They could talk to their teachers, parents or counselors for advice and suggestions on what they should do or if what they’re doing is right.
A few eighth grade students have their own opinions on this argument as well. Agreeing that middle school students should be allowed to date are eighth graders Justin Miick, Jayla Davis, and Kaylah Barnes. “Students would feel more older and mature,” says Justin Miick. He feels like middle school students are at the age where they are responsible enough to handle a relationship and take things seriously. Justin then adds, “Some parents care, some parents don’t.” If a child’s parent cares about them dating in middle school, there is likely to be some type of ground rules that they would have for their child to follow. Some parents’ rules may involve their child having a curfew to be home, no intimacy and their grades must remain at a passing level. For the parents that don’t care, may result with their child having to make difficult decisions in their relationship that may affect them in the worst possible ways.
“Of course!” says Jayla Davis. This eighth grade student doesn’t find middle school dating to be that big of a deal. She understands that some students’ attention may be drawn away from their grades and onto whoever they’re in a relationship with, but Jayla thinks that if a middle school student knows how to make wise decisions and be able to balance their grades while being in a relationship, then they should be allowed to date. She thinks that if a student acts childish or reacts foolishly to things such as being told that someone likes them, then they’re obviously not mature enough to handle the responsibilities of dating someone.
Kaylah Barnes is on both sides of the argument. She explains, “Some people are able to find their true love in middle school and show how much they really care about their boyfriend or girlfriend.” This was her reason for why she agrees that middle school students should be allowed to date. Her opposing argument is that students then become distracted from school and their academics, that they begin to fall off track. Being more interested in their relationship rather than their grades could prevent them from being able to be successful in school. This eighth grader also mentions that if a student gets heartbroken, they could be scarred for life and gain depression from trying to get over their relationship or not understanding why it didn’t last as long as they may have desired or expected. This was also something that she believed the student’s parents, teachers and counselors would have to deal with from their child. “If they’re able to maintain their relationship as well as their grades, then I think they’re responsible enough to date.” says Kaylah. Handling the responsibilities of the things that are most important to a student proves their maturity, and shows how responsible they could be even if they’re in a relationship.
Now that students have expressed their opinions about this argument, let’s see what teachers have to say about middle school dating. On the side for middle school students being allowed to date is Ms. Nothstein (Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher) and Ms. Woodard (Central Middle School’s Counselor). “I’d rather there be parent involvement in a student’s relationship, than having it be kept a secret,” says Ms. Nothstein. This eighth grade teacher expresses that some students are mature enough to date, and some are not. She believes that this all depends on their overall attitudes. The ones who are mature enough to date are responsible, prepared, and can keep their grades at a passing level. Those who are not mature enough to date, act foolishly, are not punctual to class and are unable to handle the responsibilities of a middle school relationship.
“When people are immature when dating, it causes confusion,” says Ms. Woodard. An example she provided to support her opinion, is that immaturity causes conflicts with male or female friends and people sometimes make poor lifestyle choices. There are also some people who “sneak around,” which creates negative patterns. Ms. Woodard thinks that it depends on a student’s maturity to determine if they should be allowed to date. “If a child is not mature enough to date, then they shouldn’t be allowed to.” she says. She also includes that however a student chooses to problem solve or how they reason what is right in their minds will determine how mature they are.
Against middle school students being allowed to date is Mrs. Green (Central Middle School’s Principal), and Mr. Roach (Jobs for Delaware Graduates Teacher). “Middle school students aren’t mature enough emotionally to date…and I say this as a Mom and a principal,” says Mrs. Green. Our school principal thinks that middle school dating is a distraction to students’ academics. Being too young to date, students may not be able to handle the consequences of a relationship. “As a parent, there is nothing more heartbreaking than for my child to hurt,” she expresses. A daughter or a son experiencing disappointment from their boyfriend or girlfriend is one of the main causes for heartbreaks. Parents must then have to deal with their child being emotionally upset and support them until they move on from the situation. If students are having issues in their relationship, it could affect other students or teachers in their school. The drama that teachers may have to deal with from two students being involved in a relationship is arguing, rumors and social media drama. This interrupts the process of learning and teachers may become overwhelmed themselves, trying to maintain a sane class. “I think when a person is able to handle the fallout of a broken relationship or the serious decisions that may come up in a relationship…they should be able to date.” says Mrs. Green. Her final thought expresses her disapproval about middle school dating; however, she does feel like “It takes true maturity to understand that life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope and we must be able to handle the outcome.” As a mother and principal, Mrs. Green understands students wanting to hang out and get to know each other, but she believes that middle school students are simply too young to be involved in a relationship.
Following up on that, Mr. Roach is against middle school students being allowed to date because he doesn’t believe that they have the responsibility at this age to be in a relationship. “When they can take the responsibilities of paying bills and buying their own food and clothes, then they’ll be mature enough to date.” he says. Being at this age, Mr. Roach doesn’t think middle school students are old enough to even think about being in a relationship. He believes that before we consider being in a relationship, we should be able to take care of ourselves and provide for our family values. “Students will fall off task,” he says. Mr. Roach believes that being distracted by who they’re dating, students will be more worried about their relationship rather than what they need to be doing in school as far as their academics. He thinks that middle school relationships will then result in students being late to class, hanging out in the hallways and skipping their classes. When it comes to how parents might be concerned, Mr. Roach considers their interest of their child’s school performance if it suddenly begins to progress or fail.
In summary, I do consider my opponents’ perspectives for this argument. However, my opinion remains the same, that middle school students should be allowed to date. Depending on their maturity level and how well students are able to handle themselves, determines whether or not they are ready to be a part of a relationship with someone. Minor setbacks in middle school dating could be things such as distractions, depression or a student’s change in behavior. The positive side of middle school dating includes the chance to get to know someone and develop feelings for a person that you may become very close with. The benefits of middle school dating include preparing yourself for future relationships and possibly meeting your future soul mate. The positive effects of middle school dating outweigh the negative effects.
Barnes, Kaylah. Personal Interview. 8 December 2015.
Davis, Jayla. Personal Interview. 8 December 2015.
Green, Shan. Personal Interview.10 December 2015.
Miick, Justin. Personal Interview. 7 December 2015.
Nothstein, Lisa. Personal Interview. 9 December 2015.
Roach, Al. Personal Interview. 10 December 2015.
Woodard, Andrea. Personal Interview. 9 December 2015.