Why Middle School Matters

Middle school is a critical time for kids. They begin to see themselves and their relationships with others in new ways—shaped by a unique set of influences and changes that arrive in their lives.

We all know how critical these years are for young people’s development, and yet we often find ourselves unsure of how best to guide kids through them. We know that we can do more and do better. And if we succeed, we can ensure that our young people leave middle school with the building blocks for a lifetime of healthy relationships.

Many youth explore romantic relationships—and even start dating—for the first time between the ages of 11 and 14, but healthy relationship conversations and education often don’t begin until much later.

If we act early to educate our young people and engage them in conversations about healthy relationships, rather than react to unhealthy ones later on, we stop teen dating violence before it starts.

If we successfully educate and empower our middle schoolers, they will take their healthy relationship habits into high school and beyond, and transfer them to friends and family.

Let this site be your resource for building healthy relationships and preventing teen dating violence in your community. The tips, tools and case studies on this site will be helpful to anyone who is helping to shape how young teens see themselves and each other. No matter who you are, what you know, where you work, or where you live, you can make a difference.