Smiling fondly and admirably at your concern...I don't believe, at that age, children really do "go out" so to speak...but they do act out this soap opera dating thing, b/c they are bombarded with "you have to be a couple to be successful"....and so, they say in school, "they're dating", and exchange rings or whatever it is they do today to signify they're dating.
We are socially a couple society...and children are people to...they have a need to feel accepted, as parental guidence at that age, starts to loose its charm...
Depends on the maturity and responsiblity of your child...and now you've stepped over into a new world with your child....me being me...I believe it's essential to encourage mental relationships with girls...given the fact that now is a cruical time to learn about taking great care and responsibility for someone else's feelings...being honest...admirable....and kind to each other...he can surely learn a lot about girls...how they think...it's time he socialize, and learn from his parents, at the same time, about all things that go with this responsibility.
At that age, I remember meeting fellas at movies...or community events...given rides to and from the movies by the parents...perhaps invite the girl to your home for dinner....but keep it family oriented if and when you decide.
This is also a good time to express the importance of a small job of sorts, cause dating takes money...movies, sodas, pop corn, candy...which will also takes some initiative...perhaps give him chores around the house...and pay him for it...or a summer paper route...which teaches responsiblity...how to be a gentleman when it comes to dating.
Teach him to never go to a home empty...to always open the door for a lady, to extend his hand, to help her out of the car, the tricks of listening to a woman and picking up their messages, and not to be afraid of rejection...
If he's invited for dinner, to take a flower for the gal or the mom cooking dinner...consideration and kindness and even a thank you note for dinner...teaches a child a whole new world of expression and manners, which can be fun for you, he, and his friends alike.
Treat her as you would one of his friends...and keep the communication lines open wide...if he is confident...he will soon decide, girl friends are as much fun and interesting as boy friends...and there is much to be learned, bout their emotions.
I think this is a great time to teach kids today, that a relationship is way more then physical...because I'm certain, he's been bombarded with the physical in watching movies...etc...and that was a movie, and relationships are way more then what the movie expressed.
I to this day, have some very cherished male friends, that were close friends in grade school and junior high school...and we never dated...oh, we acted out the course of dating like all other children did, breaking up, etc...but never really dated.
Also suggest reading about this...getting some pointers from the church or friends...this is a time in your son's life, where he's actually asking you, and waiting to hear your response...testing the waters so to speak...and if everyone else is doing it...he wants to try it to...
I'd simply make certain, that the so called dates include your family or hers...remember, your the parent...always...and now starts not only a new path so to speak for all of you, but by encouraging family outings, togetherness...well, simply, this time in my sons life was most memorable...all his friends, girls and boys alike, spent many hours in our home.
And remember, it's ok and surely a must to call the other parents, to make certain they 1. know that there children are safe with you...and 2. where your going and what time you'll be back. In doing so, you'll not only get a feeling where the parents are coming from, but will also tell a lot about how the child's behavior will be...but also...you'll meet a lot of the childrens parents and maybe make some new friends yourself?
We went camping, fishing...riding horses...we did the youth group thing with the church, and the kids loved it...we took trips to cities together, art, museums....festivals...picnics...swimming...even had special parties for the kids...where he could invite his friends...for instance, a super bowl party...or a celebration party of some kind, the kids love this interaction...and if the kids have fun, enjoy the ability to express with you and your wife...they will return...believe me. Get involved without him knowing...offer him the choice of bringing friends along. You'll have a great time, I promise.
Hehe, I remember one time, we had 8 neighborhood kids and David's friends in a van and we packed up soda's, sandwhiches, candy and off we went to a drive in movie...it was great fun...families that play together, stay together, and your son's friends will gravitate towards you and your home.
I liked the fact that you talked to him and asked him if he wanted to try it because everyone else was doing it? Good show! Gives him food for thought...and he'll think about it, regardless of what his reaction was.
This is a time which will bring back memories fond memories for you and you will remember what is was like being that age...and with this opportunity will also come, the perspective of what its like being that age...you'll flower yourself, while your child will also not be afraid to come to you for advice. Never get upset or yell, but talk...and always ask him what he thinks or how he thinks he should handle the situation...then offer some pointers perhaps he could try...you'll be amazed at how you will also become surgate to his friends as well.
Good luck...hope I've been of some help, this will be a great time in you and your child's life, if you get involved...