I remember exactly where I was when my 12-year-old son told me he wanted to go out with a girl. I'm pretty sure she was a friend, not a "girlfriend," but it was the first time I'd ever heard him say he wanted to go somewhere with a female. I was at work and tried as hard as I could to sound bored and nonchalant.
"Want to go the movies? Want me to drive or can her parents drive?"
"No, I don't want to go to a movie."
"Are you kidding?"
The point was, he wanted to go somewhere without his mom, with someone he liked hanging out with, who was not one of the guys. I was no help and not exactly welcome, I'm sure, but I had some use in being possible transportation.
I'd like to tell you more but I don't think he went anywhere with her, or if he did, one of her parents did the driving.
Are there rules for tween dates? I don't remember having any. I do remember a lot of calling--though boys calling our house when I was 12 were few and far between--but there was certainly a lot of talk about calling, and crushes, and eyeing each other at the beach. Then there were parties that always seemed really stupid, focused around throwing people together who had absolutely no interest in each other and getting them to kiss. Ish.
I also remember a lot of school dances that were both exciting and unsettling. I remember getting asked to dance by a boy I thought was really cute and turning him down because I was too painfully shy to talk to him. I still regret not having the courage to dance, just a little, in the dark.
In fact, I didn't have a real date until I was fourteen, but I think going out with friends when you're twelve is a great thing to do, because it at least takes the pressure off having to be semi-perfect on a "date."
Right now I'm writing book two of the Beat Street Series and my twelve-year-old character Ruby is finding her way through a budding romance. I haven't figured it all out, but her parents are the opposite of helicopter--though she is fictional, which means she's a whole lot easier than a real-life kid.
As for dating one of those, I looked up some possible guidelines for you, though, if you need them:
Tween Dating 101
Tween D8-ating: it's All About Texts
What Are the Guidelines for Tween Dating?
Tween couple: Garry Knight