Teenagers and dating rules

Yes, the prom as we knew it still exists, but even its drama pales in comparison to today’s boy-girl relationship issues.“It’s not your parents’ dating anymore,” concedes Robin Gurwitch, a clinical psychologist at the Duke Center for Child and Family Health.Even 14- and 15-year-olds can fall in love, Reardon says.“To a child or teenager who is experiencing this, it is very real and very important,” she says.Young teens have especially fragile egos, so negative peer feedback on social media can be especially damaging.Kids today don’t plunge into dating without first going through the “talking to each other” phase.

Jennifer*, a junior at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, notes that while it’s not cool to “talk” to more than one person at a time, some people go from one talking “relationship” to another without actually dating anyone, which tends to explain the relatively low numbers of actual couples.He feels comfortable with these early forays because “we’ve given him the talk about the need to respect young ladies and what we expect of him.” What to watch for: Smartphones and social media can lay traps for preteens and young teens.Parents should establish ground rules for texting members of the opposite sex and explain the importance of avoiding any form of “sexting.” Parents should also monitor their child’s text conversations and follow/friend them on any social media sites where they have accounts.Most experts and parents consulted for this article say group “dates” to the mall, movies or even a friend’s house are fine as long as they’re supervised, even if it means just being in the same shopping center.Ed Parrish, a banker and father of four from Graham, has noticed that his 13-year-old son has started asking his older sister if her friend’s younger sister can join her on visits to the Parrish home. Sometimes, his son will go to the movies with guy friends and “meet up” with a group of girls from school, Parrish says.

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