Parent guide to teenage dating

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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.

“We don’t have the vocabulary and we don’t have the experiences to be able to help.

That’s because most kids go in large groups and are couples in name only.

Johnny may still ask Suzy to be his date, but only after the “group” has decided who will go with whom.

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.

For instance, among Megan’s circle of about seven close girlfriends, only two have boyfriends.

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Dating Starts Earlier It’s not unusual for sixth-graders to say, “I have a boyfriend/girlfriend.” Often these relationships develop through texting.Teens also learn how to be both assertive and compromising, how to be giving to another and how to expect the same in return. Show them how you compromise, stick up for yourself, give and expect respect and argue but love your spouse. Tell girls that they do not need to have sex to keep a guy. Many kids are having these forms of sex because they tell themselves it’s not really sex. Then tell them about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.All of this is a sort of practice session in order to find “Mr.” or “Miss Right.” Unfortunately, too often teens start dating with no preparatory talks from their parents and then they can get into trouble. You hope they will wait to have sex, but if they don’t, it’s best that they protect themselves.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.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: Cellphones and social media can lay traps for preteens and young teens.

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