I was shocked that she would even think about the concept of dating at such a young age. But first, we need to educate our kids about dating. The definition of dating has changed these days. The Takeaway It can be alarming and uncomfortable to think about your child dating. Teens in high school may define dating as being exclusive with each other physically which means that they don't "hook-up" with anyone else. How do we initiate the conversation, and what are some of the topics we should be prepared to discuss? And, this applies to both our sons AND daughters. Let's just say that I was sort of a goody two shoes and didn't want to upset my parents. Too Serious, Too Fast? Yet other teens do go on dates with each other that are somewhat more formal where one member of the couple picks up the other one in a car for an afternoon or evening together that has been pre-planned. Are lots of kids the same as yours already dating in the true sense of the word? Think of it as dating with training wheels. Last week the 12 year old asked when she can start dating. I don't want to be overly protective and strict like my parents were but I also don't want to be too permissive. Middle schoolers sometimes say they are dating when actually all they are doing is texting or even communicating via Facebook or in some other electronic manner. I am now a mother of a 12 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. Easing Heartbreak With first relationships come first breakups, and those can be painful.
Think of it as dating with training wheels. Take note of how your child reacts when you discuss dating. Remember that high school romances tend to be self-limiting, but look for warning signs too. Other things to consider include the following. Good luck with this tricky but important issue. We must let them know that dating is complicated and that we are available to talk to them about the intricacies of dating. The definition of dating has changed these days. When your child mentions dating or a girlfriend or boyfriend, try to get an idea of what those concepts mean to them. We need to talk about how to judge their readiness for getting involved in relationships. My husband and I have been discussing the answer to our daughter's question and we just don't know the right answer. After all, we are responsible for both the hearts and souls of our developing children. Is your child generally confident and happy? At this age, it probably means your son or daughter is sitting next to a special someone at lunch or hanging out at recess. The time that I've dreaded has just arrived. By the way, my husband was a late bloomer and started dating at We also need to teach them about sexuality and risk-taking. Groups play a big role in relaying information about who likes whom. Are lots of kids the same as yours already dating in the true sense of the word? Some kids may have progressed to hand holding as well. Sixteen is not a magic age either unless you and your teen are ready to talk about the ins and outs of dating. There is no right answer. I was shocked that she would even think about the concept of dating at such a young age. Make sure to act interested but not too interested in your teen's dating life with the hope that they will open up to you if they run into difficulties. Teenage relationships can gather steam quickly. The first order of business with your kids should be to ask them to define what they mean by dating.
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