Dating customs have changed since you were a teenager. The most striking difference is the young age at which children now begin dating: on average, twelve and a half for girls, and thirteen and a half for boys. However, you might not recognize it as dating per se. The recent trend among early adolescents is for boys and girls to socialize as part of a group. They march off en masse to the mall or to the movies, or join a gang tossing a Frisbee on the beach. While there may be the occasional romantic twosome among the members, the majority are unattached.
Ask the Expert: What Age Should Teenagers Start Dating?
What Age Is Appropriate for Dating: A Guide for Parents
There was a time when your little girl thought boys were icky and your son teased all the girls at the playground. Then puberty struck. Your daughter is now drawing hearts around a classmate's name and your son has admitted that he doesn't just like the girl on his soccer team, he like likes her. Laura Kauffman , a child and adolescent psychologist in Menlo Park, California. Kauffman's advice:. For more information about raising teenagers, see Taking the Angst out of Raising Teens.
When To Let Your Teenager Start Dating
As I watch the kids spill out of our local middle school building after school, I see more than a few who are holding hands or have their arms around one another. My first reaction was: Dating? But they seem so young! And of course, they are.
Circle of Moms member Lynn W. I'd say maybe 9th grade might be okay, but am not really sure. Many moms say that the dating issue is likely to come up for the first time during the tween years, and that it can make a parent surprisingly anxious. But moms who've already been through this stage say it needn't be cause for stress; the key is to figure out whether your particular child is truly ready to begin dating.