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It’s obvious a lot has changed among teens in recent years.For one, group dating is more popular than ever (not to be confused with double dating, this is when girls and boys hang out en masse, usually at a mall or a restaurant).For instance, Atkins suggests asking your child why they think someone acted the way they did, and whether they made a good or healthy choice. It's your job, as their parent, to figure out if your child is ready to handle the level of dating they have in mind.Pay attention to how they respond when you start a conversation about dating.As a result, fewer boys are actually asking girls out on one-on-one dates.All but gone are the days when an invite to a movie came by way of a phone call or a shy, in-person meeting.
Their lack of maturity leaves them ill-prepared to handle some of the common emotions and issues that couples face, and without many peers going through similar experiences, they’re left to figure things out for themselves.
Parents may joke that it’s an experience they want their child to have -- just not until somewhere around the age of 30. A 6th grade girl may say, "Jacob is my boyfriend," but what does that mean?
Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York.
Instead, if they answer your questions or seem eager to date, you can steer the conversation toward reassuring them that these feelings are normal. Are they just trying to keep up with their friends?
Are they confident and able to take care of themselves? Do they look physically more mature than they are, emotionally?