Tween dating tips

Megan*, a senior at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, says only about 20 percent of these relationships result in an official couple.

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On the other hand, she adds, “if you’re really dating, at some point you absolutely do want your parents to meet him.”Events are a Group Experience Your teen doesn’t have to be dating or talking to anyone to have a date to the prom, winter formal or Sadie Hawkins dance.

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

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

The rest are either completely single or talking to someone.“Maybe among the younger girls it’s more important to have a boyfriend, but as we’ve gotten older, it’s just not as important,” she says.

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.

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.

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.

I wanted to confirm what I suspected—that it was a family outing and the boy was allowed to join them. She assured me that she and her also-twelve-year-old boyfriend were driven to the mall and dropped off, where they had dinner in the food court, wandered around for an hour, and then went to a movie. My intention has always been to do as my parents did and not let my kids date until they were sixteen—hoping they'd choose to wait even longer.

But I suddenly had to face the fact that I wasn't reading the situation clearly enough—I had blinders on.

Young teens have especially fragile egos, so negative peer feedback on social media can be especially damaging.

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