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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.
Kids hook up with people they’ve just met, casual acquaintances and even friends. Jennifer, when asked if hooking up with a guy meant a girl had a crush on him, says dismissively, “Nope.” And Megan concurs: “It would seem very strange to me that a girl would think there’s something there” after a hookup.
What to watch for: It’s time to have the “values and expectations” talk if you haven’t already.
This is a prime opportunity to find out what they find appropriate and desirable in a romantic partner, says Crystal Reardon, director of counseling for Wake County Public School System. You have to respect your children’s feelings but also want to help keep them safe.”What to watch for: Girls usually don’t want to bring someone they’re just talking to home to their parents, say both Megan and Jennifer, so be prepared for some flak if you insist.“You never want the guy to think you’re going, ‘Oh, we’re dating, so I want you to meet them,’” Megan says.
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.
But it can also be a confusing time and a difficult time for parents too. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital, has some advice. Your relationship with your partner is a model for how your teen will behave with others. Being manipulated, verbally put down, pushed or slapped and kept isolated from other relationships are all signs of an abusive relationship. Tell them they need to be honest and clear in communications. Make them think seriously about what sexual intimacy really means to them.
For high schoolers, it can mean that, too, but usually refers to making out at parties or get-togethers.We’re learning this at the same time our children are navigating through it.”What follows is a teen dating primer to help your child — and you — forge the valley between child and young adult.Dating Starts Earlier It’s not unusual for sixth-graders to say, “I have a boyfriend/girlfriend.” Often these relationships develop through texting.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.
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.