What age should teens start dating

Some kids may have progressed to hand holding as well.

In high school, strong romantic attachments can be formed and things can get serious, fast.

So when it comes to dating, how can you prepare yourself to deal with potential questions and issues? This is a statistic that may strike fear in any parent’s heart, so brace yourself. It may not be the kind of “dating” you’re picturing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that on average, girls begin dating as early as 12 and a half years old, and boys a year older. You may be surprised to hear dating labels like “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” and “together” from the lips of your sixth-grader.

Circle of Moms member Lynn W., whose sixth grade son is among the youngest in his class, worries that some of his friends already have girlfriends.

"I think 11 -12 is still too young for that stuff...

“But if he’s so uncomfortable that he gets angry or shuts down or otherwise just can’t continue the conversation, that’s a big sign that he’s not ready for this.” If so, assure your child that there’s no hurry to start dating.

And he or she needs your guidance and support right now." You don’t want them learning the rules of dating from peers or the media, without your input.

The more you talk to your kids about what it means to be in a healthy relationship, the more likely they are to experience that, whenever they start dating.

When your child mentions dating or a girlfriend or boyfriend, try to get an idea of what those concepts mean to them.

Take note of how your child reacts when you discuss dating.

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