High school boys and dating

On the other hand, students who never or hardly ever dated consistently had the best study skills and demonstrated the least risky behavior. “They feel pressure to date—that’s the cool thing to do,” she says.

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So keeping watch for these changes can be really critical for parents.

One recent study from the University of Georgia evaluated the dating habits of 624 students in grades 6 through 12 from six Georgia school districts over a seven-year period.

The key is to guide, not control, your children in appropriate ways to interact with other kids, says Patricia Nan Anderson, Ed D, educational psychologist and author of Parenting: A Field Guide.

“Part of learning how to manage one’s own affairs includes making decisions so have a heart to heart with your child,” she says.

Also work to compromise on limits to social interactions which might include curfew, adult supervision, acceptable locations, and what is meant by “dating,” then follow through, says Barbara Greenberg, a teen and adolescent psychologist. There’s no doubt that electronic influence on dating is pervasive.

So it’s important to let your child know that digital devices and social networking access are privileges that they need to respect, and to be clear about your expectations for behavior on the Internet and with texting.

“Unfortunately, it seems we have more kids choosing to be involved in sexual relationships at a much earlier age.” So what can parents do to help their kids navigate the difficult waters of dating during middle school? “The first time that you talk with your child about relationships shouldn’t be when there is a big problem,” Corcoran says.

“It needs to be an ongoing regular conversation.” Guide, don’t control.

Together, they cited information from 15 references.

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