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Megan*, a senior at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, says only about 20 percent of these relationships result in an official couple.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.On the other hand, she adds, “if you’re really dating, at some point you absolutely do want your parents to meet him.” 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 first, we need to educate our kids about dating.

We need to teach them about love, liking, sexuality, and emotionality.

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.

After all, we are responsible for both the hearts and souls of our developing children. Instead, we must look at both our own comfort level and our teen’s comfort level when discussing all matters related to dating.

And, if it is still a dreadfully uncomfortable topic, then the time isn’t right yet.

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

Kids today don’t plunge into dating without first going through the “talking to each other” phase.

” The respondents overwhelmingly chose 16 (74%) as the appropriate age, followed by 14 (23%). No wonder parents get gray hairs and are so confused.

As parents, it can be hard to know where to set the limits. How do we initiate the conversation, and what are some of the topics we should be prepared to discuss? As both a mother and a clinical psychologist, I too struggle with the correct response to this question. I personally think that 14 is a bit young and that 16 seems more appropriate.

Yes, the prom as we knew it still exists, but even its drama pales in comparison to today’s boy-girl relationship issues.

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