The most striking difference is the young age at which children now begin dating: However, you might not recognize it as dating per se. The recent trend among early adolescents is for boys and girls to socialize as part of a group. They march off en masse to the mall or to the movies, or join a gang tossing a Frisbee on the beach. While there may be the occasional romantic twosome among the members, the majority are unattached.
If anything, youngsters in the group spend as much time interacting with their same-sex friends as they do with members of the opposite sex. Ron Eagar, a pediatrician at Denver Health Medical Center, views group dating as a healthy way for adolescents to ease into the dating pool rather than dive in. Many of us feel that way when we imagine our son or daughter disappearing into the night arm in arm with a young lady or a young man. As a general guideline, Dr.
Eagar advises not allowing single dating before age sixteen. You might add or subtract a year depending on how mature and responsible your youngster is.
Community standards might be a consideration. Are other parents letting their teens date yet? Love and Relationships While parent-teen conversations must encompass the hormones, hydraulics and other biological aspects of love and attraction, equal time should be devoted to thoughtful discussions about love as the most powerful and heartfelt of all human emotions.
Love is a subject of unending fascination for adolescents. We both deserve the best, right? Just look at the words used to describe affection between two young people: If you see schoolwork start to suffer and friendships fall by the wayside, it is reasonable to restrict the number of times Romeo and Juliet can rendezvous during the school week. High-school romances tend to have limited life spans. Those that endure until graduation day rarely survive the post-high-school years. If one or both young people leave home, the physical distance has a way of opening an emotional distance between them, and eventually the relationship coasts to a halt.
Helping Your Teenager Cope The breakup of a romance can be painful at any stage of life. Still, when an adult relationship ends badly, at least the wounded party knows from having weathered other disappointments that the all-too-familiar hollow feeling and veil of depression will inevitably lift.
The first time they experience romantic rejection, the sadness can seem bottomless. The vast majority of kids, though, will get over their hurt and be fine. Moms and dads can aid the healing process by being generous with their time, patience and hugs.
A little extra sensitivity helps, too, for in this situation, knowing what not to say is as important as choosing the right words. But it will, and probably sooner than you think. Remember, too, that teen relationships on the wane frequently flicker on again.
Allow your child to feel sad. However, blues that linger for more than a few weeks may warrant professional counseling. Share a story from your own adolescence. We spent every moment together. I moped for weeks. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.