High school boys and dating

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They just don’t have a lot to compare it to.” So within this murky relationship ecology you might hear your teen say, “I’m going out with…” or “Jared and Ashley are hooking up.” Of course, the language varies depending on who you talk to, but in most cases, these relationships last an average of a few weeks.

And as any parent knows, relationships coupled with changes in adolescent development can impact not only kids’ ability to cope with these changes, but also how they perform in school and in other activities.

“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.

So coupling an adolescent’s risk-taking with his love for reward plus the innate need to establish his own sexual identity can mean that previously innocuous behavior can lead, if unchecked, to high-risk activities. While most people think of dating as getting in the car, picking someone up, and taking them to the movies or dinner, that’s an adult’s definition.

In fact, changes in an adolescent’s brain around puberty may contribute to an adolescent's seeking out romantic relationships and expanding them into sexual relationships, says B. Casey, Ph D, director of Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. Adolescents don’t see dating that way, says Casey Corcoran, program director for Children & Youth at Futures Without Violence. The spectrum of informal to formal relationships is wide,” Corcoran says.

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.

Lead researcher Pamela Orinpas says that the study also found that these early daters were twice as likely to have consumed alcohol, smoked cigarettes, and used marijuana in middle school and high school, all risky behaviors. One of the biggest take-home messages from the study, Orinpas says, is that kids don’t have to be dating at that age.

Orinpas believes that the stresses of middle school dating are similar to those of coworkers dating and breaking up: “Being in middle school and high school, you sit with the same person from 7 a.m. “At this level we deal a lot with friendship issues, but at the core, it is typically about the romantic relationships intertwined.

Some relationships are very innocent and age-appropriate, some are in the middle and some are having sexual relations with a boyfriend or girlfriend then move on to the next,” Smith says. Parents need to have these conversations early and often with their children.

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Recently I was driving my 14-year-old son and his friends to soccer practice.

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