Vicki Baker, 20 years old
Dating customs have changed since you were a teenager. 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.
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Most parents have some fears of the day their child will start dating. There are also things you can do to make dating easier for both of you. Talk to your teen about what a good relationship is. Make sure your child understands what it means to be in a loving and supporting relationship. You need to keep the lines of communication open and also reiterate to them how they should treat people and expect to be treated in a relationship.
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