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At the same time, dating even in groups can be too intimidating for some, and it is important for a child to know that not everyone is dating.
And if she is not - and even if she is just not interested yet-that is perfectly normal too.
"But I didn't start dating until I was 18," says Mom. According to one survey, nearly half of teens between the ages of 11 to 14 years old are dating.
"Parents should take an active role in teaching and helping their kids understand what normal dating behaviours are." By understanding what "healthy" dating is at this age, parents can set limits and protect their child.
At the end of the day, "it's better than saying they shouldn't date at all." "What is healthy is being in a group of boys and girls and transitioning from same-sex-only groups into groups in contact with the other sex," says Connolly.
There is interest, but they are not coupled up, which is normal.
Kids can gain a lot from being in healthy supportive relationships; it adds to their sense of competence and self esteem.
Despite the lack of commitments, kids are still gaining something from the experience - they are learning.
This learning phenomenon seems to carry over to all teens, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Parents should always be on the lookout for signs of abuse, especially if their child is having sex.
Abuse has been found to increase with sex at a young age.
Although defined gay identity is not typical until later adolescence or early adulthood, "interacting with the opposite sex at this age can be part of the gay youth's attempts to resolve his or her identity questions," says Connolly.
"Parents, educators, and adolescents can benefit from knowing that light sexual behaviours can be considered normal at this time, whereas heavy sexual behavior, especially intercourse, is not," says Connolly.
With this knowledge of the dating scene, why would anyone allow their tween to start dating?Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating