Dating teenage children

The more time teens spend with a love interest, the more likely they are to use drugs.

Those most at risk for substance abuse are girls who date boys two or more years older than them.

Even at this early age, more than half say a friend has experienced some type of dating abuse and the rates are even higher (70 percent) among those who have sex before age 14.

As victims of teen dating violence grow into young adults, they are more vulnerable to additional trauma, depression, suicidal thoughts, binge drinking and drug use. Young people stay in contact via social networking sites and cell phones, sometimes using these venues for harassment and abuse.

By the time most children enter middle school their parents are starting to realize they’re not little kids anymore. Regardless, many are playing the part, wearing makeup, spending hours on Facebook and, much to their parents’ dismay, asking to go on dates.

Conventional wisdom says there’s no “right” age to start dating – it depends on the child’s maturity.

#5 Emotional Health – Middle school romances can have a lasting impact on young people’s emotional development.

In one study, children who made healthy partner choices became mentally and socially healthier when assessed 11 months later.

For parents who are unaware of the people and dynamics at play, it’s difficult to know what you’re facing.#3 Early Sex – An obvious question on most parents’ minds when their children start dating is: Does this mean they’re having sex?On average, teens hold off on sex until around age 17.But new research suggests there is probably a “wrong” age to start dating: middle school.If your pre-teen is in pursuit of a junior-high romance, make sure you’ve talked with them about these five risks: #1 Drug Use – Building on a large body of research, a recent study from the University of Georgia found children who date in middle school use alcohol and marijuana twice as much as their peers who hold off on dating until high school.The connection between early dating and drug use goes beyond being an “early bloomer.” Kids who start dating early may be naturally more inclined to risk-taking.

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