With this knowledge of the dating scene, why would anyone allow their tween to start dating?
"Teenagers often wonder two things: how to date and what a healthy relationship is," says Jennifer Connolly, Ph D, Director of the La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University.
A recent study from the University of Georgia conducted by Pamela Orpinas and colleagues and published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence suggests that the answer may be no.
Perhaps middle school and dating should be mutually exclusive.
Groups can offer a safe, protective way for kids to learn.
But at the same time, parents need to discuss not going too far too fast.
There are several possible explanations of why early dating may lead to other subsequent problematic behaviors.
“One of the best things you can do for your daughter is not to assume she or other girls are, by nature, over-dramatic, mean, or gossipy,” says Lyn Mikel Brown. Avoid ‘girls will be girls’ or ‘girls are so mean to each other’ messages.
Appreciate and support your daughter’s best impulses, praise her when she takes risks, especially if they involve going against the social tide, support her individuality, and downplay concerns about what other people think.
This survey also found that sex is considered a large part of dating by teens.
Perhaps even more alarmingly, it also found significant levels of abuse in these relationships.