Child dating rules
Parents should try to stay on top of who their child is talking to or dating, and why — especially with younger teens.
This is a prime opportunity to find out what they find appropriate and desirable in a romantic partner, says Crystal Reardon, director of counseling for Wake County Public School System. You have to respect your children’s feelings but also want to help keep them safe.” What to watch for: Girls usually don’t want to bring someone they’re just talking to home to their parents, say both Megan and Jennifer, so be prepared for some flak if you insist.
The rest are either completely single or talking to someone.
“Maybe among the younger girls it’s more important to have a boyfriend, but as we’ve gotten older, it’s just not as important,” she says.
Kids hook up with people they’ve just met, casual acquaintances and even friends. Jennifer, when asked if hooking up with a guy meant a girl had a crush on him, says dismissively, “Nope.” And Megan concurs: “It would seem very strange to me that a girl would think there’s something there” after a hookup.
Of course, kids who already have relationships — and even some still in the talking phase — will go with that special person, but still as part of a group. If that’s the case, the only thing you can do is offer support and perhaps plan a trip or outing for that night.A fairly high bar stands between this phase and actual “dating,” wherein one member of the couple — usually the boy — officially asks the other out.Megan*, a senior at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, says only about 20 percent of these relationships result in an official couple.Jennifer*, a junior at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, notes that while it’s not cool to “talk” to more than one person at a time, some people go from one talking “relationship” to another without actually dating anyone, which tends to explain the relatively low numbers of actual couples.For instance, among Megan’s circle of about seven close girlfriends, only two have boyfriends.