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s prom season approaches, it’s easy to conjure romantic thoughts of dating rituals we experienced long ago.
Perhaps the thought of all those sweet young couples slow dancing under paper streamers coaxes a nostalgic sigh or two. If you’re the parent of a child who has recently started middle school, get ready for a decidedly new dating scene.
Broken hearts after a breakup are real, too, and just as with adults, there’s no timetable for recovery.
What to watch for: If your teen experiences signs of depression weeks after a breakup, appears to be arguing or behaving differently with their boyfriend/girlfriend, withdraws from other friends or shows signs of physical abuse such as bruises or scratches, check with your doctor, school counselor or a community psychologist right away, advise both Gurwitch and Reardon.
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.
To college students, hooking up means having casual sex.
The group eats dinner together, poses for pictures together and attends the dance together. ’” What to watch for: Officially, it’s OK for kids who aren’t part of a large friend group to go with just a date or with another couple, and it’s OK for kids to go “stag.” Unofficially, there are unwritten rules that your teen knows might discourage him from attending even if he wants to.
For high schoolers, it can mean that, too, but usually refers to making out at parties or get-togethers.
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.
For instance, among Megan’s circle of about seven close girlfriends, only two have boyfriends.
The rest are either completely single or talking to someone.He feels comfortable with these early forays because “we’ve given him the talk about the need to respect young ladies and what we expect of him.” What to watch for: Smartphones and social media can lay traps for preteens and young teens.