Dating for 12 year olds
Instead, they spend time in casual group contexts where boys and girls are together.
There is interest, but they are not coupled up, which is normal.
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.
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.
Groups can offer a safe, protective way for kids to learn.
These behaviors are not healthy at this age and carry both behavioural and physical risks, emphasizes Connolly.
In order to deal with this, parents must have good communication with their child, which may require outside help.
"Although it varies by group, girls especially tend to have their own guidelines and rules that tend to limit extensive sexual relationships," says Connolly.