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Groups play a big role in relaying information about who likes whom.Even if your son is mooning over a certain girl, most 12-year-olds aren’t really ready for the one-on-one interaction of a true relationship.While there may be interest between two in particular, it’s not double-dating so much as a group heading out or meeting up at the movies or the mall. Consider their emotional maturity and sense of responsibility.This kind of group stuff is a safe and healthy way to interact with members of the opposite sex without the awkwardness that a one-on-one scenario can bring. For many kids, 16 seems to be an appropriate age, but it may be entirely suitable for a mature 15-year-old to go on a date, or to make your immature 16-year-old wait a year or two.

You go from changing their diapers, to teaching them how to tie their shoes, to eventually helping them understand dating and love.

It can be alarming and uncomfortable to think about your child dating.

But don’t pretend it’s not happening (or that it won’t at some point), whether your child has brought it up or not.

Don’t minimize, trivialize, or make fun of your child’s first relationship.

When you think about, it’s actually the first intimate relationship your child is making with someone outside of the family. Remember that high school romances tend to be self-limiting, but look for warning signs too.

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