Appropriate teen dating age

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.

Even 14- and 15-year-olds can fall in love, Reardon says.

“To a child or teenager who is experiencing this, it is very real and very important,” she says.

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.

Kids today don’t plunge into dating without first going through the “talking to each other” phase.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.

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