Your pig-tailed tomboy lost her baby fat and bears a dangerous resemblance to Britney Spears.Or your Little Leaguer smells suspiciously like dads cologne and actually cares about his clothes. But how do you give them their freedom without losing some semblance of control?
By middle school, it's something to do to bug your parents.
And by high school, many couples sustain dating that lasts longer than the average college relationship.
From precocious puppy love in fourth grade to serious intimacy in high school, there are few topics that raise more anxiety questions for parents than dating.
child psychiatrist and author of the book, The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls (Plume, $13). It builds social skills, it helps lessen isolation and it helps them relate to people such as how to be intimate and how to be friends before having sex."Not only is dating a natural progression for adolescents, it's a critical factor in preparing them for the adult world.
"Most people don't want their kids to marry their first boyfriend or girlfriend in life," said Dr. D, former dean of students at Marin Academy in San Rafael, host of the syndicated radio show "Family Talk with Dr.
Mike" and author of several books on teen-agers including Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers (Celestial Arts, ).
He says teen dating is really practice for future adult relationships.
The question most parents want to know is when they should allow their child to date.
And whether it occurs any earlier in our society, especially as children today are bombarded by media images of dating and sexuality.