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Is She Too Young for Dating?

Teen pregnancy expert Sarah Brown on deciding when to let your adolescent begin dating.

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Questions: "My daughter is 12 years old and is already showing an interest in boys. What should I do if she wants to begin to date?"

Don't Court Trouble While it's okay and perfectly normal to be interested in boys, she is too young to date -- regardless of what her friends at school might be doing.

Group activities among young people are fine and often fun, but allowing teens to begin steady, one-on-one dating much before age 16 can lead to trouble.

Talk about this issue and your rules before she wants to start dating, otherwise, she'll think you just don't like a particular person or invitation. And be especially careful about the "older boy" situation.

Girls may be attracted to older guys -- they often have more money, seem cooler, or even have a car. But we know now that young girls who date much older boys often end up in terrible situations, including unplanned, unwanted and unprotected sex.

From the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

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