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Pay attention to how they respond when you start a conversation about dating.“Of course it will probably be uncomfortable for both of you,” Anthony says.Watch TV shows together that focus on teen relationships.Use these shows to examine positive and negative interactions between characters. Use concrete examples to remind him of how good it felt when someone understood what he was saying or feeling. But your child’s age isn’t the biggest factor to consider when deciding whether he’s ready to pursue a romantic relationship. For example, how does he handle his responsibilities? This is important to keep in mind for several reasons: Rather than targeting a specific age for dating, use this precious time to help your child work on his social skills. Talk through examples such as whether to lean in for a kiss now or to wait. If your child has learning and attention issues, there may be as much as a three-year discrepancy between his chronological age and his social and emotional maturity.
Circle of Moms member Lynn W., whose sixth grade son is among the youngest in his class, worries that some of his friends already have girlfriends.
Point out that he can make other people feel good by trying to understand them.
Let your child know that he is developing lifelong skills.
adds that "The age for dating is different [in] every family," and that much depends on a particular child's level of preparedeness.
She suggests parents sit down with their pre-teens to discuss the issue calmly, before it even comes up.