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Dating is only one of many possible ways to develop self-esteem.

"Kids at this age want relationships that are fun, and that can bring them together to learn about boys and girls. Unlike someone in their 30s, young teens want to experience dating from a much less committed and long-term perspective.

There is interest, but they are not coupled up, which is normal.

Kids can gain a lot from being in healthy supportive relationships; it adds to their sense of competence and self esteem.

At the same time, dating even in groups can be too intimidating for some, and it is important for a child to know that not everyone is dating.

And if she is not - and even if she is just not interested yet-that is perfectly normal too.

Putting limits on what kids can do gives them time to understand in a more relaxed and informal setting, while giving them the confidence and skills they will need to move away from group settings.

Like adults, most kids think their peers are having more sex than they actually are.

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Before you start having sex, it’s important you understand what giving (and getting) sexual consent means. According to the , it’s a criminal offence for any kind of sexual activity to take place between two people where one or both participants is under 16.

With this knowledge of the dating scene, why would anyone allow their tween to start dating?

"Teenagers often wonder two things: how to date and what a healthy relationship is," says Jennifer Connolly, Ph D, Director of the La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University.

"But I didn't start dating until I was 18," says Mom. According to one survey, nearly half of teens between the ages of 11 to 14 years old are dating.

More and more parents are faced with this dilemma today.

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