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.
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.
This means a boy and girl who feel an attraction spend time together, whether alone or in groups, then text and/or Snapchat in-between.
A fairly high bar stands between this phase and actual “dating,” wherein one member of the couple — usually the boy — officially asks the other out.
“We don’t have the vocabulary and we don’t have the experiences to be able to help.
We’re learning this at the same time our children are navigating through it.” What follows is a teen dating primer to help your child — and you — forge the valley between child and young adult.What to watch for: It’s time to have the “values and expectations” talk if you haven’t already.This can mean discussing your family’s views on sex before marriage, as well as frank talk about abstinence, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases.On the other hand, she adds, “if you’re really dating, at some point you absolutely do want your parents to meet him.” Your teen doesn’t have to be dating or talking to anyone to have a date to the prom, winter formal or Sadie Hawkins dance.That’s because most kids go in large groups and are couples in name only.Yes, the prom as we knew it still exists, but even its drama pales in comparison to today’s boy-girl relationship issues.