And as any parent knows, relationships coupled with changes in adolescent development can impact not only kids’ ability to cope with these changes, but also how they perform in school and in other activities.
It is a peak time of physical growth for boys and girls. Their appearance begins to be important to them so they brush their teeth and shower more. These physical changes often drive behavior, especially when it comes to their burgeoning sexuality—so figuring out when and how to respond is like a high-wire act for parents. They respond more strongly to social rewards like a friend’s approval or disapproval.So it’s important to let your child know that digital devices and social networking access are privileges that they need to respect, and to be clear about your expectations for behavior on the Internet and with texting.Here, parents are a critical factor, says Greenberg: “Parents need to know that they should monitor their kid’s activities and their activity on the Internet.Recently I was driving my 14-year-old son and his friends to soccer practice.In the backseat they were chattering away, and in the front seat, I was the proverbial fly on the wall. “Yeah, they have been hooking up for a while.” Dating? I wondered how they could be talking about these things when they couldn’t even drive a car or pay for the movies.In fact, changes in an adolescent’s brain around puberty may contribute to an adolescent's seeking out romantic relationships and expanding them into sexual relationships, says B. Casey, Ph D, director of Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. Adolescents don’t see dating that way, says Casey Corcoran, program director for Children & Youth at Futures Without Violence. The spectrum of informal to formal relationships is wide,” Corcoran says.“Young people don’t have a lot of experience with relationships.They were laughing about another friend who was “dating” a girl. It got me wondering what exactly “dating” means to middle schoolers, and whether it’s a good idea at that age.As many parents know, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 can be the most perplexing and frustrating humans on the planet.One recent study from the University of Georgia evaluated the dating habits of 624 students in grades 6 through 12 from six Georgia school districts over a seven-year period.Students who reported dating since middle school demonstrated the poorest study skills in the group and were four times more likely to drop out of high school.