Middle school and dating

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Teen romance may have been dissected a million ways by popular culture, but that dubious analysis pales in comparison to a recent study that followed the arc of teen dating from grades 6 to 12.

“We see four trajectories,” says Pamela Orpinas, a professor of behavioral research at the University of Georgia and the lead author of the study, which included 600 students.

“Parents need to be able to assess in middle school what type of risk taker their adolescent or young eighth grader is,” she says.“Some kids never or hardly ever dated; some kids did not date during middle school and started dating during high school.Others dated all the time—or at least that’s what they reported.At this tender age, your child barely knows who she is and lacks the judgment to make good decisions about such a relationship.Before you allow or celebrate your middle-schooler’s boyfriend or girlfriend, consider these pros and cons of middle school romance.

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