Parents of dating

So when it comes to dating, how can you prepare yourself to deal with potential questions and issues? This is a statistic that may strike fear in any parent’s heart, so brace yourself. It may not be the kind of “dating” you’re picturing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that on average, girls begin dating as early as 12 and a half years old, and boys a year older. You may be surprised to hear dating labels like “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” and “together” from the lips of your sixth-grader.

Perhaps the most common question heard nowadays at single parent workshops is: ''How do I conduct my own love life, freely and comfortably, without psychologically harming my child?

'' The mental health professionals offer no easy answers.

You go from changing their diapers, to teaching them how to tie their shoes, to eventually helping them understand dating and love.

So, when the man comes over, I tell Jimmy to go watch TV.'' When a relationship becomes more serious, still other problems may appear, but not insoluable ones, according to the experts.

In the matter of sex, as in the matter of dating, honesty is again the recommended policy. Lee Salk points out that the child who receives truthful answers to his own questions about sex has no trouble understanding that adults have sexual needs and that a man may sleep in his mother's bed.

''C OME for dinner,'' she told him on the third date. ''I can't imagine what got into them.'' Other single mothers and fathers can well imagine.

''I want you to meet my children.'' He arrived with flowers and a bottle of wine and not a twinge of foreboding. Seven-year-old Lisa positioned herself beside him on the sofa and began force-feeding him with potato chips. When a parent begins dating again after the divorce, children have a way of complicating the picture.

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