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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.
"Even in middle school studies, we have seen that abuse and aggression can occur.
It can happen out of the blue for a kid," Connolly says.
"Parents should take an active role in teaching and helping their kids understand what normal dating behaviours are." By understanding what "healthy" dating is at this age, parents can set limits and protect their child.
At the end of the day, "it's better than saying they shouldn't date at all." "What is healthy is being in a group of boys and girls and transitioning from same-sex-only groups into groups in contact with the other sex," says Connolly.
This survey also found that sex is considered a large part of dating by teens.
"Although it varies by group, girls especially tend to have their own guidelines and rules that tend to limit extensive sexual relationships," says Connolly.
Connolly points to the reality that few kids actually rush onto the dating scene.
Instead, they spend time in casual group contexts where boys and girls are together.
In her study published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Connolly found the majority of 12- and 13-year-old adolescents were largely confined to sexually "light activities." These include hugging, holding hands, and kissing.
The study also found that three out of four young teens have never sexually touched or been touched above or below the waist.