"What your tween really wants to talk about are feelings—the way her heart beats faster when she thinks about seeing the boy at band practice, or how good it feels when he says hi," says Benoit.Immediately steering the conversation toward sex ed does kids a real disservice, says Elizabeth Miller, M.One reason for the disconnect is that parents think of dates as actual physical events—going to the movies, for example, or a dance. They socialize online in a way that is invisible to adults, says Jenna Saul, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Marshfield, Wisconsin."But it's actually a good thing," says Jessica, "because every few days I read her chat logs and see her conversations are mercifully innocent and appropriate." This kind of monitoring also applies to texts.
"The important thing is that the policies be very clear, consistent and enforced." Kids should know exactly where parents stand when it comes to their digital lives, as well as actual dating.They value their opinions and rely on them for advice.That's why it's so important to use these years to get closer to your kids while laying the groundwork for healthy relationships during adolescence and beyond, says Benoit."Between the ages of 10 and 13, kids start having crushes and thinking about sexuality and romance, however they envision it," says Marilyn Benoit, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Villanova, Pennsylvania."So you have parents thinking their daughter has never dated while according to her, she's on her third boyfriend," she says. '" Try the same tactic with online activity: Find out whom she chats with and how that person makes her feel. But the point is to get regular conversations going.) As soon as the topic of a possible boyfriend or girlfriend arises, many parents wonder what to discuss.