Dating at age 14

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Here is how 14-year-old Catherine started going out with the guy who is now her boyfriend.At recess one day, her best friend yelled over to the unsuspecting boy, “Catherine wants to snog!The peer group provides checks and balances, along with feedback about what’s OK and what’s not, so kids are less likely to get out of their depth — especially in terms of conflict, expectations for behaviour and sex.

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These types of short-lived pairings — relationships in name only — jump in numbers by grades six and seven, when alcohol increasingly becomes part of many parties.But, she adds reassuringly, many of these youthful relationships, sustained largely by rumour and reputation, will have dissolved within days or weeks.Regardless, there are still many, many kids who haven’t the slightest interest in going out.“If you pretended to be somebody else, your friends would go, ‘Whoa, why are you acting so weird?’” Also, there’s no need to pre-arrange that cellphone call to get you out of a date you’re not enjoying.“This ‘liquid courage,’ which is far more common than other drugs, makes kids get over their natural modesty and social awkwardness,” says Kim Martyn, a long-time sexual health educator in Toronto.

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