“The most important thing is that your boyfriend is not ashamed to show you off,” she says.“That’s a real relationship — where he says, ‘I appreciate you and I care about you.’ Both sides should be proud of each other.” Parents can use dating as a teaching tool.She advises teens not to be in a rush to start a relationship.
If a teen is not being treated appropriately, he or she needs to know what steps to take in order to stay safe.
Ask teens how many kids they know who date and they are quick to respond.
“Everyone,” says Durham eighth-grader Wyatt — though he adds, “Not me.” Mason, an 11th-grader in Charlotte, says “more than half” of his friends date. Brooke, a 10-grader in Raleigh, says the classic definition still applies: A longer-term relationship between two people who are romantically interested in each other.
Parents typically worry most about sex, but there are other issues to watch out for — like emotional and physical abuse, which parents often don’t consider until after their child experiences it.
Copeland sees “too many” college students who have suffered from relationship violence.