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Instead, they spend time in casual group contexts where boys and girls are together.
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Kids can gain a lot from being in healthy supportive relationships; it adds to their sense of competence and self esteem.
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.
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.
Groups can offer a safe, protective way for kids to learn.
Unlike someone in their 30s, young teens want to experience dating from a much less committed and long-term perspective.