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In the University of Georgia study, early daters had significantly worse study skills and were four times more likely to drop out of school than those who delayed dating.

Other studies have reached similar conclusions: Dating takes a toll at school.

By the time most children enter middle school their parents are starting to realize they’re not little kids anymore. Regardless, many are playing the part, wearing makeup, spending hours on Facebook and, much to their parents’ dismay, asking to go on dates.

Conventional wisdom says there’s no “right” age to start dating – it depends on the child’s maturity.

As victims of teen dating violence grow into young adults, they are more vulnerable to additional trauma, depression, suicidal thoughts, binge drinking and drug use. Young people stay in contact via social networking sites and cell phones, sometimes using these venues for harassment and abuse.

The connection between early dating and drug use goes beyond being an “early bloomer.” Kids who start dating early may be naturally more inclined to risk-taking.

There is also a practical element: If the romantic interest – or, interestingly enough, their friends – drink or use drugs, your child will likely follow suit to demonstrate their ability to fit into the partner’s life.

Keep in mind that just because one particular person does not share your interest, that does not mean that there is something wrong with you.

That particular match just isn't right - possibly because of timing or fundamental differences that aren't apparent to you at this stage.

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