Movies, music and television can make young girls think that being in a relationship will make them “more desirable” or ‘more mature.” Seeing images of couples in movies or hearing songs about love can make a girl yearn for a romantic relationship of her own. Like many other decisions we make in adolescence (what we wear, what we look like, whom we hang out with), what others think is often an important motivator.Young girls may have friends who are dating or interested in dating, and it can feel isolating or may make her feel unattractive if she is the only girl in her group who isn’t actively pursuing a relationship.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.
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.This type of indirect peer pressure can be positive if the partner and their friends steer clear of drugs and alcohol, or it can be an early introduction to a potentially life-altering problem.For parents who are unaware of the people and dynamics at play, it’s difficult to know what you’re facing.“If a girl doesn’t have a strong sense of self, she may seek acceptance through dating,” says therapist and researcher Dr. “This, in fact, has a negative effect on her self-esteem. it doesn’t define you.” It is important that we encourage and praise girls for waiting to date.When a girl waits longer before starting to date, she can often have more time to get to know herself and put herself first.