Dating boys and girls

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.

And if she is not - and even if she is just not interested yet-that is perfectly normal too.

It also seems that peers play a role in holding adolescents back from going further.

"Although it varies by group, girls especially tend to have their own guidelines and rules that tend to limit extensive sexual relationships," says Connolly.

"If you see physical bruises, it is quite serious abuse, but more often it is much more minor." Pushing, shoving, aggressive, and controlling behaviour are more common.

Although defined gay identity is not typical until later adolescence or early adulthood, "interacting with the opposite sex at this age can be part of the gay youth's attempts to resolve his or her identity questions," says Connolly.

"Parents, educators, and adolescents can benefit from knowing that light sexual behaviours can be considered normal at this time, whereas heavy sexual behavior, especially intercourse, is not," says Connolly.

Connolly suggests encouraging your child to hang out with their friends at your house where you can monitor them and watch them interact.

If you think your child is being abused, you need to engage your child in an open discussion in order to help.

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