No dating for middle school students!

An interesting article exploded across the internet yesterday talking about the dangers of middle schoolers dating. It was fascinating to see a lot of worries I’ve had and heard documented in this long running study. Basically, they found that the sooner kids began dating, the more likely they were to have negative behavior in dating, school, academics, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Check out this snippet:

Middle school students who habitually date are twice as likely to use alcohol and drugs and often have worse study habits, prompting researchers to say that ‘dating should not be considered a rite of passage in middle school.’

Ah, young love.

Tweens are practically bursting with feelings of possibility and new-found joy when they discover that “special someone.” Then again, when you’re fresh out of puberty, love is awkward and can be heartbreaking.

New research from the University of Georgia (UGA) paints a grim picture of middle school daters—they are four times more likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to drink and smoke marijuana, and tend have worse teacher-reported study habits.

And this one:

“A likely explanation for the worse educational performance of early daters is that these adolescents start dating early as part of an overall pattern of high-risk behaviors,” Orpinas said in a press release.

Other amplifying factors include the emotional difficulties teens often face in middle and high school: bullying, depression, and anxiety. All of these have been linked to higher rates of smoking, drinking, and drug use.

You can read the full article here. What do you think? It certainly challenges parents to think through a strategy when it comes to our own children and the guidelines we set for them. For me, having some concrete information documenting the dangerous negative impacts of dating too young really helps bring some clarity to the issue.

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