My daughter was 11 when she went to her first school dance.I put on a brave face as she got out of the car in her polka-dot dress (with a denim jacket for her signature swagger). But what I really wanted to say as she disappeared into the crowd of sixth-grade bravado was, "Wait—come back!When your teen starts dating, it can be exciting and a little scary.

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That’s because struggling in school can lower kids’ self-esteem.

Difficulties with self-control, social skills and other common challenges can make adolescents more inclined to make poor choices.

Discussing dating with your teens before school begin. Yes, as the babies get older their hormones do begin to kick into gear with topics that include dating.

If you were to talk with your tweens about dating and going to school, have you ever thought about how the conversation would turn out? After recently concluding a workshop, I was approached by several tweens about my views on being old enough to date.

Today's tweens have been exposed to an unprecedented number of images of sexual activity through television, the movies, video games, and the Internet.

If your tween wants to date, here's what you should know about dating and tween attitudes about relationships. Gone are the days when tween dating meant holding hands, giggling, and splitting ice cream sundaes at the local soda shop.

"Between the ages of 10 and 13, kids start having crushes and thinking about sexuality and romance, however they envision it," says Marilyn Benoit, M.

D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Experts say parents can't do much to protect kids from the bumps and bruises of first crushes beyond keeping the lines of communication open and offering comfort.

That's no simple task—kids seem to leapfrog from sweet curiosity about the opposite gender to demanding to know when they're allowed to date to holding hands, kissing and more.

But it’s natural to worry that adolescents will try to grow up too fast or might not understand what they’re getting into.