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“This ‘liquid courage,’ which is far more common than other drugs, makes kids get over their natural modesty and social awkwardness,” says Kim Martyn, a long-time sexual health educator in Toronto.
Parents must acknowledge this reality and address safety issues around the risks of drinking, says Martyn, who’s also the mother of two young-adult daughters.
“If you pretended to be somebody else, your friends would go, ‘Whoa, why are you acting so weird?
’” Also, there’s no need to pre-arrange that cellphone call to get you out of a date you’re not enjoying.
” Catherine: “OK.” The two Toronto-area teens have been going out since last April, although rarely on their own.
In their group of eight friends, the four boys and four girls are paired off into couples, but prefer to spend their time all together, sitting around and talking at one another’s houses, grabbing something to eat, going to a movie. “We just feel better when we’re together,” Catherine explains.
“I think that’s just ridiculous,” says Charles, who doesn’t feel ready for that kind of intimacy with girls.
“I just spent the weekend at my grandparents’ place moving rocks.
That’s my idea of fun.” There’s certainly been an increase in boy-girl parties at younger ages, including mixed sleepovers.
“If I get bored [on a date], my friends keep things interesting,” Katie says.
The downside for parents: You may not even be aware that your child has a boyfriend or girlfriend.
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A couple may never see or speak to each other outside of school, although they may well enjoy the new status accorded them by their peers.