Canadian teen dating
“We call it group dating, and we believe it can be really healthy and protective,” says Jennifer Connolly, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto who specializes in teen relationships.
Connolly, who has two adolescent daughters of her own, says that group dating is growing in popularity everywhere, including China and India.
“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.
“When you’re going out with someone, it’s much easier to be yourself when your friends are there too,” says Katie, 15, of Carleton Place, Ont.
“That’s just in the movies,” says Brett, 14, of Aurora, Ont.
“What happens in real life is you’ll be hanging out with your immediate circle of friends, including your girlfriend, and you go, ‘What’s everybody doing Friday night?
“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.