French teen dating rules

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“So from a parenting perspective,” says Connolly, who is also the director of the La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution, “you want to know who your kids are friends with.” Kids like the security of having their friends around.“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.

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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.

“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.

“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.

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