Researcher Pamela Orpinas of the University of Georgia said a study indicates children who date in middle school have worse study skills, more substance abuse and more likelihood to drop out of high school than kids who don't date. The researcher analyzed seven years of data of 624 northeast Georgia students, starting in sixth grade.
Orpinas advised parents to keep their lines of communication open to kids: "Tell your children that dating is not a rite of passage. Many kids do not date in middle school. They can wait. Wait a little bit; wait until high school."
The study was published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.