In fact, Gowen did a study of girls who had older boyfriends, and she found that freshmen girls who dated junior or senior boys were more likely to go further, and to be forced into doing things they didn't want to do.
A good rule of thumb is not to date anyone who is more than one grade ahead of you, Choate says.
"Just because a girl looks like she's 16 when she's only 11, it doesn't mean that psychologically or emotionally she's ready to date older boys...
they are so much more skilled at this dating game than she would be, and they can manipulate her and hurt her," says Laura Choate, Ed D, a licensed professional counselor, associate professor of counselor education at Louisiana State University, and author of the book, Girls' and Women's Wellness: Contemporary Counseling Issues and Interventions.
not because you're the only person in your group who doesn't have a special someone," Gowen says. Also get your friends' input about whether the person is worth your time.
One very important question you need to ask yourself is whether this person is safe for you to date.
You don't have to let the other person be in control of the date." Abuse is more common in teen relationships than you might think.
Before you ask out the object of your affection, or say, "yes" to someone who's interested in you, go through this checklist of questions to make sure you're ready to handle whatever might happen in your new relationship.
About half of 15- and 16-year-olds say they've dated, but just because you've reached a certain age doesn't really mean you're ready to date.
If you really want to be with this person and your parents won't give in, try talking to them about it. Gowen suggests trying to show your parents how mature and responsible you are.
Don't start off with a confrontational attitude -- "Why won't you let me date? Remind them about the chores you've done around the house and how well you've been keeping up with your schoolwork.