Teens and dating: Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors are available to talk about hook ups, break ups, make ups and more in time for the launch of new relationship content at kidshelpphone.ca

TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - "My parents are sorta over protective.  as soon as I told them I liked a boy and he liked me, my mom hit the roof. Last week I decided to kiss him on the cheek so I did. I am afriad to tell my mom because she will flip. But at the same time I feel guilty. What do I do??"
- young person posting on kidshelpphone.ca

Did you know that 65 per cent of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 report having had some type of romantic relationship in the past 18 months?

At Kids Help Phone, 18 per cent of online and phone contacts in spring 2013 related to peer relationships, including dating.

This October, Kids Help Phone launched newly updated dating content at kidshelpphone.ca to enhance the support offered to young people who have questions about dating. Parents and caring adults are also encouraged to explore this new content as a way to help build dialogue when the topic of dating comes up.

"At Kids Help Phone, we often hear from young people who are concerned that their parents or guardians won't approve of a new girlfriend or boyfriend," says Duane, a professional counsellor at Kids Help Phone. "We also hear from youth who are unsure about how to talk to their parents about dating, or who might not be allowed to date. Dating itself raises a lot of questions in young people since they are just learning to navigate new kinds of relationships. But it also raises a lot of questions at home as youth and their parents or caring adults discuss rules, concerns, and expectations that relate to dating."

Now, young people can find additional support and tips at kidshelpphone.ca to help them talk to their parents about dating. They'll also find clinically vetted information about healthy dating strategies, long-distance dating, breaking up, and more.

Did you know:

  • More than 60% of parents have rules around dating (Madsen, 2008). - Adolescents often perceive parents as one of the most accurate sources of dating information available to them (Madsen, 2008). - Open conversations with parents about dating may be harder for sexual minority youth, as 23% of gay, lesbian and bisexual youth say that telling their families about their sexual orientation would be "extremely troubling" only 29% said it would be "no problem."
  • 20 to 40% of adolescents between grades six and nine, and 60 to 80% in grades 10 and above, report having a current dating partner (Carlson & Rose, 2007).
  • One study of 1,510 youth found that 41.6% of third-graders, 50.3% of fifth-graders, 63% of seventh-graders and 60% of ninth-graders reported no romantic relationship (Carlson & Rose, 2007).
  • Positive qualities such as intimacy and acceptance in parent-child relationships can carry over into dating relationships (Kan et al., 2008).

Tips for parents and other caring adults about talking to a teen about dating:

Talk about dating rules. Does your family have dating rules? Talk openly about them with the young people in your life. Parents and caring adults can be a source of support and guidance when it comes to dating, and it's helpful for young people to understand where you're coming from.

Help them cope with rejection. Hearing "no" is hard for anyone. A young person who has been rejected by someone they like might be feeling embarrassed, hurt, or upset. Even though rejection is something that many people experience, it can take some time to learn how to cope with it. Offer to spend some time together with a young person going through rejection, so you have a chance to do something fun together, like going to a movie or taking a family hike. Encourage the young person in your life to make plans with friends, and remind them that Kids Help Phone is always there if they want to speak with a professional counsellor: 1-800-668-6868. You might also want to explore the new dating content at kidshelpphone.ca together, and get to know Kids Help Phone's free Always There app (kidshelphone.ca/alwaysthere).

Validate the significance of a break up. Break ups can be devastating for people at any age - for youth, they can be particularly challenging. Don't minimize what a young person is going through if they turn to you for support after a break up. Whether it was their decision to end the relationship or not, it is important for young people to know that someone will take their feelings seriously.

Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors are available for media interviews to talk about dating and offer more tips for parents and guardians to help open up the conversation at home.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for our expertise in providing vital, innovative, and professional counselling services to children and youth. Since 1989 we have offered children, teens and young adults in Canada a critical lifeline of hope and support, through our free, anonymous and confidential service. Our professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources online and by phone. Our internationally recognized, award-winning websites are considered a model of child-focused interactive design, and offer online counselling forums and engaging, therapeutic games, tools and information to encourage resilience and self-care. A community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no guaranteed ongoing financial support from government or any large funder and relies on community and corporate support to keep our essential service available. We're there for the *6.5 million young people in Canada, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English and in French.

*Source: represents the age group Kids Help Phone serves (from five to 20) according to Statistics Canada, 2013.

For further information:


SOURCE: Kids Help Phone

For further information:

Please contact Elizabeth-Alice Worth to schedule an interview:

1-800-268-3062 ext. 8955


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