BETSY DAVIS knew she would be having this conversation with her elder son one day. After all, it goes with the job of being a parent. Davis, the volume of her voice rising with each word. Some parents might consider Ms. Davis fortunate, for they report having similar conversations with children even younger, only 9 or In some communities, children are taking an interest in pairing off with the opposite sex at a datng in life when their parents' generation was preoccupied with baseball practices or ballet lessons.

Their fascination with dating has little to do with budding sexuality, psychologists say. Instead, it is largely an attempt to act grown-up, a force 4th grade dating now pervades childhood more than ever before. Taffel, a clinical psychologist in New York. Taffel described a typical date 4th grade dating New York 4th grade dating an afternoon at the movies. The children either walk there or are driven by a parent.

Afterward, a parent picks them up and brings them to one of the children's homes for dinner. Typically, he said, these dates are preceded by ''a lot of wrangling'' at home between sating and child. Also, there are usually intense negotiations between the parents of the boy and girl, with the parents having ''as much contact as the datijg, if not more,'' he said. The children, he added, ''often have absolutely no idea of what they are supposed to be doing, especially the boys, even though they talk very hip.

Davis, who lives in Demarest, N. In fact, to bolster his plea for permission to date, her son cited one of his friends, who takes a girlfriend on dates to the movies and local pizza parlor. Not all parents in the community agree with her, Ms. Terry Tierney, the father of a year-old son, said he was datign when the fifth grader told him he wanted to double-date with a friend. Tierney, a bond trader at the Chicago Board of Trade who lives in Wilmette, Ill. But today these year-olds want to be unsupervised, just boy-girl.

Early dating is found primarily in affluent communities, said Dr. David Elkind, a professor of child study at Tufts University who wrote ''The Hurried Child'' Addison-Wesley, Elkind said early dating also reflects other contemporary influences on children. As an example, Dr. Elkind said he recently heard of birthday parties in Miami that take place in beauty salons, where 9- and year-old girls have their hair and nails done.

Brenda Vander Mey, an associate professor of sociology at Clemson University, said that the rise in early dating also reflects growing peer pressure: Indeed, parents and psycholgists say peer pressure dting pushing some children into dating at a time when they are not at all interested and want nothing to do with it. They also say children may be deeply relieved, if not overjoyed, when their parents take a strong stand and refuse to let them date.

Taffel, the New York psychologist. Antoinette Saunders, a clinical psychologist in Evanston, Ill. Joe costume on weekends, and having to pair off with a girl to fit in,'' she said. Dating can 4th grade dating a stressful situation for kids. It has everything to do with how kids think they grwde be acting, not what they really want to do. In New Jersey, Ms. Davis 4rh that peer pressure pushes year-olds in her town to attend a monthly dance at the local school.

But if you don't go, you are out, so it is a no-win situation. Her son Craig said dating is ''like a status symbol'' in his circle of friends. He also called it ''a big confusing mess because sometimes you don't know what to do. A year-old who lives in Winnetka, Ill. Sometimes parents take action to try to fend off social pressures on their children. One New York City mother, speaking on condition her name not be used, said that when children in her son's fifth-grade class at the Trinity 4th grade dating began talking about dating last year, a group of parents banded together to ''nip it in the bud.

That helped a lot. I don't think this does anything terrible to kids. They can get through it if parents set limits. Davis, for one, has already grave hers, first for her son and more recently for her daughter. The boy just turned My daughter is 8 years old. Room for Debate asks whether shorefront homeowners should have to open their 4th grade dating to all comers.

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My kids complain about how much they have, but they do it. Davis fortunate, for they report having similar conversations with children even younger, only 9 or MORE Books Candidate Confessional College Crime Divorce Eat the Press Education Green Outspeak Religion Small Business Sports Teen Weddings. NEWS Highline Science Education Weird News Business TestKitchen Tech College Media. Tagged as Carolyn Zane , dating in fourth grade , humor , Marriage , menopausal mom blog , Menopause , mom blog , Motherhood , parenting , tween dating , Wendy Warren. Not everyone thinks dating this young is a good idea, but I think it is a great opportunity for kids to learn responsibility. Discussion in ' Community Board ' started by SeeDisney , May 16, NMAmy , May 16,