Young Love

Romance is a grand pageant. Your debut may not come until you're in your teens, but you spend a childhood rehearsing

Greg Miller for TIME

Even in adolescence, girls are the social architects and rulemakers. Boys initiate contact and hope for the best

There's a very thin line between being thrilled and being terrified, and Candice Feiring saw both emotions on her son's face. The sixth-grader had just gotten off the phone with a girl in his class who called to ask if he'd like to go to the movies--just the two of them. It sounded a whole lot like a date to him. "Don't I have something to do tomorrow?" he asked his mother. A psychologist and an editor of The Development of Romantic Relationships in Adolescence, Feiring was uniquely prepared to field that question and give her son the answer that, for...

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