To Margaret Z: I think it’s you who is being a bit harsh. I am 17, left school at 16 and have been in full-time work the past 7 months. I am planning on going to University in September. I’m afraid I’m not really up to speed on U.S. laws but speaking from experience, I think you’ve got to stop being so overprotecive, certainly by the time your kids are 16. I’m quite a slow developer, and to be honest I’m not really interested in dating at the moment anyway, but I have a friend whose parents, particularly her father, are very overprotective, and as a result she has been dating boys on the sly since she was 11. She spends as much time away from her parents as possible, and they don’t have a clue what she’s up to. I think it’s fine for a 14-year-old to have boyfriends, especially if she feels she can talk to her mother about any serious problems she’s having. Generally at that age kids aren’t really interested in doing anything serious with their boyfriends, anyway. If you try to segregate boys and girls, they are going to grow up as unbalanced people.