What is the Appropriate Age to Start Dating?

Some parents are liberal when it comes to their children dating, while other parents are conservative when allowing their “babies” into the dating world. For preteens and teens, hormones are flying high, and that means that these individuals begin to look for dates at this age. What might shock some people is that girls on average start to date around 12 and half years old, and boys begin dating around 13 and a half years old. This fact will strike fear into many parents’ hearts, as when the parents were their children’s ages, they started dating much later on average (Healthline). What are some of the things that parents can do when their children express a desire to date? You can talk about dating guidelines with them, not allow non-solo dating before the age of 16, or help them cope with their feelings while telling them no.

As a parent, it is your duty to set limits for your child. If you remove limits for your children, they will understand that they can get away with anything. When it comes to your children dating, you should be especially keen on limits. Let them know about curfews, restrictions on drugs and alcohol, a restriction on sexual intercourse, and other restrictions based on your personal beliefs and what you think is best for your child. Each parent knows their children best, so one needs to know which restrictions should be kept in place (Psychology Today).

Another restriction that is essential to the process of easing children into dating is allowing only non-solo dating, which means parents would accompany their children on dates. A good rule is to accompany your child on dates if he or she is younger than 16 years old (healthychildren.org). This is because before the age of 16, children are a lot less mature. Also, an unwanted pregnancy at 14 is much worse than an unwanted pregnancy at 16. Your children will likely dislike the idea of you tagging along on their dates, but let them know that you are doing the best you can do for them.

If you are more on the conservative end, and do not want to allow your children to date for a while, allow them to express their feelings openly with you. In turn, you should express your feelings with them, and tell why exactly you are making this choice for them. You can help them cope with their feelings by encouraging them to draw, paint, write poetry, write songs, or anything else creative to let out their emotions. Try to make it so that you are not the “bad parent” but a supporter of their well-being.

As parents, when children grow up to be of dating age, they have a hard choice to make. Yet, one has many options: to set limits for their children while dating, to accompany children while on dates, or to restrict children from dating, but in a way that shows understanding and support. Parents have the responsibility to choose which option they will adopt, but should have their children’s future at heart.

References

Healthline. (2017). What Age Is Appropriate for Dating?. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/appropriate-dating-age#5 [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

Psychology Today. (2017). When Should Kids Start Dating?. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teen-doctor/201410/when-should-kids-start-dating [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

HealthyChildren.org. (2017). When To Let Your Teenager Start Dating. [online] Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/dating-sex/Pages/When-To-Let-Your-Teenager-Start-Dating.aspx [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

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