At what age should you allow your Child or Daughter to Date?

Introduction

I have written this hub in response to a question that was asked on the HubPages website. The question was, "At what age should you allow your child to date?". Over the weekend, I thought about this question and today have sat down to write a response. I have also spoken to other people about their thoughts.

Source

When thinking about what age should a parent allow a child to date, the parent must take into consideration the childs level of maturity. You could have a perfectly mature sixteen year old, or a very immature nineteen year old.

Personal and religious views need to be taken into consideration too. Maybe your child has been brought up as a strict Christian, or another faith where premarital sex is simply not allowed? Perhaps the child believes in that faith also, wearing a abstinence ring, being determined to wait for sex until they are married. This could potentially mean dating is a serious business, and they are dating with a view to marriage.

When speaking to many other people, they said it completely depended on what is meant by a date. A date can be where two young people go to bowling, the cinema, any activity that they both enjoy to simply spend time together. If they are with other people, dropped off by their parents and are free to just have a good time, then this sort of date would mean the children are in no way going to be pressured to do anything physical. This sort of date is well-supervised and innocent, and for me personally I would be happy for my fifteen year old son or daughter to go on a date like this.

When speaking to someone I knew about their thoughts, they told me the following:

"My daughter was fifteen when she first went on a date, and it was very similar to what you wrote above, a whole group of young people were going into town together. She took the bus to the city with a guy she was interested in and it was all perfectly innocent. "

Relationships are a part of growing up and they are bound to happen sooner rather than later. As long as you know where your children are and what they are doing, there shouldn't be an issue. Obviously, the younger the child is, the more you want to know about their potential date and who it is with!

These days when children are encouraged to grow up very quickly, particularly by the media. I think as parents we have a duty to make sure that children are not pressured into doing anything that they are not physically and emotionally ready to do. I live in the UK and we have a huge amount of teenage pregnancies (the highest rate in Europe), so to me, there is already pressure on children to date and potentially to have a sexual relationship. That is definitely not what I want for my children when they are young.

My personal suggestion would be a group type of date. I would be more than happy to let my child go on a group date at a much younger age, maybe thirteen years old onwards. Other factors would come into play but as long as I knew the children that they were going with; that I knew they were from decent families that shared similar values to myself. I would be happy for them to go out with a group of six or seven same age children.

I would be less happy if there were obvious pairs - then it could be that my child be left with another child who wanted to do some kissing or hand holding that my child would be uncomfortable with. Or even the other way round, if my son or daughter wanted to hold hands with a son or daughter of my friends, and they didn't. I would hate to think that either my child or someone elses child pressured someone into doing something they were not comfortable with.

Poll

What age would you allow your child to date?

  • Age 10 and Under
  • Age 11 - 13
  • Age 13 - 15
  • Age 15 - 17
  • Age 17+
See results without voting

The best way to approach things...

I think one of the main things to be considered is not making arbitary rules for children. Like I said at the beginning of the hub, some sixteen year olds are more mature than some ninteen year olds. One of the main things to do, rather than make rules, is to discuss things with your child.

Children need to make their feelings heard, the same as anyone else. By talking to your children, you will find out what they want, both in the long term and the short term. If your daughter want a career then you can point out to them the dangers of premarital sex, the responsibilities that babies will put upon them. You can point out how difficult it will be to go to university when they have a baby to look after. For sons, they would need to go to work to support a baby, and therefore university would not be an option for them either.

A lot of the time, you would probably find that your child is not interested in any of the above at a young age and everything is completely innocent. It is however worth having that chat as it will plant a seed in their mind to be more cautious with the person they are going on a date with.

You can explain that although they feel that they wouldn't have sexual intercourse, that they just wanted to hang out, the other person might not feel the same way. Even if they do, kissing and touching can easily escalate into more.

Talking to children about the chances of aquiring a sexually transmitted disease is also really very important. Unprotected sex is risky, like gambling with your health. This may be a scary conversation with your child and would probably be a chat for when they are dating more regularly, but at least you know you have done the right thing!

Regardless of our opinions, children will eventually do what they want to. We need to make sure that we provide them the information they need to make the best decisions for them.

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Comments 7 comments

rlaha profile image

rlaha 4 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

Thank you for sharing your insight on children and dating. It was a very interesting article! Vote up and interesting.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

This was such a good hub and makes one think. While my girls are married now I tried to remember back. They could group date but not single date until they were 16 and only then if we met the boy a few times. Did this always work out ...No...if a young teen wants to see a boy they will find away. You always hope they follow the rules. I do agree society is pushing our young people to grow up way to fast and even as parents in our innocent kidding we do, we may say things that push the issue. I remember teasing about a boy being cute or asking the boys if that was their girlfriend. Looking back I probibly would have not put ideas in their head so young..they get enough of that from peers and TV..I guess we all learn. Would I want to go through this stage again..HEAVENS NO! lol...it was tricky and quite nerving...I think in todays world you have to be alittle stricter and know the family as well...It is lucky my girls did not have my thinking now back then..haha


VendettaVixen profile image

VendettaVixen 4 years ago from Ireland

Interesting hub. I have to say that while the media is pushing kids to grow up too quickly, I think a lot of parents are guilty of that too. Those horrible shows, for example - Toddlers in Tiaras to name but one. Those mums and dads are just scary.

I have a nine year old cousin who's always looking for a boyfriend and wearing skimpy clothes. I never feel comfortable around her, as the whole "I think I'm way older than I am" attitude repulses me. I wish kids would just get on with being kids. They'll be grown-up soon enough, and most of them will want to be kids again.

Anyway, again, great hub. Really gets you thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic - it made for a very enjoyable read.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

Thank you for writing a hub to answer my question. I have a daughter and she is just 9 months old. But as a father I know that sooner or later I have to face this reality. Any opinion and suggestions will definitely be helpful. Of course there's a long way before this reality strikes but being prepared is something I want to do. While i wait for that inevitable time, there are so much to cherish as she grows. Thanks for your insights candlebag.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

@ sunny day. What helped you through these times when your girls are dating? I hate to be blunt but do you talk about sex and pregnancy with her? Any tips?


CandleBags profile image

CandleBags 4 years ago from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks for all the comments so far! It's interesting to read what other peoples views are on this!


Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette Fabien 3 years ago from Dominica

Great hub! Voted up! This is oneof my favorite topics. I am all for children taking their time to grow up. However, as you say, perhaps the most important factor is the level of maturity because the more mature they are the more independed minded they are likely to be hence the less susceptible to peer pressure. Sometimes even when children feel they are ready, they are grossly unprepared for the emotional pressure that comes with relationships. All in all we have to provide appropriate guidance.

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