A Mother's Views on Parents &Teenage Dating-What Age Should Teens Begin to Date? Age Differences, Common Sense Rules

While dating is a rite of passage, however it is not a right, but a privilege which does come with a certain amount of responsibility.
While dating is a rite of passage, however it is not a right, but a privilege which does come with a certain amount of responsibility. | Source

Would You Let Your 14 Year Old Daughter Date an 18 Year Old Boy?

"Should young teens date older guys? For example; a girl 14 years of age and an 18 year old or older guy? "


"Hey Michael, " I called over my shoulder as I sat in front of my computer considering my answer to this recently posted question, "Would you let Jordan or Jami date an eighteen year old guy when they were only fourteen?"

(Okay, I confess, anything that reminds Michael that our girls are growing up, is not a topic that he is overly fond of. Like a lot of fathers who have daughters, if my husband had his way, the girls would live a Peter Pan like existence, never passing the boys-have-cooties stage, or reaching the age, where daddy is not the most important man in their lives. If it were up to him, the girls would never date. Still, his reaction to such things are often amusing, and I sometimes I cannot resist the urge to bait him just a little bit.)

"Uh-No ," he answers from the other room.

I shake my head and suppress a tiny giggle as his voice retreats into some distant disgruntled mumbling.

Back to the question at hand, Should a fourteen year old girl be allowed to date a young man age eighteen or older?

To me this seems to be a matter of common sense, but I take a shot at answering anyway;

"Take away the possibility of becoming sexually active too young, the continuing rise of unplanned teen pregnancies, the possibility of catching an STD, the increased risk of early exposure to alcohol, illicit drug use, and physical and emotional abuse, and I still don't think that young teens should be allowed to date. Period.

Should a fourteen year old date someone who is eighteen or older? Absolutely not! The difference is not just in the number of years, but in terms of life experience. A four year difference between a twenty-four year old, and a twenty-eight year old, or even a twenty-four year old and a twenty year old, may not be huge, the difference between fourteen and eighteen is light years.

In our family, the standing house rule is simple, you will not date until you are at least sixteen.
In our family, the standing house rule is simple, you will not date until you are at least sixteen. | Source

Our Job As Parents is to Guide Them Toward Adulthood

More and more of late, I have noticed that there is a breakdown in the relationships between parents and their teenage children. Either the parents develop the attitude that being a teenager means that they are suddenly little adults that are capable of making life-changing decisions on their own, reducing their job as parents to nagging about homework and chores, or the parent wants to become the teenager's friend, and therefore throws up their hands and says, "What can you do? Even though I don't think that this or that is right, You cannot really stop them." I do not agree with this philosophy. It is my belief that as teenagers, our children continue to rely on us to make and keep the boundaries.

As parents of a seventeen year old son, and two daughters, ages sixteen and four, my husband and I set the rules when our children were very young. Our children may not date until they are at least sixteen years old, at which time we will revisit the subject and a decision will be based upon your level of maturity and responsibility. (Note: Our definition of date being in the classic sense of the word, so this means that you cannot go out on your own, just the two of you, and no "car dates.")

I am not naive enough to think that even the toughest of parents can stop the evolution of crushes and puppy love. Both of my older children, like all the other kids, had their requisite boyfriends and girlfriends, but as I often reminded them, there would still be no dating until they were sixteen.

The truth of the matter is that although dating is a rite of passage, it is not a right, it is a privilege, and dating comes with a certain amount of responsibility. Between their inexperience, peer pressure, and emotional immaturity, it is very easy for them to put themselves into situations that are potentially dangerous, or unhealthy. As teenagers our children are taking their first steps toward independence, but they are not yet adults. They are just beginning to learn to negotiate in the world of adult relationships, and as parents, it is still our job to help guide them, so that they learn to make wise decisions that benefit them in forming lasting and healthy adult relationships in the future.

Beginning in Junior High or Middle School, we did allow group dates, school dances, and other school sponsored events, with the provision that either we, or another parent, were picking up and dropping off.
Beginning in Junior High or Middle School, we did allow group dates, school dances, and other school sponsored events, with the provision that either we, or another parent, were picking up and dropping off. | Source

How Young is Too Young To Date?

At What Age Should Teenagers Be Allowed To Start Dating?

See results without voting

Our Family's Standing Rules For Dating

  • No dating until you are at least sixteen years of age, (this refers to dating in the classical sense, as in when two people go out somewhere together by themselves, and no "car" dates.)
  • When you have reached junior high or middle school, you may attend school dances, and other school sponsored functions with an escort, with the stipulation that you are picked up and dropped off, either by us or by another parent.
  • When you are in the eighth grade, you may go on group dates, as in you go somewhere, say to the movies, or to an amusement park with a group of your friends, again with the stipulation that you are both picked up and dropped off by us or by another parent.
  • You may not attend parties at the home of your friends unless there is a parent in attendance, (Not an adult, a parent. Your friend's eighteen year old sister does not count as a parent, so if she is the one chaperoning , then no, you may not attend.)
  • You may not go to your boyfriend/girlfriend's house so that the two of you can hang-out unless there is a parent present. (And yes, we will randomly check up on you)
  • You will not bring your boyfriend/girlfriend to our house so that the two of you can hang-out unless there is a parent present.
  • No boyfriends/girlfriends who are more than two years older, or two years younger than yourself.
  • You may not date anyone whom we have not met. (If you cannot bring them home to meet your parents, we will have to assume that there is something about them that you do not want us to know, and so then no, you cannot date them,)
  • We must know where you are going. If you have plans to go somewhere, say a movie, but you want to go somewhere else afterward, call home. If you are going somewhere, but your plans change, call home. (This is one of the reasons that we pay your cell phone bill every month.)
  • * (For our daughters) No boy can take you out unless he comes to the door. (No, he cannot just pull up in front of the house and honk. This is more out of respect for you than for us. )
  • You have a curfew, do not abuse it. If you are supposed to be home at midnight, be home at midnight. We will be waiting up for you. If for some reason you are going to be late, call home.
  • Curfew extensions are reserved for special occasions, and must be negotiated prior to the date that you desire your curfew to be extended. Do not call home at five minutes before curfew to ask for your curfew to be extended.

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Comments 20 comments

DexisView profile image

DexisView 4 years ago from New England

I don't think any parent should just throw their hands up and say that kids are going to do what they will. My 3 are all in their 20s and I think that they can all laugh about the crazy teenage years, but they also remember that I never gave in to "what everyone else was allowed to do". It might have been easier at times, but for me setting limits was important. A 14 year old dating an 18 year old is not acceptable. No one could convince me any differently. A 32 year old dating a 36 year old...absolutely....years of maturity....and dating experience. Dating....a concept that needs to be visited. Boys were not allowed to drive up and toot..LOL! They had to come to the door and say "hello". Every boy should be taught what it means to take a girl on a date. Nice one.


MomTech profile image

MomTech 4 years ago from Oklahoma

Great hub! When I saw that question I was blown away with the hundreds of things racing through my mind to say why it is a horrible idea to allow that. I just had to get up and log off for awhile. Great response !


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

I'm laughing because I can remember thinking 14, the age at which my parents allowed me to date, would never arrive and was crazy. Now, I think it was way too young.

As a teacher that now sees 14 year old pregnant girls walking the halls daily, I applaud your rules and wish more parents had and enforced them.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@DexisView- My dad used to tell me all the time, "I am not so and so's parent, I am your parent, and so I don't care what they are doing, I care what you are doing, and the answer is still no." I don't understand when people say "kids will be kids, there's nothing you can do about it." It makes me want to ask who the parent is. When I first read the question that inspired this hub, all I kept thinking was that the inappropriateness of the age difference should have been common sense. Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your comments they are both welcomed and appreciated.

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@MomTech - When I first read that question all I could think was, your kidding right? I don't know why, but we seem to be becoming a society that is either afraid to set limits for our children, or we just don't want to make the effort. Bottom line is that teenagers still need boundaries and guidance. They may think that they know it all, but they really don't. Thank you for the gift of your time, and for your comments, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated.

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@poetvix - Thank you for the gift of your time, and for your comments, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated. A few rules and boundaries goes a long way. Our children were told early on what the rules were, and they never really even questioned or fought against them. I understand that as teenagers they are getting their first taste of independence and freedom, but allowing them too much too soon is very risky, and leaves them nothing to look forward to when they are older....Thanks again,

Kristen


LoriSoard profile image

LoriSoard 4 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

Good, common sense advice. I agree with most of what you had to say. We also look at each date individually and what we know of the boy and the family.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@LoriSoard - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time, and your comments, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated. We actually do as well, and have been pretty lucky in that area, as both of my older children are involved in the theater arts and competition choir at school, and their group of friends has stayed together through thick and thin since the seventh grade... Usually if the kids are officially dating someone, it is someone from this group of kids, who have all spent a lot of time here at our home with us. Thanks again!

Kristen


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 4 years ago from On the edge

It's so refreshing to know there are still parents out there who recognize that it is not their job to be a friend to their children, but a parent. You may (or not) be friends with them when they are adults but that is not at all what they need when they are growing and learning. Wonderful hub!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Poohgranma - Thank you Sherry! I don't get what the big deal is, it seems to me that it is common sense. You can't ask someone who is not yet an adult to make adult decisions without some guidance. Thank you as always my friend, for the gift of your time, your comments, and your support~

Kristen


roxanne459 profile image

roxanne459 4 years ago from Washington

It's been my experience that it is always a good idea to establish rules like this ahead of time, like your family did. You have the luxury of considering all the pros and cons and making a logical, well considered decision that way. If you waited until the situation presented itself you would be unprepared and bombarded with emotions and resistance. I commend you for that!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Roxanne459 - It definitely helps when we all understand what is expected ahead of time. Honestly, my two older children really didn't give us any real grief about it, and I think that part of the reason is that we started talking about it before they reached the age where it became necessary. Thank you for the generosity of your time and for your comments, they are both welcomed and appreciated.

Kristen


SWAGHOUSE profile image

SWAGHOUSE 4 years ago from ATLANTA, GA

It is not right for any 18 year to date a 14 year old simply because their maturation level is not the same. They are in two different stages of development and the 14 year old is not ready nor fully comprehend what they are entering into. To be honest, they shouldnt even be in the same circle of friends where dating is an option.


DominiqueGoh profile image

DominiqueGoh 4 years ago from Singapore

I too find it not right for a 14 yr to date older guys or even anyone her same age. It's still not legally allowed to do a lot of stuff until you are 16 yrs old here. I will be advising my kids on waiting till they are much older to start dating.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@SWAGHOUSE - I agree with you wholeheartedly, at fourteen and eighteen the chasm between them in terms of life experience is light years apart. Thank you for the gift of your time and your comments they are both welcomed and appreciated.

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@DominiqueGoh - They have so much to look forward to in their lives, if we let them do everything that they want to do when they are too young, what will they have to look forward to when they are older? Advising them to wait is probably the best solution. Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated.

Kristen


jessica 4 years ago

Ok, so can I please get some advice? My fourteen year old is dating a nineteen year old. I never set rules for dating, we should have. So for about a year my daughter has been sneaking out and I don't know how to stop it. She has had consequences constantly, and it seems like she never gets out of trouble, because she does one thing after the other, the consequences are never ending. I am reading a parenting book right now and hope it helps. I h ave already forbidden her from dating him, we even sat down with her


MomTech profile image

MomTech 4 years ago from Oklahoma

Jessica,

I don't really want to offer "advice" but would like to make some suggestions. You mention that she has had consequences constantly and it seems like she never gets out of trouble. It might be a good time to stop and look at the whole cycle of events between you and her, if there is a pattern of punishment that isn't workign followed by punishment that isn't working, more of the same punishment isn't going to start working it's going to encourage more of the behavior that the existing punishment is already encouraging. That DOES NOT mean to say...Ok do whatever and let a 14 year old date a 19 year old. All I am saying is stop...take a look, change your perspective, take a totally new and diffferent approach that is unlike what you've done before and not necessarily more extreme. in this case it is probably not a bad idea to get specific advice from someone familiar with you both who has some professional reccommendations. Keep in mind that girls at that age think you have no clue, are often insecure and the fact that a 19 year old boy is paying attention to her, in her mind proves something or makes her feel valued in a way she hasn't been feeling. I'm projecting and could be completely wrong but that is the issue that I'd be trying to address and looking for ways to help her get the positive feedback on her own.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Your greatest safeguard is the love, example, and respect your children have for you and your partner. Screw that up, and you can lay down rules and punishments, give advice, and tell horror stories, all to no affect.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Perspycacious - While there is truth in what you say, it doesn't hurt to establish guidelines, and to stick with them. Our belief is that when children know what is expected of them, they will strive to meet those expectations. When they are very young, children need boundaries and teenagers need them more so. Thank you for the gift of your time, and for your comments, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated.

Kristen

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