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

Updated on May 1, 2013


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.


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.


What age would you allow your child to date?

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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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