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A Mother's Views on Parents &Teenage Dating-What Age Should Teens Begin to Date? Age Differences, Common Sense Rules
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.
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.
How Young is Too Young To Date?
At What Age Should Teenagers Be Allowed To Start Dating?
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.