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What age is too young to date?
At what age is it too young to start dating?
As I write this article I have a 22 year old, a 20 year old and a 12 1/2 year old.
I am so grateful to have had my two older children be more about their friends and sports than having a boyfriend or girlfriend until they reached ninth grade.
Yes, my son had the sixth grade version of a girlfriend where it was basically in name only, but to him it was his “first” girlfriend. What I believe to be his first girlfriend was when he was in ninth grade.
He was fourteen and he dated a girl for almost a year. They were cute. They went to each other’s houses and hung out in groups with friends.
We had rules of course such as keeping doors open when in the house, and calling to check in when he was out with her.
For my son, age fourteen proved to be a manageable age to start dating.However, was fourteen still too young to start dating? Should I have made him wait a couple of years?
But we both agreed he seemed like he was maintaining all his other commitments while still having a girlfriend, but was he still okay on the inside? Was he still keeping his priorities straight?
On the other hand there was my daughter who is now twenty. Her first real crush was in the ninth grade also, when she was fourteen. Dating was hard for her. Her boyfriend would blow her off at times and she would naturally get upset.
But she still wanted to continue to date him.
As a result, I learned that for my daughter, fourteen was too soon to start dating. Which caught me off guard at the time because I thought that my daughter was more mature than her older brother.
Maybe it was because she’s a girl. We all know girls tend to feel things very deeply at this age, especially when it comes to boys.
Holding hands may mean more to a girl than to a boy. Girls also tend to be persuaded into sexual situations more often than boys.
All kids need to know what their boundaries are and know how far they are willing to go.
They also need to know that it is okay at anytime to change their mind and remove themselves from those situations.
Teach Your Children
But it’s not just the physical part of a relationship that we need to educate our children about.
We need to teach our children about how having that kind of relationship can affect someone emotionally, spiritually and socially. A bad experience at this age can make someone go off track and struggle to get back on top of things again.
With social media having such a big impact on teenagers, bullying, shaming and exposing others is a more common occurrence these days.
(Read my post on “How To Stop Bullying”)
In some cases a teen may stay in a bad relationship just to avoid being ridiculed on social media. High school is a time where relationships can get very serious, very fast.
Every Kid Is Different
You as the parent need to understand that your child may or may not tell you when they have had sex. One of my kids did and one didn’t. And I had almost the exact same conversations with both of them leading up to it.
So it really is different for every kid. But even though each child is different, every kid needs to have the proper conversations about sex and relationships, no matter whether they are sexually active or not.
Protect Our Children
We need to teach our children to protect their bodies. That also means using protection during sex. These kind of talks can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to both you and your child.
Their reaction and behavior during these talks will be a big indicator of whether or not they are ready for dating. They also may be interested in dating, but have too much anxiety around the opposite sex.
(Read my post on “How To Help Your Tween Or Teen with Anxiety“)
If they can’t have a conversation without getting defensive that may be a sign that they may not be ready. And if they giggle a lot and make jokes, than they may not be ready.
Although sixteen may seem like an ideal age for you to give your child permission to start dating, it really is a wider range than that. A little older or a little younger may make more sense for some kids.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that as a parent you have to have conversations, set limits and remain open to what your kids feel they want or need.
Enforce the rules in your home and teach your children to respect themselves by being in control of their own bodies.
Kids also need to respect others and understand that those kids also have control over their own bodies too.
Encourage your children to talk to you about what they are feeling, what they are going through and what they are hurting about.
Even if they don’t start out confiding in you, make sure they know you are always there to be a nonjudgmental, listening and caring ear.
I pride myself on being very open with my kiddos. They know they can say anything and I won’t laugh at them or shoo them away.
That doesn’t mean that they tell me these things, but they know they could tell me if they wanted to or feel as though they should. And for me, that makes me feel like I’m doing my job pretty well and still loving and enjoying my kids every step of the way.
My Waiting Game
So for now I’m waiting on my twelve year old to start liking boys. However I am hoping she waits until she is at least twenty five!
Don’t you think twenty five is a way better age to start dating? I know that would make a lot of parent’s lives a whole lot easier!
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~PLEASE REMEMBER THAT KINDNESS MATTERS~
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