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Readers Respond: At what age should teens start dating?

Responses: 107

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Starting too young

I'm surprised that so many parents accept the notion that kids will get romantic or lusty feelings and therefore u should allow or encourage exploration of these feelings by dating at 12 or 14. I believe one must help their children value themselves highly. Girls with higher self esteem are more likely to make sound choices. Group dates should be the encouraged norm in h.s. and a very open dialogue regarding not only sex, but how to deal with feelings, curiosity, and peer pressure. The parents need to be open and act like adults, and if a child is not ready find ways to fill the kids time so they can't fixate on the opposite sex. Not opposed to contraceptives at all, but the best way to reduce teen pregnancy is for it to be acceptable for kids to be expected not to have sex as teenagers... At a h.s reunion 5 years ago half the guys at the table admitted they had lied about having sex in h.s. to avoid looking like a loser. Why should they have felt like a loser ?
—Guest Evan

Honest Opinion

I think children should start dating at age 14 because it get them ready for a relationship with a boy/girl. I allow my daughter Courtney, age 15 to date because I gained her trust. She is very smart, she gets straight A's and she is very mature, unlike my siblings. My other daughter, Savannah, she's 13, she can't wait to get a boyfriend. I don't think she should date yet because she's still not as mature as Courtney, she has a few B's and one C on her last report card. She is very into sports, music, art and fashion designing. My last daughter, the youngest, Hailey, is only 11, she's a little goofy in some places of her life, she's very smart, the lowest she's gotten on a report card is a high B. She is very into dancing, music, and art. She loves drawing Anime type people. I think she might be allowed to date early but she thinks boys are still icky and she doesn't like seeing me and my husband Kenny kiss. she always covers her eyes and goes up to her room. She doesn't have any crush
—Guest Mother of 3

Not Until 16

16 seems a good age to start dating. That's been the rule in my family for the last couple of generations. By 16, we have outgrown our "immaturity" facade. Granted, we are still growing up and learning the process, but we are in a much better position than we were at, say, age 12 or 13. My hardest decisions at that time were how to tell my friend that I didn't want to sit with her at lunch without her crying, or trying to find a way to use my cell phone without anyone knowing. I wasn't in a position to start dating and kissing and all that "fun stuff." At 16, you're more prepared, and have better judgment. Looking around at all the other students at my school, I'm glad I waited. I'm not only 18 and single, but proud of it. I can determine who I should date and who are the "bad" guys (let it be known that these same guys are the ones who have become fathers). Parents and children alike, hear my advice: 16, good grades, equally good boy/girlfriend, and no driving. Best case scenario.
—Guest TeenPerspective

re: America's high pregnancy rate

"America has the greatest teen pregnancy rate in the world because girls can't wait until there married. " That is completely untrue. I grew up in Germany and I having sex starting at age 13 was completely normal. The difference... sex education. People accepted that most teens want to have sex and educate them about it. My pediatrician tried to put me on birth control when I was 12! Anyway, that's why they have low pregnancy and std rates. I can tell you right now, most other countries would never put daycares for students' childrens into high schools. Into the high schools that promote "abstinence only" sex ed. Obviously... it doesn't work. That being said, my 10 year old still thinks boys are gross and would be horrified to be asked out:D I kinda hope that doesn't change for 20 years.
—nicolesauer

Teens will be Teens

I myself am a strict, african american mom, and I would beat the crap out of my kids if they disobeyed me. But dating is another story. Teens start to have feelings, okay? When they want to start dating in between the ages of 12-14, they mean it and they will go behind your back if you say no. My daughter Tiffiny is a georgous young lady and is the age of 15 and has already started dating at the age of 13 (and 3/4 :P). I say that dating has helped my daughter with her choice of judgement and help her find the right type she likes. I let her desperate ass date because she is my daughter and I trust her, and I know she won't let some ugly fool take her away from me (Not while my ass is alive!). All I'm saying is, that teens will be teens, so let them grow up, trust them.
—Guest STRICT-BLACK-MAMA

My beginning on dating

I have always had very good values.I personally believe when your child developes an idea of priorities and of course has had the sex talk they then can discuss dating.communication is key,you want you child to feel like they don't have to seek attention from relationships.times have changed there is a lot of presure on children in middle school so when you think your child is mature. I think children should be allowed to date 13-15 . Remember that kids may date behind your back if you make them afraid of the comfrontation . Dont make it a negitive subject.
—Guest Ashleywonders

Teen Dating

It is totally normal for a boy and a girl to date in middle school (age 12-14) Its nothing out of the ordinary, everyone dates around this age..My daughter is 13 right know and she is dating a really nice kid and I know his parents very well and we allow them to go on dates to the movies with friends, and go over to each others house.. Any parent can do this if they would just have some TRUST... All they will do is hold hand, and possible kiss, its not like your going to die because your daughter, or son kissed someone! It's very natural at this age to act that way.. Things ain't like they were in the old days..So face the facts that your kids are growing up, they are going to do what they want.. Any questions or comments please feel free to send me an email to athleticgirl_2125@yahoo.com
—Guest Agree to teen dating

When they're ready.

I have 4 daughters (ages 16, 14, 12 and 8) and 3 of them have started dating. I have always been completely open with my kids about everything and they do the same. Half of the kids' parents let them date and half don't. But the ones who's parents don't let them date can and will date behind their backs. You can set a strict age, which makes kids want to break that rule, but I prefer to educate my children as much as possible and then, when they're ready, they will date. But the difference is that they will involve you and in turn, be safer. I believe that there is no specific age but generally they can hold hands, go on group dates and maybe a peck on the cheek at ages 12-14. Hope this helps!
—Guest MomOfFour

Get Real

Despite the amount of rules parents may enforce, these rules will not stop their child from maturing and having the mindset of wanting to be in a relationship. Rather than setting up a strict, no dating until college rule, it's better to let the children know at a young age what you deem to be morally correct. If you let your child know beforehand what dating is, naturally he/she will make the right decisions. I don't believe that children in middle school are fully mature for relationships just yet, but if they are then that will be something parents will have to accept. I just want the best for my children and if they think they're ready then I trust them to know that I raised them well enough to make their own decisions. Sure I may need to step in occasionally to make sure they're being safe, but prohibiting them from experiencing a relationship is essentially stopping them from growing and maturing. My daughter started dating junior year and has grown a lot from it.
—Guest Sarah H

Dating?

Okay I have 6 kids. My oldest, Caroline, is 18, then Bradley is 16, Natalie is 15, Landon is 12, Emma is 8, and my newest baby Celia is 8 months. Honestly it depends on my kids. Caroline just started dating because she is my WILD CHILD. Bradley is allowed to date but chooses not to. And my other babies are not allowed to date yet, considering their age.
—Guest momma bear

Knowing your child

The judgment of your childs maturity is the main key. If they show good examples of judgment, communication and maturity it should be fine. I never had the "drugs, sex dating and alcohol talk". In my extended family drugs alcohol and sex were talked about freely without any positives or negatives attached. We were all exposed to everything at a young age and shown good examples of the situations with good common sense. I started dating when I was 15 and without a cell phone. I never said I was dating but, my parents never questioned and knew that if I needed to talk to them I could always come to talk to them. We have never had bad issues with dating too early that sort of stuff just because of the initial attitude and judgment of the child. Everyone has there own time for dating by talking to them too much may make them pressured to date when they’re not ready or thinking about it.
—Guest Elizabeth

It Depends

Parents need to make their decision for their child. Start with group dates, meet the boy/girl, talk to your child and ask lots of questions. Always know where they are and check in. Talk to your child about sex. I think the parent can decide the right age for their child. Kids are all different.
—Guest Mom of 2 Teens

Depends on the Child

I am the mother of a 12 year old girl, who makes straight A's, enters and often wins voice competitions, is in her school orchestra, and involved in many leadership activities at her school. In short, she excels at most everything that she does. With that said, we permitted her to begin dating a boy, who is also an excellent student, school leader, and musician, just over six months ago. They see each other at least once at week outside of school. Sometimes they are alone, watching a movie. He is almost 2 years older than she is and one grade ahead of her in school. Many of you will think we are crazy, I am sure. However, my daughter has blossomed in the past six months, learning to effectively communicate her feelings to and about this boy. She has a strong sense of who she is and what her values are, and we are fortunate that he shares those values. They are best friends. She will be hurt if they separate. But she will always have this first, beautiful dating experience.
—OpenMindedMom

Honestly

America has the greatest teen pregnancy rate in the world because girls can't wait until there married. I understand you want them to get use to it but 12 ,15 there not even out of high school. If they start at 12 they become dependent on having a boyfriend there going to have sex early and become a ho for starting early and will continue to have boy friends. You're suppose to teach your kids value sex is suppose to be special instead its what there doing for fun when your not there.
—Guest A Good Friend

Honest Opinion

I don't see why some people start dating at 12 or ages around there. I understand many are desperate for that type of affection or conquest or whatever dating may mean to them, but at that age dating isn't what it meant before. Dating before the age of 17 is pointless and leads to some experiences you may regret in the future.
—Guest Jeanie

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