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Readers Respond: At what age should teens start dating?

Responses: 132


super trust issues...

My 12 year daughter recently informed me that she likes a 14 yr old boy from her school and the feeling is mutual from his part. My daughter disclosed to me later on that the boy asked her to be his “girlfriend” and she accepted. My husband and I do not agree with her decision only because we feel that she is far too young to have a boyfriend; however we sat down with Kaylee and informed her that if she decided to say yes to him then rules had to be implemented 1. No holding hands, 2.NOOOO Kissing… the kissing part to my husband and I, is very important only because it starts with a kiss… We told Kaylee these rules and the other day I was trying to have a friendly conversation with my daughter and I asked her about being affectionate with “Kevin” and she informed me that they hug and kiss on the cheek. So I asked her is that all and she smiled and said he kissed me on my lips…. I didn’t react at that moment I just stared at her in shock… I told her father and he said that he was disapp
—Guest graceelu

Age 17

I think they should start at age 17-year-old. I have a stepdaughter who is 15 years old sneaking around with a 18 year old. He has broken her heart once and how the whole house is experiencing the effect. Her mood swings, not speaking, being disrespectful - the whole nine yards. I am experiencing this with my stepchild and not my own daughter who will be 20 soon.
—Guest Gail

"Fake" relationships

As a mother of 2 ages 10 & 6, I have overheard my 10 year old daughter talking about her crush with friends. But I know this boy and my daughter said that she is to scared to talk to him, so I'm not worried. As my 6 year old daughter entered 1st grade, a boy had a crush on her and chased her every day. She told us about it. She told us that she had a crush on the boy who helped her with her sitiuation. I would not allow dating untill your child is 11. Usually between 11-14 your kids will have "fake" relationships. This means only seeing them in school and no kissing. A lot of kids date to impress their friends.
—Guest MissMama

Whenever they are matute

I have a fourteen year old son and a fifteen year old son. Both, in my opinion are old enough for dating. People underestimate the maturity of teens.
—Guest Douglas

It's healthy

Frankly, I disagree with the idea that kids have to be ready to uphold a family before dating. I mean, isn't that mostly what you remember from high school? Young times are a fun experience, and the heartbreak, drama, and such is a part of that. Plus, kids learn to find what they like in a partner, especially about their personality. It is healthy, and I have somewhat encouraged my son to get out there and interact with girls. Although, always within reason.
—Guest Angi

Dating? Really?

The main point of NOT dating at a young age is to protect their hearts. Many of you who left comments are missing the whole point of why you should not allow teens to date. I am protecting my daughters hearts so they won't continue to get broken after each break up! I am also teaching my children that dating and breaking up is NOT normal, we just have made it normal in our society. Dating is practicing divorce. If you don't like something, you leave. We need to teach our children to have committment. If they are not ready for committment, then they are not ready for dating. Teens should be encouraged to go to college and get jobs so that they can support their families and then they have rights to date.
—Guest wendy

Not Pushed to Grow Up

They know my husband & I started dating later than some. They aren't pushed to grow up. They have to get love at home & not from some other place. I know they need attention at home; and they ask for it. Don't ever think teens don't need a lot of attention! They surely do!!!!
—Guest Know my values,then they decide

Why ask for trouble?

I have 3 children. Two sons ages 19, 18 and a daughter that is 12. There is a no dating policy in our home. PERIOD. My boys went through High School, sure with a few crushes, but no girlfriends. Both want to wait until marriage to have sex. My daughter knows if their is a boy she is interested in when she is 17, he can come to dinner and church, that's it. Dating is when you are looking for your spouse, the one to spend your life with. You wouldn't go to the grocery store and wheel a cart around for 2 hours knowing you dont have any money. Why start dating at a young age and risk making a bad choice. Let them make and learn from mistakes that won't potentially leave permanent stamps on their life and be there to redirect the ones that do. Spend time w/ your kids, talk to them when THEY need to talk and be open with your expectations and why. I'm very blessed to have such wonderful kids.

Moms... Get Real

My children are: Lauren at 16, Jamie at age 13, Haylee at age 10 and Gregory at age 5. You see all my girls asked if they can date and of course I said no to Haylee... she is 10! But she did it anyway... One day I was volunteering for a school field trip and all of the sudden this boy is pecking my daughter on the cheek! I asked her what was going on and she was honest. I had the "sex talk" with her and she knows what to do and not to do, so now I trust her. I think its just growing up and hormones.
—Guest Helpful Mom


My daughter is 15 and will turn 16 in about 3 months. She had a boyfriend last year and needless to say it didnt last long and ended bad. I seen her go thru the changes because I've been there before. The late nights on the phone, mood swings, etc. But she's gotten over it as I knew she wld. That experience had to hve taught her something about boys and dating, what to tolerate and what not to. She hasnt had a boyfriend since then but has a couple of guy friends who ask her out. As I'm writing this she is in the living room with a "friend" watching a movie. This cldnt happen when I was growing up and I was the Queen of sneaking around. I'm confident that when this boy leaves she will come in my room to tell me either how awkward it was or not. I have to trust her and let her know that it's ok to be open. If I told her her friend cldnt come over, she cld of asked to go to a girlfriends house and hve the boy meet her their. I think 16 is a good age to start dating.
—Guest Aisha

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.

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.

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