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Readers Respond: At what age should teens start dating?

Responses: 132

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Quick Links: Teen Dating | Teen Dating Quiz: Are they friends or are they dating? | When should teens start dating? | Teen Breakups

Parents, have you set in an age in which your teen can start dating? I know I’ve always preferred to think about the maturity of the teen who wants to date and the responsibility of the one my teen wants to date, rather than picking an age where my teen can automatically date whomever she wanted to. But an age range is something to give a teen who is looking forward to dating, setting the expectations. Is it different for going out with a bunch of friends or going on a car date? What are your family's rules? Share what age you told your teen that they could start dating and why.

14 or when mature

Dating at 14 is not too bad. It gives them a bit of freedom. Make sure it is at a minimal level. Also, talk to your kid about it. They probably have some "feelings". It just comes with maturity and if you don't want your kid dating sweetly inform them of the consequences. Maybe tell them that they can date that boy/girl later.
—Guest SJ

13+

I think Teens at 13 should date. They just need some limits. They should mostly go on group dates to the movies or something, nothing alone at one place! Also I think hugging and a peck is okay. As long as they don't go "French kissing" and being sexually curious!
—Guest Margaret

Trust is key

My daughters (15 and 12) are both asking when they can date. I believe 15 is a good age. The most important thing is that you trust them and they can be honest with you.
—Guest Beth Sander

No to early dating

Chronogical age does not mean that your son/daughter are maturity and ready for marriage. Early dating has serious consequences.
—Guest dave lsviscount

Talk With Them

I have 3 children. Two twin girls(16) and one son(14). My twins both have boyfriends that are their age. They have been dating them for one year. My son has had one girlfriend but he broke up with her because all she wanted was the D. Anyways, you need to talk with your kids so they feel comfortable in telling you if they have a crush or a boyfriend/girlfriend. This way they are less likely to do it behind your back.
—Guest Mother Of 3

When or How?

It is not so much the when for me but more of the how. When my kid started dating at age 13 it was mainly awkward hugs and talking in the hallways and at lunch. When my child grew older and matured he began to see different things and began dating again later but much more was going on. They were hugging, holding hands, and texting all the time. This is fine by me but I won't allow much more until at least age 16-17.
—Guest Wow

All Depends on Maturity

I believe it all depends on the maturity level of the girl/boy. I have one daughter that is very into boys, and has one crush that likes her back. She is 11 years old, and has had one boyfriend (but nothing happened, they never even hugged) and she broke up with him. That was last year, and now, in 6th grade, she told me she doesn't want to date until ATLEAST 8th or 9th grade. And I agree. She is very mature and knows about the consequences of a bad choice. When the time comes, we will sit down and talk about it. If your daughter is mature enough, then even at 13-14 years old I think it would be perfectly fine for them to start dating. A group date, a movie (with parental supervision), maybe a walk through the park. It matters on the trust and maturity level of your teen.
—Guest RealLifeExperience

Age 12

My daughter had her first boyfriend when she was in seventh grade. I had a talk with her about rules and how he cannot go into her room alone with her. She is very mature about it and will talk to me about it. I really think it just depends on if your child is mature enough.
—Guest Sally

My thoughts as a teen

I believe it myself it depends on trust and maturity level.... I think by high school that your child is ready. At this age their hormones are crazy and their crushes, they think about em all the time. The minimum I say is 8th grade on group dates. Usually it's just a hug here and there and to know both like each other. Just that bestfriend I guess. Nothing NOTHING at all like boyfriends and girlsfriends back in y'all day. And the whole my kid is not gonna be that pregnant girl. Wow! If you raised your daughter/ son know right and wrong and know where not to stretch the boundaries! Trust is key folks! You never Want them to stop talking to you! Communicate . Thanks for Leting me share
—Guest PEYZLI

It's not such a big deal

Dating is not such a big deal in kids. My daughter would come home in six grade and talk about dating. Dating at this age really is just talking to a guy. What you don't want is your child dating behind your back. The tighter you hold on the more they rebel and just make sure the dates are watched until 15. And also if you are so worried about your daughter getting pregnant give her condoms it at least gives her what she needs in order to be safe.
—purpleisfun

Age 12 or 13

I am a mother of an only child girl (13) and she has a boyfriend. My first boyfriend was at age 12 and 22 years later we got married. He's the only guy I've ever been with. My girls boyfriend is really nice and I made good friends with his mom. I think it's ok for them to start if they're ready and to try new things. I don't want to be a strict parent but just keep an eye on them. As long as you know the person they r dating.
—Guest Mother of one

I think 12

I am happy to hear that your daughter is dating but my daughter will not be dating at 12. Maybe your daughter thinks a peck on the cheek now but what about the person who is doing the pecking of her cheek? Boys are much different in the thinking of innocence. Trust is one thing and it can only go sooo far. Good luck :)
—Guest Evie

14 with supervision

My daughter has a boyfriend at 14. They are allowed to be at each others parents house. Last night was a school dance one parent dropped off and one picked up. We watch them carefully, have a had the talks and monitor them. They hold hands and do kiss but that is it. My first boyfriend I was 15 and it was holding hands, hanging out and a kiss here or there that was it.
—Guest Teen Mom

Communication is key

I was reading the response left by the person who said let your kids experiment. I think that’s a terrible idea. I remember being a teen and their needs to be rules. I personally believe that dating should be a matter of pray and have parent and Pastor involvement but what I’m about to say applies to Christians and non-believers. Talk to your kids explain that dating is intended to find a mate you want to marry its not a game or something you just do because your friends do it. Explain the emotion involved and what they can lead to. This being said dating in middle school should be OUT OF THE QUESTION. Keep the lines of communication open. Your kids should feel they can always talk to you. This builds a relationship and shows your respect for them so, it is more likely that they will respect you and what you say if you talk to them instead demand or command. If you talk to them you still allow them to have there own mind but they understand why they are , or are not able to date.
—Guest Concerned kid

Teenagers:

I as a mother of 3 have just decided to put the age limit for their "dating" at 13 because they are going to do it behind my back anyway. So, I have decided to let them when they turn 13. But any time they are together it must be in a public place, or with a group of friends so I know no funny business is going on. I want my kids to have fun in their childhood and "dating" usually seems to be a large part of it. Therefore, I will condone it to a point. Although my teen daughter(14) has developed more responsibility than either of my boys will(16 and 11), she understands not to give up her purity to someone and she is smart to know exactly who she is dating. I try not to be up in their stuff but I occasionally snoop to make sure they are okay and aren't trying things they shouldn't behind my back. I know my daughter and youngest son come to me with their problems so starting the "dating" thing younger is a way to get them to open up and gain your trust.
—Guest MotherOfThree

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