1. Parenting

Readers Respond: At what age should teens start dating?

Responses: 107


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.

when their mature

I believe a teen should be able to date when they can prove they are ready. My eldest daughter (who is now 17) started dating at 15. I let her because dating, in my opinion, is a part of growing up and finding who you are as a person. And as for heartbreaks, ya their going to happen, as a teen or adult. All you need to do as a parent is be there for them and let them know it will be ok. I believe if they don't experience this, it will be much worse as an adult. Dating is not only fun for teens but a learning experience. If I had to make a age limit, I would say at least 9th grade.
—Guest Laura

get real

Be open about to your kids and let them experiment. If you don't they will go behind your back, but if you let them they will be much more honest with you and trust your opinion. I learned from experience, my parents wouldn't let me date so snuck around and went to parties and got pregnant, now I'm open with my teen and she's honest with me because I let her date boys. She is 15. And I remember doing those things as a teen just to spite my parents. So please, just be open with them.
—Guest reality check

simply put

Simply put our duaghters have been raised to know and understand that dating is not marriage practice... dating or courting is an act that you engage in when you share a mutual feeling that you may want to spend the rest of your life together. Adulthood in modern society begins at 18 and one is not granted all the full rights of an adult american citizen until 21. Therefore, there is no need for a child to consider dsting until at least the age of 17. The minumum age a child could get married without a parents consent if the child lives in the home would be 18. Dating is a part of thr marriage courtship process. Not to be taken lightly.
—Guest Daddy

High School

I think when your at least in grade 10 age 15+. Middle school for me is too young. Kids in elementary school are starting to date!
—Guest middle school to young

Dating ages are subjective

Allowing our kids to date in their teens at a specific age is really based on the comfort level of the parent and also gender of the child. Parents of girls have more concerns and bare the brunt of potential consequences. Parents of boys who disagree strike more fear in the eyes of parents with girls. If you are a parent stepping into this foray for the first time, I have a suggestion. For me personally with four daughters who have run this gamut successfully, I would recommend waiting until 16 with girls. Prior to this age its in your best interest to only allow group dating with mixed gender friends whom they trust. Girls prior to 16 do not have the skill set to diffuse labels, circumvent advanced agendas, nor have the confidence to stay one step ahead of the nonsense. My kids developed a keen awareness of the social issues and complexities in relationships by waiting.
—Guest snglparents

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

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