What Is The Appropriate Age To Start Dating?
This is a question that only plagues the parents, on the other hand if it were up to the children, they would start dating as soon as they found a person they liked. Most parents can not decide what the appropriate age to start dating is for their children and continuously fight with them as they do not agree.
Most children would like to start dating earlier, some before they are even teenagers at 10 or 9 years old. While the parents may restrict dating till the child is 20 or so. Both these sides are extreme and will be a major cause of clashing between the parent and the child.
Parents’ fear associated with the appropriate age to start dating is that their children are not mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come with dating. This fear is legitimate, coming from the fact that as they hit puberty, the children’s bodies start functioning like an adult. In relation to sex, yet their minds are still those of a child, not to say anything of their status in life.
As a result, some parents may choose to shelter their children from any form of social interaction with the opposite sex in an attempt to keep them safe. This however leads to half development of the children turning them into socially bankrupt youths or worse still, they may proceed to go wild the minute you release them.
But on the other side, allowing them to start dating too young may result into them indulging in activities out of their league such as sex, consequently producing teenage pregnancy or worse still infection with an STI.
Both situations look grim but there is still some hope, here are some tips on how to determine the appropriate age for you child to start dating.
- First of all, as a parent, remember that you child is not you and you can not live through them. Also, it is good to know that mistake making is not genetic and that whatever mistakes you may have made in you life are not necessarily going to be repeated by you child. Should you find that your reasons for not letting your child date have more to do with you than them, then you need to deal with this issue by yourself and reconsider your stand.
- Have open lines of communication and involve your child in your decision making. Let your child explain to you what is really going on and why they think that they are ready to date. Then you should in turn explain your reasons and fears to them. This way the child will understand the concepts behind your reasoning and you will come to a compromise. It will also stop your child from going behind your back and doing it any way.
- You know each of your children and know at what level their maturity is. Dating in itself is not about age but rather level of maturity. In some cases, your 14 year old may show more maturity than the 16 year old. To avoid sibling rivalry, set an age at which all have a possibility of being allowed to date say 15, but let them know that even when they attain this age, the permission to date shall be given on basis of the maturity they display.
- As you may have realized, there are two kinds of dating. There is the dating where the children like to hang out with each other but it is more of a sibling like concept. At most, the children will kiss on the cheek and hold hands. This is usually before they become teenagers and during the first teen years. This kind of dating parents should allow as most times the children are in groups and no one is really by themselves.
- The second kind is the adult concept of a date that involves a boy and a girl alone by themselves with none of their friends and little or no supervision from parents. This is the kind where the parent needs to explain what ever rules and regulations they may have in mind. It usually starts at around 15 years.
Deciding on the appropriate age for dating is difficult, but what parents should know that both extremes are not going to do your child any good. You are the adult in the equation and should be willing to perform the necessary duties. Try and come up with a compromise that will leave both parties relatively satisfied. On this issue, complete satisfaction is out of the question.