21 answers

What's a Good Age to Let Girls Start to Date, Go Out with Groups of Friends, Etc

I have three girls and one boy, and don't want to start a precedent, but what is a good age to let girls start to date (one on one), go out with groups of friends (girls only) to the movies or mall without an adult present, and go out as group dates? I have told my oldest (who is currently 14 1/2 going on 21)that if she is asked out to a school dance, I will allow her to go because at least that has adult supervision. I originally told her that she could not date until she was 16, but you give them an inch and they want the whole mile, right? Now she wants to be able to go to the movies with a boy that she likes. I think that she is old enough to go to the mall or movies with a group of girl friends so long as I drop off and pick up, but my husband thinks not and wants me to always go along with them. All her friends have now stopped asking her to go to the movies with them because they don't want a mom tagging along.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

L.,
Good question and it does depend on the girl and BOY... Have you heard what happens in some movie theaters? Even in a group, they lie and say they are in a group and split up with their dates.. Some don't some girls are fine, but if the girl is asking a lot, take that as a hint. There is a reason. Just set up a driving contract, a date contract and if that contract is broken, those priveleges are taken away for any amount of time.. GOOD LUCK, I dont look forward to that.

I think 16 is a good age to allow dating. If her girlfriends were going to the movies with them...that might be ok. But I have two daughters (much younger) but my husband wants them to wait until the graduate. Personally, I think 16 is a good age to allow dating but with some rules set in stone.

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I work with pregnant kids in our local school district. I am currently serving 8 girls, ages 14 to 17. Three got pregnant while eating off campus lunch during the school day, three got pregnant at the boy's house (two while parents were home), one got pregnant at a friends, and one got pregnant on a date. I would continue to supervise - realizing of course that you don't have to be obvious about it. Going with them doesn't mean sitting by them - just a few (or several - if she's with girlfriends) rows behind them, so you have a good view of the movie and to supervise.
S.

1 mom found this helpful

There is valid research that demonsrates that the younger a girl is allowed to date, the more likely she is to be sexually active as a teen. When dating is delay until 16, the likelihood of her having sex is decreased significantly. When dating is not permitted until 17, the liklihood of her having sex is much less, I think only 20 percent if I remember correctly. I think that if the group is boys and girls mixed, it is still a date. Even if friends don't ask her to hang out as much, it is worth it to protect her. I know it isn't easy. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know. I honestly think that if she wants to date that badly, she will find a way. She has 7 unsupervised hours a day at school. She is probably not like this, and I don't mean to sound rude or anything, just that if any child really wants to do something, they will usually find a way.

Do you trust her? Have you talked with her honestly about what you and your husband's concerns are? I would sit her down, set some boundaries that you feel are appropriate and let her try. Would it be okay if she went with a mixed group? So she could go with the boy she liked and some friends you knew?

You could also have boundary where you have to meet whoever she is going out with and their parents before she goes. That way you can judge if you feel if it is appropriate friendship.

If she feels like she is a part of setting the boundaries with you and your husband, she may be more willing to follow them, and complain a little less.

I think it depends on the kid, how mature and responsible she is. I am 22 so I was there not too long ago. I think she should be trusted until she proves otherwise. My parents were very involved but I still felt like I could not go to them because I was scared I would get in trouble or they would become even stricter, so I lied all the time. Then I moved out when I was 18. I am not saying at all that your daughter will do the same I am just shareing. I wish they would have just told me there is nothing that you can't tell us I might not be too happy but I'll listen. Or I think a great rule to have among families (I'll do w/ my kid) is to tell your kid that if you ever find yourself in a bad/unconfortable situation to call me and I'll come get you and I promise not to yell or get mad at you. You know then calmly talk about it the next day. Looking back I would have called my mom a few times but didn't to avoid the match. I know when my kids become teens I too will be over protective, but I just want to make sure I don't put up a shield, like I had as a teen.

For the one on one thing stick with 16. for group dates, let her go. You can take her and drop her off, but let her go. Your husband is just trying to be a good hubby and father. make sure he knows where you stand on this problem. Also make sure the rules ARE the SAME for all your kids. Dont make your younger kids pay for what your oldest did.

L.,
Good question and it does depend on the girl and BOY... Have you heard what happens in some movie theaters? Even in a group, they lie and say they are in a group and split up with their dates.. Some don't some girls are fine, but if the girl is asking a lot, take that as a hint. There is a reason. Just set up a driving contract, a date contract and if that contract is broken, those priveleges are taken away for any amount of time.. GOOD LUCK, I dont look forward to that.

We have told our 14 year old that she can date when she is 16. But we do let her go to the movies, the mall or school football games with her friends. Once she does start dating there has to be some trust until she does something to loose that trust. Also, just know that you have raised her right and hope she makes the right decisions. Good Luck!

Well, I may be a little old fashioned, but like you, think 16 is a good age to let girls go out in a girl group. If she is a mature 15 and you know her friends and their families pretty good, you would probably be ok. You probably need to set up rules, like how long they can hang out, who is going to be in the group, where are they going to be, who will pick them up, drop them off and do you have all the phone numbers to the kids that are with her and their parents. She may not be ready to date one on one without supervision yet. My daughter started dating @ 16 and we still dropped her off to her date and picked her up to movies and school dances. I still needed to know the parents and would check to see if they were where they were supposed to be. I believe you can't be too careful. I have a 18 yo daughter and a 17 yo son. They can't be replaced and have learned to earn my trust. We started out slowly and so far so good. Good luck to you--raising kids is the hardest job there is. V. n.

I think that 14 is a good age to start letting her go with a group of 3 or more girls. I don't have a child that old yet but I would for sure let them go at that age. They are teenagers and they don't want their parents around. They want to act all grown up so let her play and have a good time. As long as you know who she is with and what they are doing. And she is picked as soon as the movie is over.

I have a 13yr old step daughter who is going on 21. She came home one school day with a hicky on her neck. I stongly suggest that 16 for dating on her own and not being droppedoff at the mall without supervision. I also think it does depend on the child. I was very mature for my age, but my parents still didn't let me date until I was 16. I think that our children need to know that we are the parents not them and I know we can't keep them in a bouble forever, but they need to know that we care and that we are in charge. I know it's not easy, I also know that we need to know who are children are with at all times. Like I said we can't protect them from everything, and anything can happen even if we are right there. I also believe that the most powerful thin g that we can do is pray for our children and protection over them. God bless you and I will be praying for wisdom and strength to deal with your decisions. S.

My mother allowed me to do group stuff (including being dropped off at the mall) starting around 14 or 15 I think. She didn't let me date until 16 so that's probably what I'll do with my little ones. Hope this helps.

I think 16 is a good age to allow dating. If her girlfriends were going to the movies with them...that might be ok. But I have two daughters (much younger) but my husband wants them to wait until the graduate. Personally, I think 16 is a good age to allow dating but with some rules set in stone.

My rule is at 13 they can go out with their boyfriends or girlfreinds as long as an adult is there. They can go on a date without an adult when they are 16. My kids really don't mind these rules wither because most of their friends have the same rules. As far as groups of friends going to the mall, I'm not sure I will ever let them do that. lol Lots of things go wrong at the mall even for good kids.
I am just now experiencing the dating seen with my 13 and 14 yr old boys. My 16 yr old girl hasn't been interested yet, and i am lucky.

My view is very conservitive and I wouldn't force it on anyone but here is what our family belives. My husband and I are youth pastors and we talk to youth all the time about this. Sometimes they feel they can tell us things before they could tell their parents, and you would be shocked at even the things that Christian kids deal with. We had a guy that lost his virginity at 13! because an older girl(16) seduced him more or less. Teens are faced with these situations all the time no matter how old they are. We have decided that our kids will not date at all until they are out of high school. They may hate us at the time but we will hopefully be saving them from a ton of things they have no idea about. I myself was a virgin when I was married and it is one of my proudest achievements esp. in todays day and age. Just my view on it and again like I said I wouldn't force it on anyone.

I think it depends on the child, however not earlier than 16. For me it was 18. I was immature, and it was, in retrospect a GREAT decision for my dad to have made.
In today's age, I would still say 18 for most... but that is only because I know of the ANGST it saved me.
Good luck!

In my opinion it really DOES depend on how mature the girl is. My parents let me go out in groups when I was around 14/15 years of age. But even then they wanted to know where I was going and who I was going out with.

As a mother of a 14.5 girl who also wants her independence, I can feel your pain! We've stuck by our guns (so to speak) on the dating at 16, but group events are permitted as long as grades are up, we know the kids AND parents of the group and someone in the group has a cell phone for emergencies. I remember being that age and getting in to benign trouble, but my parents did not allow dating til I was 16 and then they had to know the boy, his parents and at least 150 years of their family history - haha! Then I was SO embarassed, but NOW I understand! It is important that you and your husband present a united front to not only the oldest, but the rest of the kids so they know that you love them, but you're still the parents and you've made this decision for their benefit. Expect exaspertated sighs, eye-rolling and lots of 'whatevers'. Good luck!

Wow! This is a touchy subject, but first and foremost, I would listen to your husband, because if anything happens to her as a result of your not doing as he asks, he will point the finger at you, and you don't want that. Let him be the daddy, and lay down those kinds of rules. I have also always believed that maturity and sense of responsibility means far more than age. My twelve year old is able to go places with her friends, but she will not be allowed to go on a date alone with a boy. I don't know how I will feel when she is fourteen, but I know fourteen year old girls that should still not be able to go out alone with a boy. When my daughter is out with friends, we text message back and forth frequently. If I send her a message, or try to call her and get no response within a reasonable amount of time, then I will get on my horse and go find her. I don't waste time waiting, I just get out and go. Obviously, she does not go places where I would not be able to look for her easily. Another thing too.....she knows that if anything happens or if she even is just made to feel uncomfortable, she has other reliable relatives that she can call for help or just a ride home if need be. Nobody wants to think about anything bad happening to their children, but things can happen right under your own roof, so there's no need to keep her caged in the house all the time, but do make your rules hard and fast, and take any safety precautions that you can, including surprise visits to the mall or wherever she is while she is out (not everytime so that it becomes predictable, but once in awhile so that she and her friends get the idea that you will be around).

L.,
That is a great question. I don't have a girl, but I am one. My dad didn't let us date until we were 16, and that was if our grades were good. I think all that have written about the maturity level are right. I was babysitting when I was 12 and there are some 12 year old's I see that I wouldn't let near my kids.
If her friends have stopped asking her to go with them maybe they have something to hide.
It is not easy raising kids, there will always be something.
I wish you all the best with your decisions.
L.

I've got the same issues. My 14 year old keeps pushing for more and I have to know where to set the limit and it is not always easy. My guess is it depends on the child versus the age. That said - I only have one so I don't have the younger ones saying "but she got to at 14".

As far the mall, I do let my daughter go with a group to the mall / movie without staying with them. I just started this about 6 months ago. So far it is working well. I or another mom takes and picks up. For the moment I know who the kids are, but I too was a teen so I know anything can change. The main thing I do is try to limit the amount of time she is there and the frequency. I'm afraid that if she is there too often or too long, she may get bored and that's when kids usually get into trouble. At night, I or another parent goes but usually to a different movie or shop while they are in the movie, but close by.

On dating - we are not there yet and though she likes boys - dating hasn't really come up. So far, I think dating is on hold till 16 but I may be asking all of you about it in 6 months to a year.

Good luck

T.

well coming from the girl that used to beg my mom to go here and there by myself, i think the best thing to do if u r not sure is to tell her she can go only if they make a group thing out of it, and then u sneak urself and sit a few rows back with out her knowing ur there, see how it goes and how she acts, if you dont like the way she acts cut it off, if she acts and does thing right then at least you know you can trust her. Good Luck

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