How Young Is Too Young to Date??

Updated on October 23, 2013
J.N. asks from Lafayette Hill, PA
22 answers

our neighbor is 12yrs he has his first girl friend. i was suprised. my oldest is close to 14 yrs and has no interest in dating ...but i also he cant date until he is 16 yrs. i had these conversations with him since he was little so he knows where we stand. school comes first. i feel fornuate with the exception of the one child i just mentioned nne of his other friends have girlfriends. i think it makes things too complicated to early...any comments??

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

We would be fine with group dating but like i said he is currently not interested. i think when you start to young with that stuff..they are not satisfied with just holding hands pretty soon its more than sex. many of my friends had sex by 10th grade...some by 8th grade. i waited until i got married.

Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

Kids don't really "date" at 12, having a boyfriend/girlfriend just means you like each other and everybody knows it.
I know plenty of parents who say no to dating or relationships until x age but that doesn't stop kids from saying they are boyfriend/girlfriend at school.
It's really no different than when I was a kid, I had my first boyfriend/kiss in 7th grade (so 13 I guess) but I didn't go on an actual date, out to the movies, one on one with a boy until I was 15. That seems reasonable to me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter had her first boyfriend at 12. Their dates consisted of his dad dropping him off at my house and the two of them playing video games, or either his dad or me dropping them off at and picking them up from a movie. Not a big deal.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Austin on

First of all, do not worry about what other families do. As long as it is not involving you and your children, I do not like to worry about them.

I personally do not believe in set ages for milestones. This is based on my own child hood and our daughter.

. I like to look at each child and decide what they can handle. We know plenty of 16 yr olds that should not have a drivers license because they are just not responsible and cannot make good choices.

I know 12 year olds that help care for their siblings, can prepare a meal for the whole family. Do not need to be reminded about their responsibilities.

They make great grades and good choices. I have known my husband since we were 13. We used to go to the movies, out for meals, ride bikes etc.. We were very innocent.And also very mature.

If you think 16 is your child's magic number, great stick with it, BUT if an experience an opportunity or a chance to experience something special comes along n the mean time, Revisit it with your child.. He deserves to be trusted and heard if he is a good and responsible person.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My oldest son is 13. He goes on group dates.

My daughter was 14 on her first date - a freshman in high school. it was a group date. that was over a decade ago! :)

My youngest son? He's 11. He has no interest in dating.

It all depends upon the person, their maturity level and how they behave...
What does it matter what your neighbor is doing? He's not your kid nor your responsibility. If your son asks why the neighbor can and he can't - they have different rules than we do.

ANY friendship can make things complicated. This is life. They have to learn how to make decisions on their own as well. Yes, girls can complicate things. It's up to you to keep guiding your children...

hope this helps!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My first boyfiriend was Adam Ceasar in 3rd grade. Yes, 3rd grade. That meant he pushed me on the tire swing, but otherwise we avoided each other.

My husband and I are not big on the idea of dating, our oldest is 10...and she has an army of people lined up to put whoever wants to date her in their place, but I digress. Whenever she wants to hang out with someone, so be it. Her best friend at school is a little boy and I can tell you, we tell her all the time this is the exact type of person she should look to date as she gets older. Not him, but the way he is as a person is good. And for my husband to tell her that is saying something!

Also, I wouldn't worry about what other people do.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I always wonder how kids can "date" when they are 12/14....?
To me, dating is going out to a movie, dinner, dancing, rock climbing. If you can't DRIVE then you can't date, right?! Unless mom wants to drive you guys around. And this mom, doesn't. kids can date when they can drive. lol

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Kids started dating when they started in jr. high when I was a kid, so at 12. Of course dating at 12 was a lot different than dating at 17. At 12 dating meant going to the dance, talking on the phone and passing notes. Even at the dance we danced the slow dances with our "date" then retreated back to our girlfriends to giggle about it. The average relationship started with "my friend likes you" and lasted approximately two weeks. It was sort of practice dating and it was fun. If your son isn't interested, then fine, but there is nothing wrong with it. It is a pretty natural age to be interested.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

so your not going to let your child go to school dances? I think if you draw that kind of a line regardless of how long you have been talking about it when he hits highschool he will want to date. I do think 12 is too young. I think 14 is too young lol. But I think a freshman is going to want to go to the dance / football games / skating rink on a date and if you draw that "you can only do schoolwork" line in the sand it is hard to undraw once the ultimatum is there. A kid can have a normal highschool social life and still do well in school. Just my thoughts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter has had a "boyfriend". She's nine. Her "boyfriend" is in her Taekwondo class. It doesn't mean much. I'll worry about it when she's driving, lol.

I plan to let my kids date at 16.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

I remember when I was in school boys and girls in middle school made the title of "boyfriend, girlfriend" but it didn't necessarily mean they went on dates.

I will probably set the rule that no dating until they are in high school. If they do the typical boyfriend, girlfriend thing in middle school I won't be too concerned about it because its not like they can really see each other outside of school/school events. But, I predict my girls won't have interest until later in life. I'm not one of those parents that make it all cutesy in their early life. I flat out talk about boys being friends just like they are friends with their girls. I know many parents that push boyfriend/girlfriend relationships on their kids early on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I'm a little curious what 'dating' actually looks like at 12 years old. Your parents drive you to dinner? Movies? What?

Back in the day, and at that age (early 80s), it was called 'going out.' And basically didn't mean dating, but that you liked one another. And everyone at school knew you liked one another.

At any rate, real dating in our house and for our daughter will probably start around 15-16 years old. 16 if I have my say! That's what it was for me when I was growing up, and I agree with that age.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My hope is that my daughter will be hanging out in groups in middle school. I will let her date in high school. But I really don't want to think about it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My feeling is that 16 is a more mature age. Until that age boys and girls should be together in groups.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son was 12 when he had his first girlfriend. But at that age they don't 'date' anytime they saw each other was at school or with adult supervision. Now he's almost 15 and still only see's his girlfriend at school and with either her parents or us with them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New London on

Meh...not really. I mean I'm with you on they should be focusing on school at that age and I feel like they should be building strong friendships but the other situation isn't my business.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Anyone under 16 probably doesn't have the maturity to handle being alone in a car with a person they are "dating". It takes being prepared to fend off advances that are unwanted and to be able to know when something isn't right.

College age girls still get date raped and it's even easier to do this to a younger girl.

I think anyone younger, say 14, should be allowed to do group stuff but I would still be supervising. Say they want to go to a movie with a bunch of friends. I'd say they could go but I was also going to see a movie, perhaps another movie but I'd be there in the building just in case.

A 12 year old might call a girl his girl friend but in all reality...where are they going to go? If the parents have any sense at all they won't let these kids go out together alone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Depends on definition of date. At my granddaughter's middle school hanging out on the playground is a date. My 13 yo granddaughter is allowed to participate in group activities that include boys. They do pair off, unfortunately. Therefore an adult has to supervise. Kids still call it dating. My granddaughter can have a boy visit her at home just as she would any friend as long as a parent is present. A parent has always had to be present even with a girlfriend.

Boy/girl relationships at this age is definitely complicated. Parents definitely need to be more aware not only of their kid's friends and activities But also of children's ddefinitions. With society's focus on sex, we need to maintain open and on going communication. Without it, kids are more apt to follow the "crowd" without talking to parents.

It's quite likely your 14 yo is not interested in girls but he is likely to be friends with girls. Do you know what his group of friends are doing?


answers from Norfolk on

Anything under 16 is too young.
And for a few people even 18 is too young if they are very immature.
Our son has been seeing some of his friends date since 5th grade.
The drama and nastiness when the inevitable break-up happens is just unbelievable.
He asks his friends "So you like do this for FUN?!?" and he thinks they are nuts.
He is allowed to date when he's 16 - he doesn't have to if he doesn't want to. (Good grief! That's only a year away!)
There is noting wrong with being a late bloomer (I was) and they tend to start dating in college.



answers from Los Angeles on

I also say 16. It's when I could date and when my kids will be able. Seems to me you need to be able to drive together and be able to have a job to pay for the date. If mom/dad are driving and paying, you are too young.



answers from Colorado Springs on

My older son would say that under 35 is too young to date.

He has three daughters who are growing up!



answers from Philadelphia on

I think "dating" is situational. 12 years old and having a girlfriend... what kind of girlfriend is this? What do they do? My 26 year didn't really date much as a teen. Well, no dating at all but did group things. After high school he dated much more. If he had more experience as a teen he would have been much more prepared as an adult.

My 18 year old had his first "girlfriend" at 14. They didn't talk on the phone. They didn't go out on one on one dates. They group dated to a dance and a football game. We met the parents and all that. She ended up being a bit mental, seriously, so he stopped dating her. He then started "dating" her best friend which means he saw her at school. I told him that it was a mistake and why, which it was, and he stopped seeing her. He learned a lot and didn't date again until he was 16. He's 18 and has had a girlfriend for nearly a year. He's a senior, she's a junior.

I think at age 12 to "date" should mean seeing each other at school, discussing what is and is not acceptable behavior, and going to school dances, dinner at each other's houses, stuff like that. By 14 it's basically the same but can do some group things. By 16 they should be able to go to movies and dinner or lunch, dances and such. It also depends on the child's personality. you'll know what they're ready and not ready for. But waiting completely until they're 16 is a bit late IF the child wants to go to a dance or something with a girl. Long talks are always good. They need to have limited experience with the opposite sex so they're better prepared as an adult to handle relationships. Be open about the dating without being pushy and openly discuss things.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets



answers from Cleveland on

Lol, I joke with my kids no kissing till you are 16 but it isn't a line in the sand, it's just our general morals and values, I also don't sexualize my kids my DD wears clothing that is not too old for her age and I encourage my son to be a gentleman and to be a good husband THEN a good father.

This post makes me wonder though because a lot of kids at 12 are unsupervised for large amounts of time, latch key afterschool, weekend when mom has little sis at dance and dad has lil bro at hockey etc. so I wonder how innocent dating at 12 really is, some of you seem to think that if you did it at that age it was fine but I bet you had more supervison.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions