Poll: Teen Dating

Updated on May 15, 2014
C.R. asks from Olathe, KS
32 answers

At what age do you allow your teen daughter to date? 13, 14, 15, 16????

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answers from San Francisco on

What do you mean by "dating?"
I have two teenagers and an almost 21 year old, and I can tell you they don't really "date" at least not in the traditional sense. They tend to hang out in boy girl groups. They rarely go out one on one.
Not because parents don't allow it, just because that's how they prefer to socialize (around here anyway.)
My son never took a girl out on a proper date until he went to college!
ETA: if one of them had asked me when they could date (alone, unsupervised) I would probably say 16.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My kids were all really slow in this area, so it was never an issue for me. I was like, when are you gonna start dating? High school's over already.

But since I remember my own peers hanging out with the opposite sex when I was 14, I think I would have been okay with my kids dating at 14.

Maybe part of the reason my kids were slow to start dating was because I never made it a forbidden fruit? Just a thought.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

Honestly I don't see a point at that age. In my ideal world they won't date at all until they are 17/18. And that goes for both my sons and daughter. I am going to do my best to have my kids focus on friends rather then dating.

NOTE I said try my best...who knows how that will all go! So I also plan on preparing on younger like 15 ish

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Erie on

She will date when she feels she is ready. I don't need to put some arbitrary minimum age limit on her social life. I don't even know if she's straight or gay yet, she's 12.

We don't "fear" society's influence (because we have never shackled them with unrealistic beliefs about relationships), nor do we believe dating is preparing someone for marriage. When I hear other parents say things like that, it's very obvious to me that they: 1. aren't being realistic in general; and 2. should prepare themselves for backlash if their rules are too strict.

And yes, we are raising the boys the same way. My oldest had one girlfriend in high school, it lasted a couple of months. They spent time mostly in a group. He's bisexual and hasn't been in any romantic relationships since (he's 19 and out to prove all stereotypes false lol!). My 16yo is dating a lovely girl right now, they spend most of their time at our house or going for walks. They met at a dance. My 14yo has no interest in dating, he's pretty wrapped up in school and band. I have no idea if anyone has expressed interest in him that way, but I am going to bet not if he hasn't shared it with me.

We have given them ONE caveat they must follow. They MUST talk to us before they have sex. We are not forbidding it, we just want to go over being safe with their bodies and their partners.
How is that working for us? So far so good :)

As I read through these answers, it occurs to me that the METHOD which we use to help our kids avoid bad relationships and social situations is pretty much the same as people who are more conservative/religious than us, though our moral bedrocks differ quite a bit (this isn't about keeping our children 'pure' until marriage, it's about respect for others and honoring your own body). We keep our kids close, they don't roam in big groups, we spend time with them. Our kids don't look to their friends or social circles for the love they are missing at home (I say this as a kid who DID do this, due to my father pretty much deserting us when I was 12), and they bring their friends home, often. By the time the kids are in high school, I don't need to know their parents, I trust my kids' judgement (for the most part lol) about who they want to spend time with, within certain boundaries of course. They aren't adults, yet, but we're getting there :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Depends on the Child. When I was 14, My mom or the young men I was "going out with" our parents would drive us to the movies and then pick us up.

Or we would go for Pizza together at the local Pizza Shop.. Many times they would come to my home, Or I would go to their homes and we would play board games or watch a football game maybe have meals with each others families.

We did not have Videos at that time, but I am sure if we had DVD's or video games, that would have been a part of it.

My mom was a very shrewd woman. She would have me invite these young men over so she could really get to know them and they could get to know her and her expectations. They would join us at church at festivals.. all sorts of things.

Sometimes, I would realize, they were not really that great. One that was awesome all through the years is now my husband, we were sweet on each other since we were 13. We have now been married over 30 years.

I really encourage parents to allow a bit of dating if it comes up, because once they leave for college they are on their own. When they are living at home, you can really guide them with these relationships. It is a lot better to have some experience with parents close by.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Here's the thing...teens who are attracted to someone will do what they want, with or without your permission. The ones not "allowed" to date will just do it behind their parents' backs.

My two oldest are 16 and in 10th grade, a boy and girl. Both were "going out" with people in 8th grade. Of course "going out" at that age means that everyone knows they're a couple, they text and call and sit together at lunch, and hang out with friends and engage in PDAs, maybe go to the movies or bowling or something, with other kids and/or parents. Basically, they're friends who make out (and you hope that's all they're doing).

Dating in 9th and 10th grade is pretty much the same, only with a little more freedom, because they don't drive yet. Our daughter has been going out with the same boy for a year and half. I worry that being with the same person for so long at this age is a bit too serious, but he's a great kid and we really couldn't ask for someone better for her, so there's no point in saying "we know your boyfriend is perfect, but break up with him and casually date some losers instead because we don't think a serious relationship is good at your age." They see each other at school and have the same circle of friends, they're on the robotics team together, he walks her home from school a few days a week, they have dinner at his house or out with his parents on Friday nights, and sometimes my husband will take them bowling or to the movies or out to play mini golf or something.

My son has a girlfriend who comes over after school on Fridays and they hang out here, and he goes to her house to hang out on Saturdays. Their relationship is actually too intense and unhealthy and will probably end soon, but I'm glad that we're able to talk openly about it.

Acknowledging that your kids are attracted to their peers and allowing those feelings and appropriate hanging out allow you the chance to get to know the people they like and give them honest feedback on what you see that is good or unhealthy about those relationships. My daughter used to be drawn to dramatic boys who were a bit of a mess, so we talked about that and luckily, she seems to be over that now. My son's current girlfriend actually attempted suicide last week and is in a psychiatric hospital (getting out tomorrow). I'd hate to think that if he weren't "allowed" to date that he would like this girl and see her without our knowledge and then not have someone to talk to about this very serious issue.

The real dates will start to happen when they or their boyfriends/girlfriends are old enough to drive. Until then it's group dates or being taken places by a parent.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We did not set an age that our children had to meet to begin dating. It depended on the situation. My oldest went skiing with a date in 8th grade, the date's father was also at the small ski area. My youngest took a girl to the movies the summer after 8th grade as a first date.

I'm a big fan of teens dating. Not necessarily without rules or limits, but I wanted them to have experience in that area while they were still under my supervision, before they left home for college. I don't believe that the purpose of dating is to find a marriage partner. I don't want my kids rushing into young marriages, and I feel that relationships are a part of life.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter had her first boyfriend at 14. Since neither of them could drive, their dates consisted mostly of his dad dropping him at my house or me dropping her at his house so they could watch movies, play video games, etc. with an adult in the house. But I had no objection to dropping them off and picking them up if they wanted to go see a movie.
For me, the purpose of dating isn't to find a spouse. The purpose of dating is to enjoy time with another person, and to learn how to navigate relationships. Many people don't ever want to marry. Should they not date then?
I've been married and have no desire to ever be again. But I still date.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

boys here. i never imposed an arbitrary age. my boys had 'girlfriends' in elementary school, which seemed to involve nothing more serious than a mumbled request and the cachet of saying 'she's my gf!' and maybe a valentine.
the transition from that through 'hanging out' in groups, sitting together on field trips or movies or homeschool co-ops and then onto one-on-one dates just happened organically. they were raised to respect women, and discussions about sex had been ongoing throughout their childhoods.
that doesn't mean we were cavalier about it, or put them in situations where risky behavior would have been encouraged. but i think when you're dealing with adults-in-training it's preferable to treat them with trust and respect, and also to verify. it makes me sad how many parents assume the worst of their teenagers.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I have boys. I plan to stay out of their love life for the most part. If they want to take a girl on a proper date I suppose they will need a license, but if they could walk I would be fine with sooner. I do except that they will invite any young woman (or man) they have seen a few times around for dinner so I can meet them. For my part, I have been talking openly with them about sex for years already, and will make sure they are fully educated so they can make smart choices about sex and when to have it and how to be protected.

But I do have one question, I have seen this same question posted in another group I am in and it is always about the daughters, why? Do people still raise their sons and daughters with double standards? I know I would certainly not, and if I did have a girl the rules would be the same for her as for her brothers.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

In my family, it was about maturity, not age.

My brothers were both very impulsive and a bit crazy... So they weren't allowed to date until 16. I was always very mellow and mature for my age, and not all too interested in boys, so the few times I wanted to "date" younger, I was allowed to. (Around 14... And my version of "dating" was going out with a bunch of friends, including a guy I may be interested in) my younger sister was VERY bad about trying to sneak out and such, so she wasn't allowed to date until she was closer to 17.

Age is just a number.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is a really tricky thing to navigate. The thing that you have to watch out for is teens getting emotionally connected to someone becuase they've been too open with eachother's bodies and have made a strong physcial connection that's heart-breaking when the inevitable break up comes.

Our kids are almost 15 and almost 18. We have let them do things in groups since 8th grades - groups to the movies with parents picking up and dropping off, etc. My daughter got involved with a boy in 9th grade - his mom and I were on the same page in terms of parents must be home, no closed doors, no hanging out alone in the finished basement, etc. But it was really difficult keeping them from being all over eachother - they're teens with wild hormones. The media sends all kinds of messages that sex is fine at any age - so it's natrual that the kids are confused. I was glad when that "romance" came to an end.

My 18 yr old daughter now dates from time to time - goes to the movies, out to dinner, etc. - so she's learning how to control things, how to get herself out of difficult situations. She's really close to my husband and I so she doesn't seem to have this need to have a boyfriend just for the sake of having a boyfriend. There are a few guys (really hnice guys) whom she's dated - who wnat to continute to date her but as much as she likes them she doesn't "like" them. Knowing she's going off to college in 3 months I'm comforted knowing she's not desperate for a boyfriend and is selective.

My kids have always been plugged in to our church youth group (about 50-60 kids) so they have plenty of opportunities to be out doing things with guys & girls where there are adults in range.

To make a short answer long - there's no perfect age. There's no defininte perfect way to do this. Each kid is different and you can gauge whether or not they're ready for it. If your daughter is boy crazy and is desperate to have a boyfriend like her friends do she 's probably NOT mature enough to date - since she'll settle for any guy, and may be prone to say yes to anything just to have a boyfriend. You also don't want your son to be the guy who goes out with girls just to see how far he can go with them.

I am one of those people who thinks that real "dating" - 2 people alone out together - should be for the purpose of finding a spouse and before that time teens should go out in groups. I know that's a conservative view. But I think that young people getting physically involved with lots of people can be damaging in the long run and they need their parents to help them figure out how to set boundaries. I was a damaged teen and wish my mom knew then what I know now about how to handle this situation. ;o)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

The policy in my house is they can start dating in High School but the dates have to be in public places (Malls, Parks or Zoos) Untill we have dinner with other teen's parents.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My son, when he is a teen, will be allowed to actually date at 16 at earliest, and if he's doing well in school, etc. Dating is a privilege of proven maturity and responsibility, not a right.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Our rule is they can start dating at 16. They will have a job by then and can pay for dates. And even then it cannot be steady dating. It is the time to get to know a lot of people, not get serious. Our kids know that they will not be allowed to go out with the same person over and over again. They have to go on some dates with other people before they go back out with the one they really like.

Our son has had multiple girls ask him on a date or to be their boyfriend. He flat out tells them that he will take a raincheck for when he is 16. He also talks to his friends about going on group dates. Right now they do a lot of church activities and dances together.

We always encourage opposite gender friendships. We host lots of pool parties and get togethers so our kids feel comfortable sharing their friends with us. We have lots of gatherings so boys and girls can hang out and have fun and not be all about partnering up.

Girls have come over for dinner, we take them with us on an outing or out to the movie with our family. When our son wants to go for a walk and meet up with a girl he has to take a younger sibling.

He just knows the rule and abides by it. He knows that we want him to date...just not now. We talk about the dates he plans to go on and he asks us for ideas for fun group dates. He can't wait to go! We can 't wait for him to go.

He is very open about talking about sex,drugs,pornography, masturbation etc. We just are very open and talk about stuff before they happen.

Ok..I am going off on a tangent. But...there is such emotional immaturity and impulsiveness in these hormone riddled kids. It is important to talk about all this stuff before they start dating so they understand what dating is. Dating this young is not in preparation to get married. It is to get to know lots of different girls. We talk about situations before they happen so our kids have a game plan for sticky and uncomfortable moment.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

The most important thing is to have an open relationship with your child so when they're interested in spending time alone with someone of the opposite gender they understand that it's fun AND a big responsibility.

When you put a number on it you set yourself up for a battle. My daughter went to prom at 15 and hangs out with boys but thankfully no real boyfriend yet. I think it has a lot to do with her maturity and our family relationship. If she wanted to get more serious with a particular guy I would never say "no dating until xx" I would encourage her to hold on to her independence and take it slow.

I'd love to see some of these parents apply that rule in the real world. You guys do know teens drive, go to dances, socialize in a million different ways right? If they want to be with someone they will find a way.

Help them build a strong foundation of self esteem, goals and a busy life of their own and then let them use those skills to figure out who they want to spend time with. You just cannot control everything.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

After Christmas holidays of the senior year. Why rush it?

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answers from Washington DC on

Yeah I am not sure what you mean by dating. My son is 14 and will be 15 in July. I allow him to go on movie dates with a group of friends. I see no issue with it. Some girls my son knows (freshmen) actually went to jr/sr prom with boyfriends. I'm not ready for car dates so that probably won't come until 16. It's a gray area these days. Lots of kids date in groups instead of one on one. Older kids have (listening to parents of older kids) FWB instead of serious relationships anymore. Signs of the times?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

My girl's only 7, but for me:

Group dates, 14.
Solo coiffured/chaperoned dates, 15
Solo dates, 16.

Then again...no one asked me so...I didn't have my first real boyfriend until I was 21.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Allow? 16. They chose to not date until college.

My youngest is 13, I don't think I could control my laughter if she came home and told me she was in love!

Jen, I think because the OP only has daughters. I have always assumed this question comes up more with girls because girls ask and you want to say no to a 13 year old so you want back up. Boys really don't ask. Granted my son was in college too but he didn't ask my permission, ever.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

As of now my kids think they can date after they graduate college. I will keep that going as long as possible :)

I do explain my meaning of dating to my kids (7, 8, 10); people should date to find their future spouse. I know that society will have an impact on their own views as they get older, but I think it's my job as a parent to instill my values and morals at a young age with the hope that they make better decisions as young adults.

Good luck, it's a slippery slope.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I've told my kids 16 is the dating age in our house. By dating, I mean going somewhere as a couple with no one else.

I've learned that kids now call "dating" what we used to call "going around" when I was a teen- basically it means they are boyfriend & girlfriend in the eyes of their peers. It doesn't mean they go on "dates" like we did. This new "dating" I allowed in 7th grade. In my house, it meant they could go out in groups but no double-dates.

In CA, the driving rules have changed so much that the old fashioned 'guy drives car to girls house, picks her up and they go to the movies' dates don't exist anymore. In CA, a new driver has to have their license 12 months before they can drive a non-sibling minor. Now the dates are usually one parent driving or they meet at the movies.

I look forward to seeing the other responses!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Since I don't want her in adult situations where she will be ill equipped with having to say no to sex or drugs I don't plan on letting her single date until she is at least 16.

I will allow her to go with group activities, both genders and even with someone she likes in a special way. But with the understanding that if I find out she was ever alone with any guy sh'll be a very old woman before I let her go again without me tagging along.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I have heard people state a rule applied to both genders - no dating until you have a job. That pretty much means 15+ in age I suppose. It shows responsibility, plus the kid has pocket money to pay for movies and whatnot.

I know one person that applies that rule to both their own kid and anyone they want to date. Her son can't date a girl that doesn't work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

Not sure about girls but my boys aren't dating until their Senior year!

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answers from Boise on

18. If my teen 16 and up, wants to go out with a guy, it needs to be with a group of kids on a group function. No alone dates. Once they are an adult..18....,then they are ready to be responsible for any decisions they make when I am not there.. That's when they can date. Dating should be for the purpose of finding a suitable mate for marriage. No 13, 14, 15 or 16 yr old girl is going to find a 16 yr old boy looking for that. That's the last thing they have on their mind! And no boys 18 or older (adults) should be dating minors. Age is not just a number! The law certainly doesn't think so.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

16 for my boy and girls and on a very supervised, minimal level and with groups. They could go out alone from time to time, but I have to know where, and it can't be late or overnight etc. No excessive loitering around with significant others in general.

They can have mature, serious dating lives at 18 when they drive and work and move out...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If he wants to.
If he's not interested, I'll be ok with it.
I was a late bloomer - there's nothing wrong with it.
I went out with groups of friends at 16 but it was really college before I was really dating.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

We meet all dates prior to being asked. Oldest started going on "dates" at 14, 9th grade. Dates were always with groups of people to begin with, never alone as a couple. When we got to know the date, and she felt comfortable they were allowed to go out alone. She is graduating and only been out alone a handful of times, she finds she enjoys the group dates a lot better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

One-on-one date...definitely 15/16. Questions like this make me glad I have boys and not girls:)


answers from Minneapolis on

One-on-one dating had to wait until 16. For me, I wanted them to wait until they were old enough to be able to physically remove themselves from a situation (meaning they had a drivers license). They could go out with friends in groups, but couldn't do the one-on-one until 16. It's not about me trusting or not trusting them. I remember what its like being a teen and how easy they can get into a situation they didn't see coming - suddenly at a party with drinking, drugs, sex, etc. and the pressure of being stuck b/c you can't drive. I just removed that element from their lives.



answers from Richmond on

our daughter is only 4, so we wont have to worry about her dating for a while, and when she does start dating, her aunt will be tagging along to make certain the boy fully understands the term'"keep your hands to yourself"...if the boy wants to clumsily grope on someone, he will be more then welcome to date someone else..not my daughter. K. h. my sister and i both had friends who were date raped after the boy convinced them to go out with them alone.

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