Would You Let Your Sixteen Year Old Date an Eighteen Year Old?

Updated on April 16, 2018
C.B. asks from Pascoag, RI
12 answers

My daughter has known this boy for years. Our families go to church together, so she sees him two or three times a week. I noticed that towards the end of last year/ the beginning of this year, they started getting closer, but I didn't think anything of it. Today she came home and told me that this boy asked her out on a date. He is a really nice kid, and I wouldn't mind them dating- if it weren't for the age difference. I know that it is only two years difference, but he is a legal adult, and she is still a child. She is in high school, and in a few months he will be going away to college. What do you think about it? How would you handle this in your household/ what was your experience with something like this?

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answers from Boston on

Totally fine and normal. My first boyfriend in high school was two years older than me and it was one of the healthiest relationships I've had. They'll navigate the college thing when the time comes.

8 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

You say he's a nice kid and you wouldn't have a problem with dating but you do. Is your problem just the age or is it something more?

What's wrong with her going on a date with a friend? A date or dates does not mean they'll end up married. No matter who she dates, there will likely be some heartbreak between first date and beyond. We can't stop that as parents.

I'd much prefer my daughter date someone I know of vs someone I know nothing about... especially at age 16.

He's leaving for college. It's unlikely this is long term. Still... if he's a good kid why not allow her to go on a date with him?

You have to trust that you raised your daughter right. She will be ok.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Guaranteed formula for making this guy totally irresistible: forbid your daughter from dating him AND remind your daughter that he will be leaving for college soon.

What you describe sounds like a fine situation - allow your daughter to go on dates with him, keep communication with your daughter open.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Yes, I'd allow it.

I am 3 years older than my husband - we met in high school and we started dating before he was out of high school.
We didn't marry till I was 27 and he was 24 - but we took 9 years to really get to know one another, got our degrees - at separate colleges - got careers - and then married, got a house, had some fun traveling for awhile and then had our son.

Not all dates end up being with Mister (or Miss) Right.
Sometimes you just want to go see a movie with someone.
And I dated several guys before choosing who I wanted.
He dated several girls.
Don't read too much into it.

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answers from Portland on

Why are you concerned? The age difference is ok legally. Because you have known him for years, are you concerned about hischaracter ? Are you uneasy about them having a sexual relationship? If you have been talking about values and sex with her so that she will ask questions about sexuality, their is less to fear. Sex is an issue that you'll have to deal with. I'm surprised it hasn't been an issue by now. You mentioned your daughter and her friend having a strong relationship with your church. I suggest the have similar values. Dating him seems a logical next step in their relationship. There is no guarantee about the future. I suggest not dating because they will be apart next fall is an unnecessary worry. It's life.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

What’s the alternative? Tell her she can’t?

You mention that he’s a nice guy and you wouldn’t mind them dating. While he is legally an adult, he’s really still a teen. And she’s not a kid. She’s also a teen. They’re young. This is a time in their lives to go out on dates. It might lead to a relationship, and it might not. Right now your daughter is excited because the boy she likes has asked her out. Let her be excited. Let her go out on this date.

So much can change between now and next fall. Maybe they’ll be in a relationship. Maybe they won’t. For now, just encourage her to go and have a good time.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It depends. I think it's quite normal for 16 year old girls to be as mature as 18 year old boys, but also quite enamored of the "older guy." I think a 16 y.o. girl can do just as many bad things with a 14 or 16 y.o. boy as with an 18 y.o. Kids don't consider whether someone is a legal adult when they date - they just don't think that way. And, by your definition, can this boy date his 17 year old classmates? Or only others who are 18?

So dating anyone should be based on a history (between you and her, and her father and her) of good discussions about values, sex, pressure to do more than she's ready for, what's necessary (and not necessary) to "keep" a guy, how "no means no" and how to prevent pregnancy/STDs. Hopefully you have had frank and age-appropriate discussions with her over the years.

Preventing her from seeing him is a sure way to get them to sneak off together. Let them date, and he'll go off to college, and it will probably fizzle out due to distance. In the meantime, she can get some experience dating someone she knows well. The fact that she's known him for a long time and they have a solid friendship is great - you should be encouraging that, for this guy and future guys.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on


She's a sophomore in high school and he's a senior? She's NOT a "child" she's a young adult.

He's a nice kid? She's at the age of consent for Rhode Island. So if they ended up having sex? You couldn't press charges.

They've known each other for a while. I'd say yes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I dated a couple of guys with that age difference in high school (at 16) - it never became serious (never turned into a relationship) but I went on dates - sure.

I would be fine with it. I can't add to anything that hasn't been said below.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

She’s actually at the legal age for consent so she’s not technically a child but I know what you mean. At the same time my son is about to be 18 and I can say the same about him.

I actually started dating my husband when I was 16 and he was 18. It did not feel like a bad age gap in fact it was perfect. Girls are generally more mature than boys so we were on the same level. We’ve not been together for 21yrs and married 16yrs.

If he’s a nice boy I don’t see the problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Where is he going away to college at? I would not want her to get attached only to have him move away, that would be my biggest concern. My husband was 17 and I was 19 when we started dating, some people may have thought the age gap was weird since he was still in high school but we have been married for almost 20 years now, so I guess it worked out well enough for us. My advice would be to talk to her about your concerns, treat her like a fellow adult who has some say in all of this, listen to what she has to say, and decide together.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

well you can let her get her cherry popped now or it'll just happen in college to chad thundercock.

might as well go with the flow

1 mom found this helpful
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