What age is a good age to let your kids start dating? Good question, but I don’t have an answer that is necessarily a “universal fit”. So much of it can have to do with how mature your child is. And maturity can blossom at different ages. You really need to ask yourself some questions about your child to figure out if they’re ready to handle dating. How responsible are they? Do they generally make good decisions? Do they have a tendency to succumb to peer pressure?
You’re probably thinking, “What kid can past this test?”. If they’re not mature, then they likely won’t pass the test. Dating isn’t for kids. There can be lots of pressure in dating and lots of drama. Is your child mature enough to handle it? Some parents look at dating as “cute”. And it can be. But by dating I am not talking about your son or daughter going to the junior high dance with someone. I am talking about an ongoing relationship – boyfriend and girlfriend – a commitment to one person of the opposite sex.
I remember in 9th grade when I wanted to date a particular girl, she said I had to meet her dad first. “Why?” I wondered. “He wants to ask you some questions,” she said. “Some questions” turned into an hour-long interrogation. The room was dark and a bright light was shinning in my eyes. Ok, not really but I was definitely on the hot seat. Looking back I appreciated what her father did. He wanted to check me out; see what kind of a person I was and make sure I understood the boundaries of this dating thing. I did past his test and got to date her, and I felt good about it. I imagine some guys didn’t make the cut.
So when you believe your child is mature enough to date, make sure you set the ground rules. You’ve probably already had the sex talk with them, but this would be a good time to bring it up again. You don’t want the first kiss to turn in to the first….well you get the idea. So set the ground rules up front and make sure you do your do diligence on the person they want to date. Your child may be ready for a dating relationship, but the person they want to date may not be. I always want to meet any potential suitor for my children. They are precious to me and dating them is a privilege not a right.
To read more on this topic, see Part 1 of this blog series.