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CleverDan520
CleverDan520 asks:
Q:

What is the right age to start dating, and to what extent?

What age should kids be allowed to date or have a girlfiend or boyfriend? And to what extent? Like hanging out at school and talking on the phone together or going to movie and different places like that.
In Topics: Teen sexuality and dating
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Mar 11, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

There are a number of views on that "right" age for a teen to start dating. I personally believe that you should make the decision for your children based upon your own personal beliefs and an understanding of your teen's emotional and physical development.

You should know that there is research that demonstrates that children ages 10-12 who begin steady dating often do more poorly in school and have more behavior problems. Thus, there is some agreement as to what is too "young", but there is little understanding of a universal right age. Most experts believe that if teens under age 15 are allowed to date, they should engage in group dates exclusively and a responsible adult should be present.

For more on teen dating, take a look at the following article and section of this website:

http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Teens_Dating_Tips/

http://www.education.com/reference/topic/TeenYears_TeenDatingAndSex/

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Education.com Team

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Additional Answers (57)

armandany
armandany writes:
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edlere
edlere writes:
I have no idea now that I live in the western world. if this question was centred on my background as a child I will say 15. I had my first at 19 which looks too old by the westerners' standard.
> 60 days ago

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chubbybear
chubbybear writes:
When you want to start dating i suggest it should be 16 years maximum
> 60 days ago

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chubbybear
chubbybear writes:
When you want to start dating i suggest it should be 16 years maximum
> 60 days ago

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tatertot99999
tatertot99999 writes:
Well... maybe it depends on how serious the relationship is. If they are 7 years old and making out, then you're screwed! If they are just sort of goofing off together, and only a couple side hugs here and there, then that's OK. The time for a serious relationship is probably when they enter middle school. And if they are young, have a chaperone.
> 60 days ago

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Notamod
Notamod writes:
I am in 9th grade myself and at my school people are dating even in the 7th grade. (which is 12-13 yr olds). Most of them only go to movies and things like that, so, nothing too serious happens MOST of the time, just have good communication between them and you will be fine. I tried dating once and it was mostly texting and hanging out at school. After the experience, I think the perfect age to start dating is 16 because: 1. You can have your own car, 2. You can get a job so you can pay for dates. Whatever the age you set for your children DONT make it too high or they will just date behind your back and serious things can happen. Remember: communication and trust are key.
> 60 days ago

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Tinoe
Tinoe writes:
I think at 16
> 60 days ago

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shemor13
shemor13 writes:
well my best answer to that is your child is living under your roof and you should tell your child the right time to be dating someone so my answer is your child should me dating at the age of 22 or up that my answer to your question. thank you for asking have a nice day
> 60 days ago

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blueseahorse62
blueseahors... writes:
I think at about 14,you should start the little stuff, like hanging out at school, or going to adult-supervised parties together. Movies and all alone dates shouldn't begin before the child is responsible, old enough to drive, and you can trust they won't do anything crazy alone with a boy. Really serious dating probably shouldn't happen unless you feel you could get married to the guy in three years.
This can vary on the teen/adult's responsibility,  maturity, and gender.
You know, kids these days start "dating" at really young ages, but don't really go on dates, or plan on getting married, AND can get into real trouble if not disciplined and mature. Make sure you can trust your teen not to get into a drug deal or sexual affair, before letting them go alone on a date.
> 60 days ago

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pdprice523
pdprice523 writes:
I'm no expert and I'm not going to write an entire paragraph on this but what I've seen is that people are very strict. Kids are 'evolving' nowadays and some are starting to date at 9. But to me I feel that  10-11 would be a good school dating were they don't go out they only see each other at school but 12-13 is to where they should be able to go out but not crazily.. Maybe to eachothers house with the door open and to a movie on double dates. But 14-15 you should be able to trust them but always be cautious until about 16 and a half.
> 60 days ago

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christinab-ny
christinab-ny writes:
I think 12 years is the right age cause they need t have alittle fun
> 60 days ago

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dcruz...
dcruz... writes:
in my opinion when u want to date someone or someone wants to date there is nothing to see the age because dating means fallen in love and love has no age ...but it should taken in some extinct we should not go so far in love that it would become difficult to come back ..and also we should not be afraid to take a step ahead in love... love is very beautiful and also blind it will never let you to see the age... :)
> 60 days ago

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Flash99
Flash99 writes:
I would think a child is ready for dating when they actually get a date.  A better question would be when should you start preparing your child for dating.  In my memory,  interest starts around 7th grade and peer pressure becomes strong around 9th grade, so 7th grade would be the latest I would start preparing the child.

I get annoyed when I hear parents say that dating is a distraction from the child's studies, is unnecessary or can wait until they graduate.  Academic education helps determine a child's financial success, but social education determines the child's happiness.  An inadequate social education can cost the child his dream girlfriend, dream wife, dream job, dream life.  It is ignorant to think that the skills needed to chat up a girl don't also apply to chatting up a human resource director for a job, or selling to a customer, or building a rapport with a major client. Postponing a child's social education until after graduation is the same as sending them into the world with both hands tied behind their back.

I had a relevant epiphany recently, which I would like to share.  The difference between a child and an adult is that the child is completely self centered.  Everything is me, me, me, me, me.  Adults put the wants and need of others before their own.  I have 3 male cousins that took 20 years to transition from child to adult.  They were self centered arrogant jerks, lived with their parents, couldn't hold a job, and couldn't get a second date.  Much like the movie "Failure to Launch", but they were not nearly as personable as Matthew McConaughey.  They were failed human beings. Then in their mid thirties, they got a girlfriend and abruptly joined the human race.  So what caused the transition?  Just growing older didn't work, they were in their mid thirties.  The parents didn't help, the boys were living at home.  It wasn't their beer buddies. They were there the whole time.  Must have been the girlfriend. So I got to wondering, is it possible that the only way a boy transitions to an adult is with the assistance of a girlfriend?  I have come to believe that this is the case.  I believe parents are ineffective because they have been with the child too long and any coaching the parents provide seems like nagging and is ignored.  Friends don't help because the very definition of a friend is someone who accepts you the way you are.  Girlfriends, however, don't accept a boy the way he is.  Anytime a boy hurts their feelings, embarrasses or mistreats them, they let the boy know or they dump him.  Not wanting to deal with a child, the girlfriend yanks the boy to their own level of maturity.  If you accept this view, delaying dating isn't just a mistake, it is a blunder.

Regarding preparation, I had another relevant epiphany.  I had been making a blunder most of my adult life and it cost me dearly.  For my community, I volunteer on the nomination committee, a group that interviews and recommends candidates for the board of directors.  I have been doing this for years.  Many, many times, after interviewing a candidate, the women would say the man didn't make eye contact and was therefore unacceptable.  All the women would nod their heads up and down.  The men were all going "Wait, Huh?, that's a thing?"  Apparently, if a woman doesn't make eye contact, she's rude.  If a man doesn't make eye contact, he's a creep.  This criticism happened repeatedly over the years and dozens of candidates were rejected because of it.  Suddenly, a lot of mysteries in my life were explained.  I am an introvert. Introverts never make eye contact unless they make a deliberate effort. So the reason I couldn't seem to chat up a girl for a date is because I was labeled a creep before I got a sentence out.  I dreaded female teachers.  I would sometimes help a friend out and do a book report for them.  My friend would get an A and I would get a C.  Mystery explained. I must have gone to a hundred job interviews after graduating college. Technical jobs require three interviews, the HR director, the person you will work for and the boss of the person you will work for.  If the HR director was female, never made it further.  If the HR director was male, got all 3 interviews.  Mystery explained.  Closing deals with female clients, always a challenge.  So, if you do nothing else, note your child's behavior well before they start dating and make sure they are following the 3/4 rules for talking to a girl.

1. Eye contact.  If your close enough, look at the pupils.  Large pupils, things are going well.  Small pupils, better change the subject.
2. Face contact.  Interesting property of the human mind called emotional contagion.  If you maintain face contact, your emotions will synchronize with those of the girl.  Keep it up long enough, and you will start mimicking the girl.  If your trying to build a rapport with the girl, too big of an advantage to not use.  Sorry, but your going to have to put your phone away to take advantage of this.
3. Listen.  This is a challenge and requires practice. Lots of practice. Many extroverts have this stream of consciousness thing going and just say whatever enters their head.  As there is no order to what they are saying, it is difficult to assign import and meaning.  It is easy to zone out.  From time to time, the girl will throw out a test question.  If you fail the test, you are on her jerk list.
4. Boys only.  Don't stare at the girls breasts.  You can check out a girls figure at point blank range, but you must immediately complement her on her outfit and you can only do this once, else you're a pervert.  Less risky is checking out a girls hair.  They take it as the complement that it is, but if you get caught doing it, make sure you say something nice about it. Getting caught staring at a girls breasts immediately puts you on the pervert list.  This is particularly likely to happen if you are zoned out while listening.  The best defense is that you actively participate in the girls conversation, asking questions and rendering opinions.  This should keep you from zoning out.

A final comment on parents that want to protect their girls by prohibiting dating.  You let your girls drive a car, a device much more likely to end her life than a date. You train them to drive.  You teach them to drive defensively, and you buy insurance never thinking this will encourage them to drive recklessly.  And then you let them drive. So, dating, which is much less risky, should be treated the same.  You teach them how to date.  You teach them defensive dating, to protect themselves from jerks, and you put them on birth control pills or other premium quality birth control in case things get out of control. No girl wants to be hurt so don't concern yourself with promiscuous behavior.  Teach them what they need to know and let them date.
> 60 days ago

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johnPeyton
johnPeyton writes:
I think he/ she should have at least 18..!!!!
> 60 days ago

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JennieSmith011
JennieSmith... writes:
It should not be allowed untll 16
38 days ago

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Diva2350
Diva2350 writes:
12
Is great for me
37 days ago

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Huricanewolf
Huricanewolf writes:
I think that kids should start dating during high school, so sometime after they are 14 or 15. Group dates are probably a good idea at this age, since it usually is not very serious or intimate. If the child is going on a group date, make sure that you as a parent know generally who the other kids are, if they are bad influences you should not let your child on the date. Once you reach 16, or 15 if they are mature, i think then it is ok to start more serious dating.
25 days ago

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