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My 13 year old daughter wants a boyfriend. Should I let her?
By carolyn from Cincinnati, OH
Thirteen is definitely too young to date. When my daughters were teenagers (in the late 70s), there was a difference between having a boyfriend/girlfriend and actual dating. They would have a boyfriend, but they didn't actually go out, just hung out at school, during lunch, and between classes. I feel there should be limited dating, even in their late teens.
Hi, I remember when I was 13 and was dating behind my parents' back as my dad was very strict and I was not even allowed to talk to boys unsupervised! I know that if you do not allow your daughter to date at all then she will lie to you, and do it anyway because that's what teenagers do. Be her mother and set the rules you want, like you must meet the boy and you want to know where they are going and when he comes over they can sit in her room with the door open always. You must set the rules up front whatever they are for you because you will hear later "you never told me that", or "that's not fair". If you don't like the boy just be polite, talk to him and she will see what sort of guy he is by herself.
Believe me if you make a big deal she will want him even more. Yep that's what teenagers do, they think they know best, haha. Also, most teenage romances do not last long! Please talk to your daughter about sex, and also who cares peer group pressure. Tell her about teenage pregnancy's, maybe take her to a single mothers place. It's not cool, it's hard work and you have your whole life ahead of you. Talk to her about love and that if he does love you he would not ask you to have sex, he would wait till you were older and if you say no it is not because you don't love him, no matter what he says. Because saying no to sex always means no! But most of all, tell her to have fun and enjoy her life and let her know she can always talk to you - no matter what .
Wish someone had told me all this. Good luck!
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Just yesterday my son told me he asked a girl out and she told him yes. I don't think he should date a girl at this age. He is 14 years old.
Gigi from Paris, France
I don't know how things work in Paris, France. But in Alabama when a boy comes home and says that about a girl (or vise versa), what he means is they are "going together", not physically "going out". Fourteen year olds couldn't "go out" anyway without an adult to act as a facilitator, to either drive them somewhere, drop them off somewhere, provide money for food, movie, etc.
So if you are opposed to that kind of thing, don't facilitate. "Going together" or "going steady" at this age is usually more cute than serious, and the more fuss made about it, the bigger an issue it becomes in the eyes of the kids. The most important thing is that they be supervised properly and given loving guidance about appropriate behavior and respect for each other. Good luck. (12/19/2006)
I agree that 14 is too young, but to help him gracefully, tell him he may go to a movie with her, if you escort them by driving and sitting somewhere in the theatre where you can see them without making them too uncomfortable. Another option would be for him to invite her over to your home for a meal. (12/19/2006)
At 14 it isn't going to last 5 minutes so I wouldn't object. However I would make sure he knows the facts of life and knows how to use condoms. Kids do have sex at this age and 14 is old enough to get a girl pregnant. It would be ignorant to pretends otherwise. I wouldn't encourage or condone the relationship, but I wouldn't make a fuss either. 14 is about right for beginning to be interested in dating and as long as he is going to school and keeping up with his work and his extra curricular hobbies then its part of growing up. Think back to when you were 14.
Take the time to talk honestly to your teen, if they will, and tell them that you are aware of how much the corrupt world pulls at them, encouraging wrong things like dating too early. Remind them that they can learn to be best of friends for a long while, before considering private times with each other as they get older and are outside of the presence of a parent. It would be wise to remind them to keep things wholesome, daytime activities, sharing all sorts of things, games, sports, family picnics, hikes, dinners, cookouts, album making, scrapbooking, reading together and to each other, family video nights with great snacks, etc.
Create a wonderful set of boundaries, if you haven't yet:
Should either teen not be too happy about these ideas, wanting to pull off into silence, into the dark,
go out with others at night, not talk to "parents", become silent or sulky, then this is a red flag for the relationship. It is worthy of private discussion as to the appropriate solutions and options according to the family values and boundaries you are setting. Let the friend know that you are friendly, but firm, kind but alert, and that is what you expect of them both.
God bless you for considering that something must be done quickly. Hope this helps. God bless you.
Be sure to ask where he is taking her, and make sure that you are their driver and can monitor things a bit. I was pretty young for my first date, but it was on a church hayride and picnic. My son took his "girlfriend" fishing with us. I would not let him take her anywhere with other kids and no chaperone. After all, this is a learning experience for him and you. Hope all turns out well. Keep in mind that you are the mom and that his best interests are at heart. (12/20/2006)
By Margie M.
Be careful that you don't read too much into this. Sometimes going out at this age means hanging out together at lunch at school or having someone to talk to of the opposite sex. They have a ready made partner at the school dance. This is a natural first step to actually dating. I know there are kids that are beyond this stage at this age, but if this is your son's first girlfriend than it is all probably innocent.
As stated by others, at this age they need help getting around and you can always be the one to be there for your son to guide him. I know I was shocked when my oldest daughter came home one day and asked me if she could have a boyfriend. She was 12 at the time. My first instinct was to say no you are too young until I asked her what she meant by having a boyfriend. I relaxed after her answer.
I have two beautiful daughters in their 20s that are both seriously dating wonderful young men. Maybe you should talk to your son before you assume anything and take it from there. Good luck with the parenting thing with teenagers. (12/20/2006)
First I want to say that I started dating my now husband when I was only 13 years old, I am now 32 years old and have been married for 12 years. When I started "dating" him it meant just hanging out at school or visits at each others homes that were supervised. We were allowed to go to a local roller skating rink with my younger brother along to watch. We all know how they love to tattle. My advise would be to just watch what activities they do and make sure you are comfortable with the plan. You never know how serious this could eventually be. My husband and I "broke up" quite a few times to date other people, but always came back to each other. Let him enjoy this youthful time. (12/20/2006)
I think you should let your son do what he wants, but warn him about certain things. I am 28 and started dating when I was 12 and I don't think anything was wrong with it. Don't be worried if they start kissing, but if they get to "second base" you should have a serious talk with your son. But don't separate them or you will lose all trust and respect from your son. (01/01/2009)