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Parents: What is an appropriate age for teenagers to have boyfriends/girlfriends?

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Parents: What is an appropriate age for teenagers to have boyfriends/girlfriends?

For parents with similar teenagers, what in your honest opinion is the right age for teens to start having boy/girl friends? There are some that say it's normal for 15yr old girls to be trying to impress the boys and "hanging out" with them, the same goes for the boys too

Your thoughts please
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Dec 31, 2005
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Depends on what you define Boyfriend/Girlfriend...

I have no problem with the kids going on a date at 13 or so....would imply that that age would be fine for a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Now I know that not everyone is ready at that age.

Not really a big deal. Part of growing up.
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May 14, 2010
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Kids in elementary school are having boyfriends and girlfriends.
My stepson had one in grade 6, they would talk on the phone and on msn. they would hang out at the park with friends and attend each others parties. They didn't date.


I think by 14 we let them go to malls with their "boyfriend" or "girlfriend".

I think girls start a lot younger trying to impress the boys than 15... if you see some of the things girls post on facebook it can get a little scary.
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I ask because I have a 15yr old going on 16 and she seems to want to spend most of her time at her "friend's" house who happens to be a boy. Now am told that the boy's parents won't let him have people over when they aren't in, and likewise my daughter has told me that the boy is scared of even coming close to our house now after I freaked out at her one time.

My wife's take on it is that the boy is smart, from a good home....therefore she doesn't see anything wrong with them hanging out. Am I being over protective here, knowing what goes through boys head at that age, especially when they get together with their buddies? My take on the whole thing is that she doesn't need distraction at this point going into grade 11

your thoughts
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Bad move, freaking on her IMO. You ultimately want them to bring their friends, male or female, home. My feeling is that you want to get to know everyone they hang with and have a comfortable, open relationship so they can tell you anything and everything that is going on with them. We've cultivated the same type of relationships with all our kids friends as well. What you don't know can hurt you, KWIM? ;)

As for "dating", at almost 16, it's inevitable. Take a deep breath and relax. If you've instilled the values and morals you expect from her, she'll be fine. And don't get caught up in the drama whatever you do! LOL! The "boyfriends" will come and go, often quite rapidly. :)
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toopence wrote: I ask because I have a 15yr old going on 16 and she seems to want to spend most of her time at her "friend's" house who happens to be a boy. Now am told that the boy's parents won't let him have people over when they aren't in, and likewise my daughter has told me that the boy is scared of even coming close to our house now after I freaked out at her one time.

My wife's take on it is that the boy is smart, from a good home....therefore she doesn't see anything wrong with them hanging out. Am I being over protective here, knowing what goes through boys head at that age, especially when they get together with their buddies? My take on the whole thing is that she doesn't need distraction at this point going into grade 11

your thoughts

I'd say learning about relationships is just as important at this point in life.

Love, lost love, it is all part of growing up.

If you are so worried about school...you should have planned to have her take 5 years and enjoy life and school. There is no reason not to take 5 years. Many of the GC at the top Toronto schools actually recommend it as it allows you to get better marks and take subjects that you may not have been able to take otherwise (music, arts, language...).
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Nov 6, 2011
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I'm 27 and by the time I was 14 everyone was "dating." By that I mean, holding hands and kissing, going to the mall together and not much else. I'd say 14 is acceptable for that. Serious dating, maybe 16. I also agree that it was a bad idea freaking out on her in front of a friend, boy or girl. As a recently former teen girl, you do NOT want her to feel uncomfortable bringing her friends home.
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Yea... You kinda have to try not to freak out but I think having rules and boundaries is important and both parties understand them. Also if you have not had the sex speech (though I think it is an ongoing conversation) do it without being preachy. Oh and I would rather had them over to your house supervised or not (your choice really) so they do not feel completely alienated.

I am 23 so was a teenager not insanely long ago. However, consider me the odd man, er woman, out but dating in highschool let alone the younger grades was completely foreign to me as far as personal experience goes. However people were dating at the age you mention.
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dibksbgon wrote: Yea... You kinda have to try not to freak out but I think having rules and boundaries is important and both parties understand them. Also if you have not had the sex speech (though I think it is an ongoing conversation) do it without being preachy. Oh and I would rather had them over to your house supervised or not (your choice really) so they do not feel completely alienated.

I am 23 so was a teenager not insanely long ago. However, consider me the odd man, er woman, out but dating in highschool let alone the younger grades was completely foreign to me as far as personal experience goes. However people were dating at the age you mention.

Sex talk comes early for many...

When my wife taught grade 7/8 (now 10 years ago), the health nurse would each give the kids cards which ranged from holding hands to oral sex to intercourse and they had to complete the continuum of sexual activity and line up... They would then have to discuss with the class.
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toopence wrote: I ask because I have a 15yr old going on 16 and she seems to want to spend most of her time at her "friend's" house who happens to be a boy. Now am told that the boy's parents won't let him have people over when they aren't in, and likewise my daughter has told me that the boy is scared of even coming close to our house now after I freaked out at her one time.

My wife's take on it is that the boy is smart, from a good home....therefore she doesn't see anything wrong with them hanging out. Am I being over protective here, knowing what goes through boys head at that age, especially when they get together with their buddies? My take on the whole thing is that she doesn't need distraction at this point going into grade 11

your thoughts

My policy is ... I support their decisions. I even drive them to and from places they want to go (or date).
My elder one had her first BF before grade 6. They did not continue because she moved to another school. They did meet again in high school and still are good friends.
When she went to high school, she has a new BF since probably grade 9. That did not affect her in school at all. He is still her BF right now.

For my younger one, she does not have one (grade 12 now). I always joke that why she still does not have a BF.

IMO, it is better they tell me everything and I say okay than they don't tell me anything before I say no.
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gman wrote: My policy is ... I support their decisions. I even drive them to and from places they want to go (or date).
My elder one had her first BF before grade 6. They did not continue because she moved to another school. They did meet again in high school and still are good friends.
When she went to high school, she has a new BF since probably grade 9. That did not affect her in school at all. He is still her BF right now.

For my younger one, she does not have one (grade 12 now). I always joke that why she still does not have a BF.

IMO, it is better they tell me everything and I say okay than they don't tell me anything before I say no.

Sounds somewhat reasonable. Just one thing as someone who not so long ago was like your younger daughter and never dated/had sex in high school, it is not something to necessarily tease/joke to her about. I am just saying. I know I am not a parent here. I just remember in highschool which was not too long ago, not dating, not having sex did make you an odd one out (I was the odd one out for that and because I got good grades ergo I got that keener sort of label). Her reason for not dating could be because she does not feel she is ready or there is no one she is particularly attracted to and so forth. For me it was both in highschool. I did not date because one guy firmly said to me he expected sex which I was in no way going to have in highschool. I also did not really believe in highschool relationships but alas I do understand I guess it is the experience... Anywhose that was just my perspective in highschool being surrounded by people who constantly switched girlfriends/boyfriends every other week. That said I know some who are still together (going on 6+ years later). Even knowing it is from a place of love and jest and not serious and so forth, she could still take some of it to heart.


Please do not take any of this really personally. Just sort of providing my experience
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dibksbgon wrote: Sounds somewhat reasonable. Just one thing as someone who not so long ago was like your younger daughter and never dated/had sex in high school, it is not something to necessarily tease/joke to her about. I am just saying. I know I am not a parent here. I just remember in highschool which was not too long ago, not dating, not having sex did make you an odd one out (I was the odd one out for that and because I got good grades ergo I got that keener sort of label). Her reason for not dating could be because she does not feel she is ready or there is no one she is particularly attracted to and so forth. For me it was both in highschool. I did not date because one guy firmly said to me he expected sex which I was in no way going to have in highschool. I also did not really believe in highschool relationships but alas I do understand I guess it is the experience... Anywhose that was just my perspective in highschool being surrounded by people who constantly switched girlfriends/boyfriends every other week. That said I know some who are still together (going on 6+ years later). Even knowing it is from a place of love and jest and not serious and so forth, she could still take some of it to heart.


Please do not take any of this really personally. Just sort of providing my experience

Thank you for sharing. As far as I know, my kids were not pressured for that. They both are leaders in the school. That is people follow their lead more than the other way around. I also was part of their "circle". That is I was "mixed" with their friends. I could not imagine what they talked about when I was presented. I was totally transparent to them. I only had to tell them "Hey! I am still here" when they started to talk about M stuff. I got clues about what has been going on.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like. -- Will Smith
Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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As a father of 2 girls, 30 should be the right age. I know it is a lost cause, but what else can I do... :cheesygri
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Just for the record, I didn't freak out at her in front of the guy.....I really appreciate everyone's input here, and teh general consensus seems to be that 16 is a right age for girls to start dating, but not necessarily having sex. You can see why am being cautious here as a father, I don't want to be the one left picking up the pieces should the unthinkable happen.

I know she already thinks little kids are "annoying", and she watches the 16 and pregnant show on MTV, and sees what those girls have to go through. The one thing I wish she will cut down on though, is the constant texting that can go on for hours, which am sure can be a distraction
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toopence wrote: Just for the record, I didn't freak out at her in front of the guy.....I really appreciate everyone's input here, and teh general consensus seems to be that 16 is a right age for girls to start dating, but not necessarily having sex. You can see why am being cautious here as a father, I don't want to be the one left picking up the pieces should the unthinkable happen.

I know she already thinks little kids are "annoying", and she watches the 16 and pregnant show on MTV, and sees what those girls have to go through. The one thing I wish she will cut down on though, is the constant texting that can go on for hours, which am sure can be a distraction

First, I think that our society has the tools in place to do a great job showcasing some of the worst nightmares that face a child making the wrong decisions; shows such as Intervention and 16 and Pregnant do not give any glory to what the topic is at hand and show a lot of the bad things associated with it. While I would not ever say that 16 and Pregnant is a great show everyone must watch, it gives a "reality" (as much as can be) check as to what life can be like when making different choices. Having your children who are mature enough to understand the show watch it can only help the situation.

That said, your children are able to make up their own minds as to what they want to do and when they want to do it. You are not going to be able to control what they do on their "dates". If you are going to allow your daughter to be open to you about her dating (because again, she can do it behind your back and possibly has already) you are going to have to put faith in her that she will make the right decisions. While she may not make the right decisions all the time, you have to realize that the relationship you form with her is what is going to enable her to talk to you about her mistakes and give you the opportunity to provide advice as to what to do from this point forward.

You have to accept the fact that you do not control your daughter. You provide her a framework to live within but because she has freedom to do as she pleases she is able to choose whether she fits in your framework or not. No girl says "I want to be pregnant at 15 by a random boy" and no father says "I wish my daughter would be pregnant already, she's almost 16". But it happens. And you can't stop it, you can just provide her with the knowledge to try and prevent it and the love and support that enables her to talk to you about it.
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TrevorK wrote: First, I think that our society has the tools in place to do a great job showcasing some of the worst nightmares that face a child making the wrong decisions; shows such as Intervention and 16 and Pregnant do not give any glory to what the topic is at hand and show a lot of the bad things associated with it. While I would not ever say that 16 and Pregnant is a great show everyone must watch, it gives a "reality" (as much as can be) check as to what life can be like when making different choices. Having your children who are mature enough to understand the show watch it can only help the situation.

That said, your children are able to make up their own minds as to what they want to do and when they want to do it. You are not going to be able to control what they do on their "dates". If you are going to allow your daughter to be open to you about her dating (because again, she can do it behind your back and possibly has already) you are going to have to put faith in her that she will make the right decisions. While she may not make the right decisions all the time, you have to realize that the relationship you form with her is what is going to enable her to talk to you about her mistakes and give you the opportunity to provide advice as to what to do from this point forward.

You have to accept the fact that you do not control your daughter. You provide her a framework to live within but because she has freedom to do as she pleases she is able to choose whether she fits in your framework or not. No girl says "I want to be pregnant at 15 by a random boy" and no father says "I wish my daughter would be pregnant already, she's almost 16". But it happens. And you can't stop it, you can just provide her with the knowledge to try and prevent it and the love and support that enables her to talk to you about it.


Appreciated and points taken. We had a great weekend, hanging out and watched movies together, she told her mum that she definitely thinks am on pills because I was all cool with her, smiling and joking around
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the constant texting is just a teen thing, not even a gf/bf thing.
it's really annoying lol
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dragongirl_76 wrote: the constant texting is just a teen thing, not even a gf/bf thing.
it's really annoying lol

Uhmm... not all of us are teens, LOL! ;) I can do 2500+ texts a month and most of them are to my kids. :D Everything from work schedules to asinine stuff with a few important subjects thrown in for good measure...
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dragongirl_76 wrote: the constant texting is just a teen thing, not even a gf/bf thing.
it's really annoying lol


It sure is...I have said to her "why not type up all that you have to say and just send it at once"? instead of the LOL, wuts up and all that :-)

As I pulled round the corner from my house yesterday after work, I saw my daughter talking to her "friend"...when she came into the house, I said you obviously like him right and you aren't just friends? She smiled....I said listen, you guys can "hang out" outside the house/driveway, but not inside the house when we ( parents ) aren't home. She goes really? I said yes, but I don't want any funny business going on

She said the boy is scared of me...I said well you have to assure him that I said it's ok, as long as he behaves

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