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Letters From Listeners

Tweens, Teens and Dating
When asked, "What do you think is an appropriate age for a child to start dating and why?", listeners sent in some passionate thoughts.  Here are just a few of them…

Society will laugh as me, but since dating is "an interview for a prospective spouse", I don't see why anyone under 18 would be exclusive. I would not have a problem with group activities that include mixed genders at about 16, but they would need to be properly supervised. That is no guarantee these days with permissive parenting.

My oldest son will be 17 this week and attends and all boys school. He is doing great and I believe that part of the reason is that there are no female distractions and no "drama". He doesn't have a "girlfriend" but has a nice group of friends that includes some girls and he has taken some of them to school dances and the like.

College worries me, but I can only hope that maturity, common sense and the words of wisdom will help him make the right decisions.

Wow, I never thought I would be talking about my "tween" dating. I thought this would be a topic of discussion when she is actually a TEEN! To my surprise, I have talked to other moms of 12 year olds who proudly talk about their sons and daughters new relationships with the opposite sex and how cute it is, and how nice their families are and how they are looking forward to getting to know them, etc. Well, cute is the last thing I think of! My daughter is in a good place right now with her girlfriends, academics and extra curricular activities and I want it to stay that way. There is nothing wrong with dating when it is the right time in life, but now is not it. Boys-girl relationships equal drama and my 12 year old does not need that in her life right now. I think this is fueled more by the parents who want their kids to be "cool." So sad.

Eighteen is a good age as far as I'm concerned. Seventeen if the "date" is supervised or chaperoned. Teens just don't know enough about taking care of themselves until then. They run the risk of date rape and/or consensual sex ... either of which may result in a STD or unwanted pregnancy. Kids are guided by their emotions and their hormones. That's like having a stick of dynamite and the fuse. All they need for a total disaster is a small flame or spark. Teens are also too easily pressured/influenced into sex by peer pressure, by their boyfriend/girlfriend, or by what they see happening on the silver screen (if they happen to be at the movies). If I had it 100% my way, I wouldn't let them date until they turned 20, but I know that's not being realistic. There's a reason why God didn't allow my spouse and I to have kids. We solved the problem with our furry children (our three cats) ... we had them all fixed or neutered.

We have three daughters who are now 23, 19, and 18. Our youngest will graduate in May. None of our girls currently have boyfriends. Our oldest had 2 boyfriends in high school, and the younger daughters have not had boyfriends in high school. They are well adjusted relatively happy girls. They go to prom with "guy friends" and hang out on the weekends with groups of friends rather than going on dates.

We have always told them that dating is about picking a spouse. And there is no rush to be on that hunt when you are a preteen.

I pray for there to be 3 great young men out there to date and marry my girls when the time comes.

Tags: Family/Relationships - Children, Morals/Ethics/Values, Parenting, Tweens, Values
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