Our kids are definitely too young to date, but I know that kids dating and the girlfriend and boyfriend talk are hot topics to talk about in the parenting world.
For now, our boys could care less about the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing.
They are into sports, building in the garage, reading new books and hanging out with our family and their friends. They love spending time playing games with us and they look forward to their one-on-one nights every month. They know that they are too young to date and they’re not worried about it.
Our boys are almost teenagers. Years ago, we started having these conversations with our kids. Many times, children use the words ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’ a little too loosely… and I wanted our sons to understand exactly what it means (and why it’s best to wait.)
How young is too young to date?
An acceptable dating age is something that each child’s parents need to decide. I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule. Some parents are okay with middle school dating, while others will let their teens date in high school.
I can remember growing up and not being allowed to date until I was 16. There was an exception. I was allowed to go on group dates as long as we both had friends with us. We would meet up at the movies or the mall. Sometimes we even met at the gym to play basketball.
Every parent will have a different opinion because we all have different life experiences, and THAT IS OKAY!
What is the average age to begin dating?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, on average, girls start dating around 12 and boys around 13. The AAP suggests group dates as a way to transition from just being friends to one-on-one dating.
“The recent trend among early adolescents is for boys and girls to socialize as part of a group. They march off en masse to the mall or to the movies or join a gang tossing a Frisbee on the beach. Don’t confuse group dating with double-dating or triple-dating. While there may be the occasional romantic twosome among the members, the majority are unattached.
Dr. Eagar, a pediatrician at Denver Health Medical Center reminds us that “The number-one benefit is safety,” for group dates. “Going out in mixed groups also gives boys and girls an opportunity to just enjoy one another’s company, without the awkwardness and sexual tension that can intrude upon a one-to-one date.”
What is the suggested age to begin one-on-one dating?
The suggested age to begin one-on-one dating, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is 16 years old age.
As a general guideline, Dr. Eagar advises not allowing single dating before age sixteen. “There’s an enormous difference between a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old and a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old in terms of life experience,” he says.
“You might add or subtract a year depending on how mature and responsible your youngster is. Community standards might be a consideration.?”
Our kids need to know that they have worth as individuals
Before our children begin dating, they need to respect themselves. This is so important. It is our job, as parents, to teach our children at a young age that they are important.
They don’t need to do or say “the cool thing” to feel important! (the lessons that my mom and dad have taught us have been building blocks for my brother and I… read them here: 10 lessons I learned from my mom).
I want to prepare my kids to be healthy and whole people now so that, eventually, they are prepared to be part of a healthy relationship. They’re just not ready for that kind of intimate relationship quite yet!
My kids have heard me say this again and again:
- “You know that you are not allowed to have a girlfriend, right? I know that you don’t have one, but I just want to make sure that you know that it would not be OK. One day God will find someone for you, when you are older and Daddy and I tell you that you that it is OK. So, if anyone asks you to be their girlfriend, you just let them know that you aren’t allowed to have one. “
- I have talked to our older boys about how we do not kiss anyone (I shouldn’t have to talk to them about this, but with our society being the way that it is, I feel like I need to talk to our older boys about this. With school starting back up, and our kids being around other children that are raised completely different from the way that we raise our kids, I felt like it needed to be said to our boys.)
- I have told them that they are not allowed to watch shows that talk ‘disrespectfully’ about boys or girls.
Childhood crushes are normal, but kids dating each other shouldn’t be!
I know that it is normal to have crushes, but it is not OK to act on them at this age. Those actions are better left for a later stage of life. I want our kids to know that God has made his laws for us to follow, and that those laws are there for our good. That may seem old-fashioned to many of you, but it is how my husband and I have decided to raise our kids.
I can remember being in elementary school and friends of mine having boyfriends/girlfriends and kissing (& more!) , so I know that it is going on. I remember this going on when I was in first grade.
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think an elementary school student is ready to start dating. Unfortunately, kids are exposed to conversations and ideas at such a young age due to TV, magazines, commercials, and friends’ conversations.
Why we have decided that our kids are too young to date
- I know that it may not be ‘cool’ or modern’ to be so conservative in our views, but this is simply how we want to raise our children.
- I also have the good touch/bad touch talk with our kids from a young age. I just give them a very basic description at first, and I continue to have this talk with them every few months. With the many horror stories that I hear, we are taking every precaution that we can. These conversations, hard or uncomfortable as they may be, are necessary.
- Lastly, our kids need to guard their hearts, as well. I want our kids to feel as if they are giving themselves completely to the one that God has for them, one day…
“You’re gonna have all of me
You’re gonna have all of me
‘Cause you’re worth every falling tear
You’re worth facing any fear
You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken heart
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start”
Because this has been on my mind, with school just around the bend… I wanted to share these books with you.
My book recommendations for teaching kids about relationships…
Book # 1
1). Teaching the Birds and the Bees Without the Butterflies:
A Stress-Free Guide for Parents on How to Talk to Young Children About Sex From a Christian Perspective.
Book # 2
2- The Talk – I only recently heard about it, so I had to share it with you. I have not read this one myself (like the one above) but it is on my weekend to-read list, so perhaps you will add it to yours, as well. I liked it because it is geared towards younger kids. Our oldest boys are 6 and 7 (almost 8) so I think that this book is going to be very helpful. I look forward to reading it.
Book # 3
Book # 4
4. Praying Circles:
As Batterson says, “I realize that not everyone inherited a prayer legacy like I did, but you can leave a legacy for generations to come. Your prayers have the power to shape the destiny of your children and your children’s children. It’s time to start circling.”
You can find these books & other suggestions in my Amazon store right here
Do you think that the conversation of boyfriends & girlfriends is starting too young?
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