I’ve just finished reading a blog where the mother – of 7 – talks about dating and what age is appropriate.
It made me think about our thoughts on it, how old is old enough and how we dealt when our eldest started ‘dating’.
First, let me clarify a few things.
Dating is not really a term we use in Australia, and the general consensus in terms of definition, is that dating is when two people are interested in getting to know one another better, therefore going on a ‘date’.
While we use the term ‘going out with ~insert name~’ it is not so much used anymore (as in, ‘will you go out with me?’ type of thing), but then ‘date’ isn’t used much either. Essentially though, it’s the same thing.
We’ve spoken to our boys briefly and sporadically about this issue, and they are mature enough to understand. I can only speak from the (mother of) boys point of view and I’m sure the parents of girls will have varying degrees of differing opinions.
We’ve always stated that being friends with girls is more important than worrying about having a girlfriend and any of the stuff that comes with it. It’s good to have some understanding of the species before you want to get really involved.
Our turn finally came early this year when Mr 16 approached me, with a conversation on one of the many trips up the road to work. He kind of had a girlfriend. As in, I’ve met a girl who I really like. I’ve met a girl who I’d like to see more of.
I was happy, he dealt with it in a mature (enough) way and we talked about it.
Many of his friends had had girl or boy friends since they were 14 or younger and thought he was nuts for not wanting to do that.
When we first arrived back here 2 years ago, Mr 14 who was then Mr 12.5, was hassled in grade 6 about ‘you gotta get yourself a girlfriend man’. He had no intention to and wondered why it was so important. Really, what do they think they’re going to do at that age?
I digress, but you see what I mean, they are not going to just jump into a relationship (of whatever kind) just because their friends do or want them to.
Dating for the older one has meant the first trip to the movies, and thereafter have been on numerous couple and group outings. Yes, they are dating, but they are still just being kids and hanging out with their friends as a group. This is a good thing!
Falling in love, as they have done, is an awkward and difficult thing. Definitely easy, but to know the difference between love and lust can mean a lot when it comes to respect and the feelings of the other person.
As far as other things go, all we said was to not go there too quickly, too look after her and treat her right. “Be good to her” I said. He was quite happy to oblige.
Back to main topic. Dating and when is it too young.
Considering kids these days are getting together earlier and earlier, it is scary to think where they get their notions of what a relationship is and why they think they should be doing these things at age 12 or heaven forbid, younger.
We both agree that there is plenty of time, and not to rush into anything. Be a kid, hangout with your friends by going to the movies or shopping centre (mall). You don’t need to even think of dating till at least 16. Now some of you may think that’s a bit old fashioned, but a little respect for yourself will go a long way with the right person. And going to the next step? Why would you want to give it all away so young? Does it make you a hero or something. And where’s the rule book that says it has to happen at this age.
Learn to love yourself, and have respect for the other gender and other people.
Girls, if you dont respect yourself and your body, how can you expect other people to?
Boys, treat the girls nicely. Respect their wishes, listen to what they say. Unless the word ‘yes’ is spoken, consent is not given.
Consent is the all important word, and goes as much for girls as it does for boys.
All simple things, but its amazing how many mothers/parents do not tell their kids these things.
Dating is all well and good. When your kids are mature enough to deal with and accept the consequences of their relationship actions. What age that is depends on you, but let your kids be kids. We have a whole life to be grown up and mature.
Tell me, what do you think is too young, or the right time to start dating?
What’s your experience with your own kids, or what are your hopes for them?