Balanced Melting Pot

How old is old enough?

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Traditions on October 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm

To continue the topic of choosing mates, let’s talk about the appropriate age for children to begin dating.

Now, I know the exact time is going to vary based on the personality/development of the individual child, but I think we all think about the approximate age range with which we would feel comfortable.

Of course in determining this age range, I have to think back to how my parents handled this oh so delicate topic. Basically, dating was OUT of the question. The concept of me going out alone with another teenager was completely foreign and they did not think it was a “good” idea. Hence, I didn’t go on my first real date until I was 18 years-old. I don’t think that this was such a bad thing  – I didn’t feel like I missed out on much since I was able to live vicariously through my American friends. When I finally did go out on a date, I felt comfortable in the situation and like I could voice my opinion on what I did and did not want to do.

A few years ago, there was an article in the local newspaper about Hispanic families in South Florida chaperoning their children’s dates (I’m still trying to figure out which is worse – not being able to go or having an older family member hang around the whole time 😛 ). I was actually a bit surprised to learn about this practice and began wondering how many other cultures did this. In any case, there has to be a time when this is even discussed.

So, when do you think is a good time to allow dating (with my boisterous five year-old, I’m thinking 20)? What are the “protocols” around this activity and are they directly linked to your culture?

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  1. I think 18 is a ok age to start going out on dates. But the longer they take to start dating the better. Ideally it would be 20, 22. 🙂

  2. Wow, that’s pretty late for American norms. But I can agree with those ages simply because of maturity. It’s amazing how much more positive the experience can be if you go in knowing more about yourself.

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