For parents, teen dating can be perplexing. Your youngster may not even wait until they are in their adolescent years to ask you if they can “go out” with someone. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, girls begin dating at the age of 12 and a half, while boys begin dating at the age of 13 and a half.
However, because each adolescent — or preteen — is unique, your child may be ready sooner or later than their friends.
Talking to Your Teen About Dating
If your child has begun to bring up the subject of dating, begin by determining what they mean by “dating.” When a 12- or 13-year-old mentions a growing relationship with someone, they could be referring to anything from messaging back and forth with a crush to going to a group movie with the crush and other friends.
Younger teenagers are more inclined to date in groups rather than alone. It’s all part of the natural progression from same-gender to coed social groups to one-on-one dating. Co-ed groups allow youngsters to try out different courting habits in a less stressful environment.
When Is Your Teen Ready to Date “Solo”?
Teens will eventually be ready to make the leap and begin going on what an adult would consider a date. Some pediatricians recommend that children wait until they are 16 to begin one-on-one dating.
That’s a fantastic place to start the conversation, but each child is unique. Some people have a higher level of emotional maturity than others. Some teenagers come from households and communities where one-on-one dating begins sooner or later.
It’s preferable to discuss one-on-one dating before it becomes a possibility. It’s not too early to start talking about dating guidelines with your 13-year-old if they’re “hanging out” with someone — teen slang for casual dating without a commitment.
Setting the Rules
Don’t worry about encroaching on your teen’s independence by establishing dating restrictions. Teens thrive when loving parents set and enforce clear limits, according to research.