When is the best age for your teenagers to start dating?

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the earth – from staying up late, helping with homework and then guiding them to love. It’s natural to question or have the thought of when your child is ready to start dating. Seeing that no one knows your child more than you, you should know when they are mature enough to have a girlfriend/boyfriend.

But it never hurts getting some insight from others. Research by the American Academy of Paediatrics, says the average age for dating is 12-and-a half for girls and 13-and-a-half for boys. Although this age might seem young, this is the age when teenagers start getting curious and seek the need to explore. 

Dating too young can be problematic. According to the study conducted by the Journal of Adolescence, children who start dating between ages 11- 13 may experience academic and behavioural problems than their peers who waited until they were older. As such, it’s encouraged to let your child wait till they are older to get in relationships. 

However, the real scare for parents isn’t about the heartbreaks, but whether are not their children are having sex and being safe. The Centres for Disease and Prevention (CDC) states that children aren’t necessarily dating anymore but more so having sex. 

Appropriate age for dating? 

Experts recommend ages 16 and 17 is the ideal age to start dating, along with observing how mature your child is and how well they handle responsibilities. Psychologist and clinical social worker Leslie Beth Wish said, “Maturity can be measured by willingness to participate sufficiently in household chores, treating others with respect, getting good grades, and managing emotions.

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Although it might be uncomfortable, it is also important as a parent to discuss dating with your child, don’t let the topic of dating be taboo or forbidden. Within the discussion, define the dating you’d require from your child, be transparent and set guidelines that you would consider acceptable and appropriate. 

BUZZ asked several parents their thoughts on what age they would allow their child to date and let’s just say Caribbean parents are not the same. 

  • “When they start paying bills.” 
  • “Not in my house.”
  • “Maybe 18, depends on how mature they are.”
  • They can have social interactions at 14 to 15 with my supervision.”

These were some of the responses that we received, but it is important as a parent to teach your child about dating yourself and not from social media and their friends.