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Hey Mom and Dad, When Is It Appropriate to Let Your Kids Start Dating?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Welcome to "Hey Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.

With Valentine's Day close at hand, love is in the air. Valentines exchanged in school from an early age are innocent enough, but it's not long before classmates start developing crushes. That brings us to this week's question:

At what age should you allow your children to begin going on dates?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the comments section.

Nicholas Surges: let...haha. — Woodridge Patch Facebook

Karen Sherman Bushy: Not so much a numerical age as it is their sense of maturity - where they intend to go, and with whom (individually or with a group?) Kids far more measure up to expectations when they know that they are being considered as a individual rather than as a mute member of a group. Hearing a kid say "I can date in 2 weeks when I'm 16!" makes absolutely NO sense! What will happen in those two weeks that will make that child any more date-ready than they are today? To me, that is a royal cop-out on the part of the parents. The parents need to spend enough time talking with their kids to know when they are ready to move on to the next level, and it is up to the parents to prepare the kids for that kind of advancement in their social life. Pretty hard to think kids can go from being proficient at X-box to being socially ready for dating. Needs to be a few steps in between, but that is all up to Mom and Dad. — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Danny Gray: I think if you're going to let your child start dating, you also need to be ready to have THAT discussion with your child. The term "dating" does not have the same meaning as it did 20, or even ten years ago. It implies much more behavior in 2013 than it did when the parents were growing up. When a child wants to date, you need to begin looking at your child, no matter their numerical age, an adult, or someone that wants to become one. — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Carol Johnson Seith: Call me old fashioned, but I suggest not before freshman year in high school. — Hinsdale Patch Facebook

Laurie Czepiel-Berg: I agree Carol. They usually go out in groups before that. Both of my two older sons even went to Freshman homecoming in a group. — Hinsdale Patch Facebook

Becky Goodrich: 8th grade — Burr Ridge Patch Facebook

Cher Moore: According to my father, the best age for me to start dating was "Never." But he never set an age for my older brother! — Oak Park Patch Facebook

JC FC: My daughter is only 2 but I will say to her: No boyfriend until after you are married. — Oak Park Patch Facebook

Shannon Kelley May: 30 — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

So what's your take? Tell us in the comments. 

Stacey Poulter February 05, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I think it is maturirty level and the ability to pay for the date (whether though a job, or chores, etc...).
carrie esposito 7405 richmond February 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
This is a tough one, I believe that it is different for everyone and based on many factors.

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