Dear Dish-It: Am I Too Young To Date?
Dish-It gets this question all the time – am I too young to date? Another common query is: my parents won’t let me date – what should I do? Here’s my advice for all those out there wondering about age, parents and dating.
Too Young To Date?
Lots of kids write in to Dish-It saying they’re really frustrated and upset because their mom, dad or both say they’re too young to date. What most kids don’t realize, though, is that parents set these kinds of rules for them because they love their kids a lot.
Dating, relationships, sex, love … when you really think hard about these things, you start to realize how complex they are. It isn’t easy at all to navigate the dating scene. Sure, there’s the thrill and excitement of having your crush ask you to go see a movie, and there are those butterflies in your tummy the first time he grabs your hand and kisses you, but are you really old and wise and MATURE enough to handle the many other responsibilities and decisions and choices and problems that come with having a boyfriend or girlfriend?
Going on a date often means being alone with another person. Are you old enough to get to places like the movies or the mall without asking for a ride from your parents or another adult who has a car? If not, it’s kind of strange to think you’re old enough to date. Would you really want your mom or dad tagging along when you go see a movie or get something to eat with your crush? Probably not. Best to wait until you’re a bit older and more independent.
Love sounds wonderful but, like everything else in life, it’s got its ups and downs. Falling in love means there’s always the possibility of falling out of love – in other words, getting tired of the other person or wanting to get away from them or having your heart broken by them. It may not seem like a big deal if it’s never happened to you but, trust me, there are a lot of complicated problems and difficult emotions to deal with when love goes wrong or ends. You may still be too young to deal with these things in a mature, logical way, and that may be why your parents won’t let you start dating until you’re a bit older.
This is probably the biggest issue for parents when it comes to trying to decide when to let their kids start dating. Sex is a very important, complex subject – sometimes when you’re anger it’s not even something you know about, understand, or feel comfortable discussing with your mom and dad. Until you know about and understand all the risks and issues involved with making the big decisions about sex, you’re definitely too young to date – even if you don’t think dating has anything to do with sex. It may and it may not, but you need to know ALL the facts about dating, love and sex before you can go into any one of them making the best possible choices and decisions for yourself.
Now that you know your parents are only saying you’re too young to date because they love and care about you and they want you to have the best and happiest life possible, maybe you’re more willing to wait a few short years to start dating. If you’re still not convinced and think your mom and dad should let you date no matter how young you are, why not try talking to them about it? Maybe if you approach them in a calm, mature, grown-up way (that means no yelling, screaming or crying), they’ll tell you their reasons for not letting you date yet. And if you come to the table with your own, written-out list of reasons why you’re old enough, mature enough, responsible enough and ready to start dating right now, they may see things from your perspective and change their mind.
If you've got a burning question, need some love advice or find yourself thinking about things like sex, depression, self-esteem, boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends, bullying or peer pressure, don't hesitate to Dish-It here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you hang out in the chat rooms with other Kidzworld members who know you by your username, just send in your secret question using a different nickname if you want to stay anonymous – we promise that no one will ever know it's you. Remember: Dish-It gets a load of letters every day so it may take a while to reply to yours. Keep checking back for her reply, or watch for answered Dish-It questions that are similar to your own.
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