When Your Teenager Is Ready To Date

You're one step away from committing your teenager for being boy crazy, but does that necessarily mean she's ready for a boyfriend? Teen girls are notorious for crushes, but knowing when to let your daughter officially enter the dating scene can be confusing. From types of teen dating to expert advice on when she's ready, get help tackling the big question: At what age should you let your daughter have a boyfriend?


Is my teenager ready to date?

Dating isn't exactly what it used to be when you were in the game, so setting an age when your teenager is allowed to date doesn't necessarily coincide with your own experiences with having a boyfriend. "It seems physically people are maturing younger, but emotionally maturing later," explains Dr. Brenda Schaeffer, psychologist and author of Love or addiction: The power and peril of teen sex and romance. "With adolescence comes raging hormones, peer pressure and media pressure, but teen girls lack the ability to self-parent or to actually problem solve at this age."

Learn how to handle kids' crushes >>

Types of teen dating

Before deciding whether to let your daughter dip a toe in the dating pool, it's important to understand the types of dating options teen girls have.

Group dates. "Group dates to public places like Starbucks or a movie are a very good starter date," advises Mary Waldon, LCSW.

Online dating. "Teens are turning to online relationships feeling they're safer, but they are just as devastated and depressed and rejected," shares Dr. Schaeffer. Discourage your teenager from dating someone online, which still holds the same heartache but also exposes teen girls to online predators.

Exclusive dating. "I have found that young people want to date one person for the safety and security of not having to go along with the crowd," says Dr. Schaeffer. But is she ready for a boyfriend?

At what age should you let your daughter have a boyfriend?

So, is there a magic age for all teen girls to start dating her dream boy? Unfortunately not. However, at about 14 or 15 years old, teen girls are often ready to explore relationships in a group setting, but allowing your daughter to exclusively have a boyfriend should wait. "One-on-one dates should probably wait until 16 or even 17, depending on the maturity of the girl, and your assessment of the boy in question," suggests Waldon.

Discover tips on getting your teen to talk >>

"The thing is, during adolescence, dating is a dress rehearsal for adult relationships," says Dr. Schaeffer. "It's a time when your daughter needs to learn how to enter, be in respectfully, and let go of a relationship. Dating is a part of learning how to survive all of this." Although you may have the urge to forbid your teen girls from having a boyfriend until they are 30 years old, encourage her to try again, regardless of how tough it is for you to see your teenager grow up!

More on teen dating

Teen dating
Teen girls and breakups: helping them move on
Your daughter: dating dos and don'ts for parents

Tags: adolescents

Recommended for you


Comments on "At what age should you let your daughter have a boyfriend?"

Joshua February 09, 2014 | 2:50 PM

I'm seventeen years old, and I feel like we should be able to date whenever we feel like we are mature enough. I felt ready for a relationship at age 15, and I had a girlfriend at that time. She is still my girlfriend for 2 years! We've had plenty of dates, kissing, and making out! Thing is, we are both mature enough to know our limits and we both know that our relationship should not be a distraction. We realized this at age 15 and every girl/boy discovers this at a different age!

Valerie February 09, 2014 | 2:47 PM

I honestly think that a teen should be allowed to date whenever they are ready! I speak from experience as I am a parent. My parents always left the option open to me, and when I was sixteen, I had my first and only boyfriend. They had no problem with that and the only rule they had was that they meet him as well. We are married now, and everything is well! My daughter just turned 14 and she sometimes talks about a boy, and we encourage her to experience a relationship, as long as we keep a small eye on her. Dating is an important part of knowing partners, and putting a unreasonable curfew on it, is not fair at all!

Faye October 05, 2013 | 8:21 PM

Well this is coming from a teenage single pringle experience. Its up to you when your daughter is allowed to date, but she has to prove herself mature. When I was just 13, going out with a couple of your girlfriends and a couple of guys was sort of the cool thing to do, but I never did because my mum didnt really trust me towards the people around town "There are weirdos out there!" She'd always say, and besides, my group didnt really have any other friends that were boys (our school was a girls only, you see) Anyway, more to the point was that almost every boy was desperate, and every girl was a drama queen. They were so immature to realize that the boys only wanted you to look cool. You bet that the popular girls were their ideal choice. So when the girls hearts were "broken" it turned into the attention game, dont get me started, you already know. So in my opinion dont stalk her, but keep 1/2 an eagle eye on her, I think she'll have a proper relationship when. Shes 15-16 years old but untill then, its up to you.

mackahlan shamp January 10, 2013 | 6:09 PM

I think the should date when there ready the age doesn't really matter!! so don't be old and let him/her fall in love if ur worried about the boy then ask her if u can meet him simple as that

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)