This is an entry for parents (but, as always, teens may be interested).
Dating is a tough issue for parents. It’s hard to watch your little boy or girl (well, maybe they’re not so little anymore) wanting to go out and get in a romantic relationship. However, dating and relationships are a normal part of growing up. But, the question should teens date is still a complicated question.
In general, teens dating is perfectly normal. But, parents must act on the question based on their chosen values. However, there are a few things to consider. Here they are.
First, remember that your situation may not be the same for your child. The world is a different place today. And, your child may have a different personality. You may have been mature at twelve while your sixteen year old may not be able to even discuss the opposite sex without getting shy.
Second, avoid going too far in either strictness or being lax when making your choice. Not letting your child date at all will only create resentment and rebellion later. Letting your child get away with everything will create pregnant, diseased, or even dead kids. So, if you do allow dating, set boundaries and monitor your kid’s relationships.
Third, if you let your children date, be a parent and mentor your kids with regards to dating. The question can’t just end at “should teens date?” Rather, you should answer that question, then ask, “what can I do to help my children seek and engage in healthy and affirming relationships?”
I’ve seen way too many teens go crazy with romance and get in unhealthy and abusive relationships. Model proper behavior with your spouse or partner and monitor your children and their activities. If they have bruises or seem emotionally abused, don’t ignore it. Teen dating violence is very real.
So, should teens date? We don’t answer that question for you (we can’t). The yes or no is based on your own family’s values and priorities. However, whatever your decision, make sure you pay attention to your children and set real boundaries while giving them unconditional love.