Moms Talk is a new feature on Dallas-Hiram Patch that is part of a new initiative to reach out to moms and families.
We invite you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Paulding County.
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.
Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Do you know of local moms raising their children in the Tiger Mother's way and is it the best way? Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about the Tucson shootings? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?
This week, we’ve asked our Moms Council this question:
When should a child be allowed to date? If you allow them date before they're 16, can they go on unsupervised dates? Is the allowed dating age different for boys and girls?
First, find out what your child is asking and what they mean by “date.” Dating and hanging out is not the same as it was when we were 16. Research shows many teens are dating at 13 and 14. This seems way too young when it comes to their average social and emotional development.
Start early on talking with your child about your expectations, peer pressure, respect and companionship, for instance. Use TV shows, movies and celebrity current events as a springboard for discussion. I’m trying to be a good listener now, while my son is young, so we can continue (hopefully) the conversation as time goes by.
I would definitely not be in a hurry on this one! Dating decisions should be based on the child and of course, the date! The level of your child's maturity and responsibility should be your guide when considering if and when your child is ready to date. Get to know your children's friends and their parents. Encourage the kids to spend time at your house. These are the kids who will be driving on group dates!
There is no magic age when it comes to being "ready" to date. A lot depends on their level of maturity and trustworthiness.
Why do we date? To find companionship and determine if someone is marriage material, right? My 16-year-old isn't getting married anytime soon—dating now would only confuse him and result in emotional complications.
Group dates with three or more "couples" starting at the age of 16 (a mature 16), progressing to one-on-one dating at 17. No difference for my sons or daughter—same rules across the board.
Relationships are complicated. Encouraging emotional relationships before they are ready to handle it is only asking for trouble.