Average age for kids to start dating

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“Of course it will probably be uncomfortable for both of you,” Anthony says.

“But if he’s so uncomfortable that he gets angry or shuts down or otherwise just can’t continue the conversation, that’s a big sign that he’s not ready for this.” If so, assure your child that there’s no hurry to start dating.

Parents may joke that it’s an experience they want their child to have -- just not until somewhere around the age of 30. A 6th grade girl may say, "Jacob is my boyfriend," but what does that mean?

Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York.

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If we are uncomfortable talking to our kids about dating then perhaps we need to deal with this before we allow them to date.

Be sure to mention the potential of hearts getting broken (theirs or the other person’s), as well as the different expectations people bring to the dating table (yes, we’re talking about the level of sexual engagement: Some teens may be satisfied with holding hands; others may not).

Logistics will also have to enter into the equation: If your teen doesn’t have a driving licence or access to a car, will parents be expected to drive the young couple to dates, or is public transport an option?

After all, we are responsible for both the hearts and souls of our developing children. Instead, we must look at both our own comfort level and our teen’s comfort level when discussing all matters related to dating.

And, if it is still a dreadfully uncomfortable topic, then the time isn’t right yet.

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