Child: Mummy, meet my boyfriend.
How accurate is this?
Nigerian parents are absolutely horror-stricken by this topic. According to a teenager I spoke to recently, they want you to eat, grow up, study, graduate, get a job and magically meet a spouse to spend the rest of your life with.
At what age do you think it’s okay for your child to start dating?
For most parents, dating is something that should be put off until the child gets into a university and is old enough to know the realities of life.
Is it possible to dictate to a child when to date and when not to date? In our days, even though our parents thought we weren’t dating, some were simply dating without their permission. If your child sees that you’re hostile towards the idea of dating or you’ve never had that conversation with them, you might know when they start.
The one thing you can do is to educate them on boy/girl relationship and even encourage them to bring their friends home (especially friends of the opposite sex). This way you can know their friends, communicate your stand on dating (I.e you can’t date till you’re in university etc). You can also have age appropriate conversations with your child about relationships.
Dating is a crucial period in the life of young people. The excitement and emotions stirred up the feeling of being in love have often led to unpleasant outcomes.
That’s why most parents worry when their children reach adolescence. Children have a mind of their own. Explain your views to them and arm them with the right tools to help them decide for themselves.
Dating does not have to conote horror stories of teenage pregnancy and heart break or STI’s. Books like Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud and True Love Dates by Debra Fileta, encourage healthy dating and teach what is right or wrong in relationships. You can get this for your teenager.
What do you think? At what age will you allow your children to start dating?
For more on teenagers, visit our teenager category