Whenever our children start dating, it can be difficult. We always see them as our little babies before you know it, they are getting in relationships doing who knows what. For many parents, it can be a difficult decision whether they should let their child date or not.
I’m not going to answer the questions for you, only you can make the decisions about whether or not to let your 13-year-old date. I will closely go over the pros and cons of each decision and you can read them and come to your own conclusion.
Parenting a teen is never black and white, there many things to consider. What is the maturity of your daughter? What do you know about the person the is dating? Do you trust her? The answers to these questions can shift the answer to one side or another so in reality there is no right or wrong answer.
Why you Should Let your 13-Year-Old Daughter Have a Boyfriend
First I’m going to dive into the reasons you should let your daughter have a boyfriend in middle school. Personally, I do believe the benefits of allowing your daughter to date at that age outweigh the potential downfalls but again this is on a case by case basis. Some teens should not date for longer than others.
Here are some reasons why you should let her have a boyfriend:
1. Promotes Honesty
Let’s be honest, you remember being a teenager, what are the chances she is going to actually listen to you and not have a boyfriend, pretty slim. The reality is no matter what your answer is she is going to have a boyfriend. In one situation you know about it in the other you will not.
If you tell her yes, she can have a boyfriend, add a caveat that she has to be honest with you about the details of the relationship. The quality of your relationship with your daughter will play a big role in whether or not you will actually discuss the relationship but by doing this your daughter knows she can talk to you.
A large majority of young teens that get in relationships these days don’t tell their parents. For many families, this tends to be the divide that starts separating teens from their parents. Lying is one of those bad habits that tend to push people apart.
2. Ensure Her Safety
When you know when your daughter has a boyfriend, you can have some honest conversations with her about have safe sex. If they go behind our backs we may not have the opportunity to have those critical conversations.
Many parents promote the route of celibacy. If that’s the case you are taking a risk because if she does become sexually active behind your back, she may have not had the education to protect herself properly.
Knowing if your daughter is dating someone also promotes her safety because she can be honest about where she is going. It is pretty common that when teens are lying about dating someone, they’ll have to lie about where they are going. Nothing is more dangerous than not knowing where your daughter is.
3. Help Her Create Boundaries
If you are in the loop on your child’s dating life, you can help her establish boundaries that are going to keep her safe physically and mentally. Dating is very taxing on our mental health and having clear boundaries that we stick to is not something many of us knew how to do at 13-year-old.
Explain to her that she needs to have defined boundaries from the beginning of the relationship. Although it is going to be a difficult conversation with her boyfriend, it is the best way to keep the relationship healthy.
Boundaries should be set for a least the following items:
- Sexual Experiences
- Communication Times
- Going on Dates
This may seem a little excess for a 13-year-old but one of the best habits we can instill in our teenage daughter is how to set clear boundaries with men.
4.Meeting the Boyfriend
If you are informed of your daughter’s dating life, this also gives you the opportunity to know who she is dating. You won’t be able to tell her who to date and who not to date but at least you can make your own honest evaluations of her boyfriend.
Take this opportunity to meet the boyfriend, get to know him. You can then give advice to your daughter about him.
5. Controlling Future Promiscuity
We’ve all seen this before. That girl in her freshmen year of college that’s going way too wild. At every party, she ends up on top of the nearest table with her shirt swinging around her head. Yeah, that girl. 9 times out of 10 that girl had strict parents throughout high school.
By being strict on your daughter you are increasing the chances that she will be a bit too liberal with her body late in high school, or even worse in college when you have no idea where she is or what she is doing.
By being open with her early about her dating life, you are limiting future promiscuity.
Why you Should Not Let your 13-Year-Old Daughter Have a Boyfriend
There are some reasons why you should not let your 13-yaer-old have a boyfriend.
1. She is Not Ready
Maturity does not come with age. Maturity comes with experiences and responsibility. If you feel like your daughter is not mature or responsible enough to start dating, you have the right to tell her no, she cannot have a boyfriend.
As mentioned earlier, this does not mean it will necessarily work.
Make sure you are being honest with yourself about your daughter’s readiness. It is pretty common for parents to claim their children are not ready to date but in reality, they are just worried about the idea of them dating.
2. She is Gullible
I hate to say this, but we all know when our children are gullible. This is quite common because they have not dealt with enough manipulative people in their life. Unfortunately, this means she is at the mercy of these 13-year-old boys.
If you feel like your 13-year-old daughter has not had enough life experience to have a boyfriend you may want to tell her no. Teenage boys think with their other head and can get manipulative to get what they want.
Try to be objective. If she is ready don’t say no because you aren’t ready her to grow up.
3. Cultural Reasons
Many cultures have different rules when it comes to dating. Some cultures only allow dating when a person is ready for marriage. Although I might warn you those teens are the ones most likely to do what they want behind their parent’s back.
As a first generation immigrant, my parents were adamant about me not dating until I was in my 20s. I did plenty of dating in high school and college, they just had no idea. Be careful about doing the same with your own children.
Whether or not you should let your 13-year-old daughter have a boyfriend is based on your specific situation. Each parent has a different relationship with their daughter and knows them best. Using the pros and cons above, make an objective decision about whether you will allow your teenage daughter to have a boyfriend.
Teens are dating younger and younger these days and it is not uncommon to start seeing relationships form as early as middle school. It may not be easy to let them date, after all, they are our babies but eventually, we will have to recognize that they are their own person with feelings that they will need to express with or without your knowledge.