Teen dating is a controversial topic to explore. There so many different opinions on when it is appropriate for a teen to start dating. To come up with a quick answer would be foolish, to say the least. There are so many factors and variables that need to be considered before coming to a conclusion on this matter.
There are parents who are fine with letting their teens date whenever the teen feels ready to venture into the dating scene. There are parents who keep their teens from dating until they are mature enough to handle it. There are parents who do not believe in dating at all and won’t let their teens date.
There is a very important subject that needs to be taken into considering when deciding when a teen is fully capable to start dating – teen brain development. “Teenagers don’t always have a lot of self-control or good judgment and are more prone to risk-taking behavior. This is because the self-monitoring, problem-solving and decision-making part of the brain – the pre-frontal cortex – develops last. Hormones are also thought to contribute to impulsive and risky behavior in teens.” (Raising Children Network)
The Later, the Better
Because of the developing factor of the teen’s brain, it would be best for a teen to start dating well into their teen years – the later, the better. If the teen is able to wait until later into his or her teen years, the teen will have a better change at making mature decisions regarding his or her relationship with others. If a teen is able to make mature decisions due to his or her maturing brain, the teen will be able to avoid serious and costly mistakes.
Dating at the Age of 16
If a teen is able to wait until he or she is 16 years old to start dating, the teen’s brain will be developed just enough to handle the tough decision making process of dating and everything else that comes with it. The pre-frontal cortex of the brain will be developed just enough help the teen with self-control and proper decision making concerning dating.
Dating at the age of 13
There are many tragic stories concerning teens that started dating at 13 and ended up making poor decision that ruined their lives. There are teen girls that become pregnant at the age of 13 due to their poor decisions. There are teens that are sent to prison due to lack of self-control concerning their relationship with others. There are many more stories about this subject that are not suitable for this article that have happened to 13 year old teens because of their poor decision due to their under developed brains.
It would be a wise decision on the parent’s part to not let their teens start dating until they are at least 16 years old. By restraining their teens from dating until they are at least 16 years old, the parents will be able to help their teens avoid serious mistakes due to poor judgment on the teen’s part.