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Moms Council Question of the Week: How Old Should Kids Be to Start Dating?

Are different rules applied to boys and girls when they ask: Can I go out with friend tonight?

In this space every Wednesday, the La Mesa Patch Moms Council poses a question and invites your wisdom—and chimes in themselves.

The council is captained by Mommin’ Around columnist Genevieve Suzuki. Other members of the Moms Council are Deena While, Linda Byerlin and Tony Lawrence.

Now the question:

How old is old enough to date? When did you allow your son or daughter to have a girlfriend or boyfriend?

Deena While November 03, 2011 at 06:26 AM
It really depends upon the family values/circumstances. In middle school one of the moms told me how excited she was that her daughter could finally dress sexy -- that was shocking to me. You really want people to notice your 11 year old daughter as sexy??? Personally I think starting too early adds so much social pressure to kids. Parents are actually doing their kids a favor by limiting this activity. I think no sooner than 10th grade. Give your child a safety net, "No, my parents don't allow me". My husband and I have always stressed the importance of education first. There will always be time for social, but today you need your education.
Genevieve Suzuki November 03, 2011 at 05:51 PM
When I was in 7th grade, a boy I liked asked me to go steady. I laughed it off, asking him, "Where are you taking me? You can't drive!" Plus I thought kissing boys was gross. I hope my daughter feels the same way. I didn't have a real steady boyfriend until the end of my sophomore year in high school, which made much more sense. Ironically, he didn't get his license until after college, so there ya go.
Tony Lawrence November 03, 2011 at 08:28 PM
I think there is a difference between "dating" and having a boy/girl friend. My kids can "date" at 15, with one of the parents driving and picking up - not with other friends. So far it has not been an issue as I have always encouraged group activities and always try to make sure there is an odd number or at least a different number of boys and girls. I am thrilled with my kids' choices in friends and boyfriend/girlfriend so far and hope it continues. Big groups of kids are fun and more safe than small groups of kids. Maybe a little more roudy, but that is a trade I will make. I am vocally against using the "boyfriend/girlfriend" tag too early. I do not think it is cute to swoon over your 4 year old and call someone his girlfriend. I did not let my kids use that term until they were 13. That is not to say they did not use it at school or whatever, but I told them that is a commitment that should mean something. I think the fawning and forcing titles on different classes of kids' friends is unhealthy and sets expectations. Let kids have friends - and Deena - wow, I agree - the whole describing kids as sexy?! In middle school?! c'mon parents think about what you are doing. I know a women who took a pole dancing class for her husband, which I am fine with, applaud even, except she took it with her 13 year old daughter. Maybe I am old fashioned bu I really think we need to let our kids be kids - adulthood comes fast enough and is inevitable.
Elizabeth November 03, 2011 at 08:57 PM
My just-shy-of-13-year-old daughter is very modest with her clothing choices, and would be embarrassed if anyone thought she was sexy. She does, however, have crushes like any girl her age. There's one boy in particular with whom she's talked about seeing a movie -- her idea was for each of them to bring a friend, so it would be a group event. Her dad and I supported her, but so far it hasn't happened and it's been several months since she first mentioned it. We know the boy and his family, so that was a big factor. I had my first "boyfriend" in 4th grade. We spent an hour on the phone with each other every night and sat together at lunch. He gave me gifts like gum or cassette tapes (which I later figured out he was stealing from his older sister -- thanks, Nikki), but we never kissed and I certainly never dressed sexy for him. It was more about hanging out and paying attention to each other and enjoying our common interests (music, Rubic's cubes). That probably went on for about a month or two, and after that I didn't have another boyfriend until the summer between 8th grade and high school. In hindsight, the 4th grade boyfriend experience helped me prepare -- in an innocent way -- for the emotions of "real" dating later. I think my almost-teenager would benefit from "dating" the boy she likes, because she is more like I was. My 7-year-old, however, is less modest and more socially aggressive than her sister, so she might be better off waiting until she's 15.
Batman November 03, 2011 at 09:12 PM
I'm not qualified to speak for the ladies, but the young guys should wait until they are 25. A young man needs time to learn skills, find work, save money and make plans. Then he can find his lady. One of my buddies is paying child support to two different women. Guys, you really need to avoid this predicament. And parents, GET YOUR KIDS OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOL! "Socialization" (sex, drugs and rock & roll education) is not necessary and is in fact a major detriment to success. Just take a look at the crowd camped out at the concourse downtown. Better yet, get up close and take a smell. That is the public education industry's finished product.
Tony Lawrence November 03, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Wow - what a shock - Batman on a pedastal passing out his judgments and wisdom. I came out of a public school and I turned out just fine. so did most of my friends, parents and kids. Not all of us had the silver spoon private school education that you had. 25 before you date? You are not connected with reality at all. Did you not date until you turned 25? That would explain alot. I had lunch with a group of veterans camping out down town, I will tell them what you think of them and their opinions and their smell. I am sorry you feel the need to look down your nose at everyone. It must be lonely up in that ivory tower all alone with Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Jesus and Batman.
Batman November 03, 2011 at 10:25 PM
I know what I'm talking about. I went through public school, but succeded anyway, no thanks to them. I didn't date when I was in high school. Getting laid doesn't make you a man, it makes you a dog in human's clothing. I'm not talking about the vets. I'm talking about those college graduates who don't even know how to repay their student loans. You know, "the 99%". A 99% failure rate would spell death for any private sector corporation, but the taxpayer funded public education industry just keeps blundering along.
Elizabeth November 03, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Who said anything about having sex? I thought we were talking about dating. I'm not so naive as to think that teenagers don't have sex, but it's not a one-to-one ratio.
Batman November 03, 2011 at 10:52 PM
A teenage guy doesn't need to have sex nor does he need to get excited. He needs to concentrate on learning what he needs to know to succeed in life. Something the education system can't and won't teach him.
Genevieve Suzuki November 03, 2011 at 11:29 PM
A 13-year-old taking a pole-dancing class is gross. A 13-year-old taking one with her mom is even worse!
Genevieve Suzuki November 03, 2011 at 11:31 PM
Smart is sexy, Deena. I'm with you regarding kids looking sexy. They should get to enjoy teddy bear sweatshirts, Hello Kitty tees and other cuddly character outfits for as long as possible.
Genevieve Suzuki November 03, 2011 at 11:33 PM
I think my 2-year-old is just like your 7-year-old. No dating until she's 18 and fully enrolled in college or enlisted in the military.
Batman November 03, 2011 at 11:43 PM
That's a good idea. I didn't date 'till I was 18. Mainly because I didn't have a car until then. My parents promised to give me their '65 Mustang, if I waited until 18 to get my driver's license. It was an offer I couldn't refuse. Finally car was mine, ALL mine. I had to buy my own insurance, gasoline, oil, tires and since I had to fix it myself I was very careful not to bang it up.
Tony Lawrence November 04, 2011 at 08:41 PM
Wow, you were lucky. My first car was a 1965 VW bug. I bought it myself, my parents could not afford it. I got my license at 18 because my parents could not afford insurance, it was not much of a choice or a deal to get a mustang. It needed tires, so I got retreads and learned how to mount them. I learned how to change the oil, tune it up, fix the radiator and whatever else was needed. If you think that public schools is the only place a teenager is going to get excited - you clearly do not understand human nature - and certainly somehow past through puberty without normal urges. Teenager boys will see women at the beach, the grocery store, the library, jogging down the street, the park - you can not prevent it. Nobody can.
Tony Lawrence November 04, 2011 at 08:43 PM
99% failure rate? That's absurd. Those vets I mentioned? They were part of that 99% you cast aspersions on and at least one I spoke with was home schooled. ALL of them served our country - I respect their opinion, not trash it because someone told me to like you did. Speak to some of them before you judge them - that would of course take effort and mean turning off your TV and/or radio, but I think it is a worthwhile investment in time. If you had the fortitude and wisdom not to date and focus on your studies, you were indeed an exceptional young man. "I know what I am talking about" - that is debatable. You somehow survived, I know me and hundreds of people who somehow became thriving, productive members of society despite the government's funded anchors of public school. You can not allow for any of that. You have a predisposed position to blame someone, anyone for the problems - it's the government's fault, or the school system, or gays, or immigrants. You scream accountability, but cast a broad net of failure over the school system. You made it, I am sure because your parents - or your documented beyond your years sense of responsibility and guile to weave through the barrage of sex and drugs and turned out OK - taught you. I am teaching my kids, and millions of parents teach - or don't - their kids about life and the world. Batman, if that is indeed your real name, the real world is not as scary as they tell you it is on Fox news, you should join it at some point.
Batman November 04, 2011 at 08:58 PM
I was in junior high when the mini skirt was in. Was all quite interesting indeed, but a distraction I could have done without. There's a time and place for recreation, and a time and place for serious business. I learned to overhaul brakes and everything, had to if I wanted to go anywhere. By the time the Mustang wore out I had cash enough to by a brand new '86 Firebird.
Batman November 04, 2011 at 09:19 PM
You know, I should give credit where credit is due. My 5th grade teacher at La Mesa Dale Elementary, Miss Sheri Galbreath, was exceptional. Helix High teachers Louis Laterza and Luther Vogel were exceptional, history teacher Warren Vinton was good guy also. Lou Laterza is, in fact, largely responsible for my success. He came from the private sector electronics industry and had a totally different attitude than the rest. Sorry, I didn't like anyone at La Mesa Junior High. I actually don't blame the teachers for their attitude, I blame the unions. Now how responsible is it for the mentors of our children to be affiliated with "the cement boot indusrtry"? Seems mighty foolish to me. Teachers are supposed to be professionals. What does a professional need with a "labor" union? So the goof balls downtown are not the 99%? Gee, why would they lie?
Tony Lawrence November 04, 2011 at 09:36 PM
I am glad 4 teachers pass the Batman test. I would have a much longer list. My kids alsohad Sheri Galbreath and there is no truth to the rumor that she retired after having my son and daughter back to back. I hate to break it to you, but unless you have a cache of wealth that starts with "multi-million" you are one of the 99%. You may not be part of OWS, but you are one of the 99%. I am not sure where the "goof balls" or how you are connecting and selecting or calling liars? Please clarify. As far as the broad brush you want to use to paint teachers and their labor induced bad attitudes - I will use a much broader sample and personal one - the teachers are underpaid, have a great rapport with the kids, spend countless hours off the clock and spend countless dollars out of pocket - including the teachers you mentioned - and put up with parents who think they know everything about everything and can not entertain the notion their little angel could be anything less than perfect. I blame the current generation of helicopter parents for "going to war" for their kids. When I was in school, the teacher was right. The adults in the neighborhood were right. As I got older, my bosses were right. Parents want to protect their little Einsteins and do not want to let them grow up or face any adversity. Stop being their friend - be their parent. I think you can be both, but not at the expense of being a parent - if you have to choose, choose parents.
Batman November 04, 2011 at 10:50 PM
No. I am not part of that 99%! The school teachers in Oakland have joined the protest there, which now includes breaking windows and starting fires. An Oakland teacher was quoted on KOGO this morning to say "the kids should follow the example of the adults". If this isn't sufficient warning to get you children out of that stupidity cesspool nothing is. The cement boot industry has little cement boots too. And, figuratively, they have a pair just for your child.
Tony Lawrence November 05, 2011 at 01:15 PM
You are a part of the 99%. It is defined as NOT the richest 1% of the nation. You are also a public school alum. These are facts. I would ask that you try to stay on topic in these discussions and not turn everything into a political roil or rant against public schools and government. I am sure there are plenty of links on the Fox News site or Glen Beck's site for this type of "cement boot" inflammatory rhetoric where everyone nods and finds your "humor" charming. I joined this so me and other parents could discuss raising our kids and share ideas about our kids and community. I am sure anonymous ranting is appreciated in hate filled chat rooms, but this used to be a fun exchange between actual people with real names and real concerns and respectful give and take and dialog.
Batman November 05, 2011 at 08:48 PM
No! I am NOT part of that bunch! I may not be in the 1%, but I am definitely a very small minority. I have no debt, how many of you can make that claim? Back on topic: There is no need for kids under 18 to date. I they choose to date as adults that is their business. However, I would suggest for the boys at least, they should concentrate their efforts on becoming men first. Becoming financially independent is an excellent goal for any man. A young man in his 20s who is single and living with his parents is in an ideal position to earn and SAVE money and become independently well-off. He needs spend his time as a teenager and young adult learning skills, the more the better. The more he can do the less likely he'll be unemployed. If a college or university is offering a field of study he has a keen interest in he should go, otherwise he should not waste his time. The education industry may have a monopoly on education, but they do not have a monopoly on success. I'm making a big stink here because I've found something that works and I want to pass the idea along to as many young guys as I can. Nobody is under any obligation to believe anything I say, take it or leave it. Even if 99% is an exaggeration there are far too many young fellas in the debt trap. I want to change that. As for the public school teachers: They are so bloddy stupid they have aligned themselves with the criminal element! Your children are not safe with them.
Tony Lawrence November 07, 2011 at 04:19 PM
"Batman" - I am curious, sincerely curious. I know things about almost everyone who comments here: their kids, ages, a few anecdotes, etc. How old are your kids? Did they go to public school at all? Did you start with home schooling from preschool? Have you faced any obstacles in your home schooling? If others are considering home schooling, how would you suggest they go about it and what did you personally have to do? Any down side to your home schooling experience? This has been parents sharing with parents, trying to help each other get through it with as little traumatic residue as possible - both for the kids and parents! Your stories on this and other topics are appreciated.

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