Teenage is that age when everyone seems to understand you; except your mom and dad of course. With so many hormones charting their course through your child’s body, your child is bound to rebel, in more ways than one. Given the situation, should teenage dating be allowed? Read on, to find out.
As your child approaches teenage, I am sure the same though that bothers parents of teenagers all over the world will come to occupy your mind too – teenage dating. I am afraid there isn’t one correct answer to this question. There will be equal number of parents for and against teenage dating. So here, I will present both sides of the coin.
Arguments FOR Teenage Dating
‘Love Is’ Samantha read in the slam book. Immediately she thought of Eric, and a sweet smile danced upon her lips. She blushed. She looked around to see if anyone had noticed. ‘Love Is’ she read once again, and wrote “MAGIC!”
Did that make you think of your childhood sweetheart? I am sure it did. Teenage is when we begin to experience all the things that good books and bad movies are made of; all the Nicholas Spark-sy stuff. You watch Little Manhattan and you feel like the writer and director were spying on you before they made the movie. That guy from class touches you, only to pat your back, or hold your hand maybe; and you get goose bumps! You see that girl, and all you want to do is pull her in an embrace and seal her lips with a kiss! And you are dying to get some time alone with your sweetheart. Four walls, a roof, you, him/her; that is all that your thoughts seem to be consumed with.
This is an important part of growing up. It is an experience, just like any other. However, it is something children don’t want to talk about with their parents; and something parents don’t know HOW to talk with their children. For various reasons, parents tend to put off talking about such things with their children. Why? It is best that you yourself take the first step and talk to your child about dating, relationships, crushes, infatuation, and the four-letter word you thought your child was too young to understand – love.
The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
~ Moulin Rouge
Dating should be allowed in teenagers. There can be several consequences (and severe ones too) of banning your child from dating. Your child can become rebellious. Peer pressure is a huge part of teenage life. One cannot estimate the intensity and obligation of peer pressure unless one is subjected to it. Do not dismiss your child’s feelings by giving reasons like ‘age’, ‘maturity’, ‘foolishness’, ‘real life’ and the likes. What your child is going through is ‘real life’ for him/her. Realize this. You being unreasonable is going to make your child rebellious; it will make him/her disregard and disobey you. You don’t want that, do you?
Another consequence of not allowing your teenage child to date can be that your child develops hang-ups for life. He/she may develop irrational fears and insecurities regarding dating, approaching the opposite sex, or just dealing with them in any circumstance in life. Teenage is a delicate age. The mind of a teenager is like wet clay; even the slightest of touches can leave long-lasting imprints. Fears, doubts etched on the mind at this age can be carried by the individual for the rest of his/her life.
Arguments AGAINST Teenage Dating
Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla.
~ Jim Bishop
Being a father, part of why it hurts to see your daughter dating someone is because you have once been the date; and you know what naughty things you were thinking about! On the other hand, as a mother you could be afraid for your daughter, fearing she will go through a similar heartbreak like you went through in your teen years. As for being parents of a son, you do not want your son to be labeled ‘heartbreaker’ or ‘flirt’. Whatever your fears are, they are totally understandable. Yes, having teenage kids and trying to get them to even listen to what you are saying is like trying to drive a nail through stone. It is almost impossible. But therein lies the answer – it is ALMOST impossible; not entirely impossible.
Girls fall in love with what they hear. Boys fall in love with what they see. That’s why girls wear make up; and boys lie.
~ Wiz Khalifa
The biggest argument against teenage dating is the fact that it is teenagers we are talking about. Teenage is that period of life when there are more changes happening in the body than the mind or heart or brain can understand and comprehend. There are so many hormones charting their independent courses in the body, that acting rational becomes difficult. Mark Twain once said, “Ignorance, intolerance, egotism, self-assertion, opaque perception, dense and pitiful chuckle headedness – and an almost pathetic unconsciousness of it all, that is what I was at nineteen and twenty”. Such true words! It would be wrong to say teenage does not teach a person anything about love, suffering, relationships, etc. But just because you know how to make instant noodles doesn’t mean you know how to cook, does it?
Teenage years are marked by incomplete ideas and experiences. Romantic films do to teenage girls what porn movies do to teenage boys – set unrealistic expectations about their paramour. One cannot ignore how big a part the media plays in teenage life. Not every teenager gets what he/she wants out of his/her teen years. Some get the confidence, some get the hang-ups. Not allowing dating can save your son/daughter from a lot of unnecessary agony. It can help your child focus better on academics. Not every experience in life is pleasurable; more importantly, not every experience is necessary. If teenage dating is one such experience according to you, you could stop your child from dating.
Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young…
~ Albus Dumbledore
I guess the final verdict of the debate is evident from the above famous words of Albus Dumbledore, from the Harry Potter Series. While you are out there looking after the best of your child’s interests, it is important to remember how you felt when you were a teenager yourself. Attraction, infatuation, dating, are all a part of teenage life. You cannot separate it from teenage. But if you remember how you felt back then, you will be able to approach the topic of dating with your daughter and/or son much better. Remember how you felt, recollect what it was like to be a teenager and wanting to experience things. Reminisce on what you would NOT have liked your parents saying to you, and avoid saying the same to your child. But most of all, inculcate a sense of responsibility in your child. Impart sound relationship advice to your teenage child. Win their trust, their respect, and they will themselves come to you with your problems.
Growing up means preserving the child in your heart and the transparency in your mind, thoughts, words and deeds
As parents, you would always hope and wish for the best for your child. So whether you allow your child to date or not, would depend quite a bit on what you think and believe in. However, the key to get your teenage child to agree with your views is to put them across in the right way; with enough sensitivity and sincerity to protect your child’s interests, but also with enough austerity to ensure your child safety. I hope you find the balance to do just that. Have faith in your upbringing, and your child will sail through a perfect teenage, which you can both reminisce about years later.