When You Gonna Let That Girl Date?

May 10, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

This is a post where the scope of audience is limited.  Not a lot of Cloften readers out there with pre-teen or teenage daughters.  However, I know that there are some out there with a curiosity about our dating philosophy as parents.  I know this, because you have asked me.  Regardless, it doesn’t matter if you are interested.  I am compiling all my thoughts on parenting into a future book called “The Daddy Your Daughter Needs.”  This will go in the teenage section.  Anywho…

Do you let Maylee (13 yrs old) date?


When will you let her start dating?

Short answer: TBD

Not quite as short answer: When it makes sense for her to start dating.

“Come on Cloften, give us a break.  What we need from you is some arbitrary selected date that is not based at all on the individual girl or her circumstances.  We need you to make dating a carrot that dangles in front of her until you finally relent and let her do it.” (I deleted a sentence in that rant. It was tasty.)

Before I go too far, there a couple of things we have done that way–earrings (10) and make-up (13).  However, those are relatively small things compared to dating.  Those are, in part, tasks that need a level of maturity to manage.  Dating is another level.

Dating is exposing my daughter to the opportunity to have her heart broken by a kid without the maturity or hormone balance to have any clue as to what he is doing.  This is entrusting the heart of my fragile teenage girl to a boy.  (I just deleted an adjective in front of boy. You could probably guess it, if you tried.)

Dating doesn’t make sense for a 13 yr old girl.  “Jim and Tina are going out.” “Going where?”  “Nowhere.  It means they’re dating.”  “Do they go on dates?” “No.” “Do they sit together at lunch?” “No” “Then what does it mean?” “It means they like each other.”  “If they don’t sit together, or really even talk to each other or go places together then why call it dating or going out?” “…” (Based on a real conversation.  Only the names have been changed to protect the ridiculous.)

“Ted broke up with me, and I cried for, like, forever,” said the 12 yr old girl, in my car.  “Really? Forever, that’s a long time,” said the snarky dad of another girl in my car.  “Well, just a few hours, but the next day I started going with Fred so I’m OK now.”

Do you see now what I mean by “it doesn’t make sense?”  I would only be exposing my daughter to unhealthy thinking and perspectives on “love” and “dating” by doing it when it doesn’t have the capacity to be love or dating.

She is completely free to like boys, even particular boys.  She doesn’t tell them. Why should she?  She would tell you there is freedom in that.  That’s right. She would tell you that.  When that boy acts like a boy, it disappoints her. It doesn’t crush her.  She moves on and learns what she likes and doesn’t like in a boy.

Her heart is God’s first and mine next, and I will not let someone I cannot trust have access to it.  Seriously, she is more happy and content than any of the boy-crazy girls I have ever met–by far.

Surely Cloften, you have a date in mind.  I really don’t.  I can imagine that in the next couple of years girls and boys in a group going to the movies together, not paired off.  You can call that group dating, I guess.

But if you are asking when I would let a boy take my daughter somewhere alone for an extended period of time at night without supervision?  The answer is some time after I would let that same boy take my car out under the same circumstances.  You see, the worst thing you can do to my car can be fixed with money.  The worst thing you can do to my daughter’s heart and innocence cannot be.


2 Responses to “When You Gonna Let That Girl Date?”
  1. Russ says:

    Big surprise, I totally agree with you. This one is tough to figure out, but it is better to err on the older rather than younger side.

  2. Jules Rusinowski says:

    From a parent who has been there and is also coming up to it again in a few years, I agree with you completely.
    I have been trying to convince my pre-teen niece about waiting for all this boy stuff. She isn’t listening though and obviously since I’m not her parent, I have no authority over her. She gets heart broken almosr every week.
    I just remember what I was like when I was that age. I want young girls to understand that boys don’t have their(the girls) best interest at heart, only their own.
    I told my daughter over and over again at that age, that all boys are dogs and even the ones who seem nice are undercover dogs.
    Boys don’t mature, when it comes to relationships, until sometime in their college age years.
    That’s my blunt input to your nicely stated statements on the subject.

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