From the time my son was in kindergarten, up until 6th grade, his best friend was a girl. They did everything together and were both common fixtures at each other’s house. When they were in 5th grade, he caught her kissing a boy after school and he couldn’t wait to get home so he could tattle-tell. All I could think to myself was, “Oh boy, here we go. A 10-year-old 5th grader kissing? What is the world coming to?”, but then again, I guess I shouldn’t be so shocked.

My mother ruled her house with an iron fist when I was growing up. We dared not to mention anything about liking boys or wanting to go out on dates. I truly don’t think I missed out on much living under her rules. I didn’t have a first date until the summer before my freshman year in college and I was already 18 years old. I always told myself I would try to let my child have the freedom I didn’t have, but it’s getting harder to do that every day. I don’t want to keep him under lock and key, but I don’t want to have him grow up any faster than he needs to. Before his best friend moved out-of-state, I would often escort them to the movies and other activities. They would joke around and say that they’re on a ‘date’ but I would try to quiet them down so people around us wouldn’t look at me like I’m crazy.

Up until that kissing incident, I was ok with the two of them hanging out and even having her spend the night at my house. What a difference a kiss & a few weeks made. I started limiting their interactions, but I did explain to my son that I felt it was unacceptable for kids, as he calls it, to ‘lock-lips’. If I had my way, my son would have his first real date, sometime around 20 years old, but I know that’s not reality. Realistically speaking, I probably would let him start dating during his freshman year of high school, which is next fall. But there will be certain parameters in place. So, I hope he’ll get used to me tagging along and sharing an appetizer with him and his date.

What age did your parents allow you to date? What age will you allow your children to?

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