How much age difference is okay for a teenage. My daughter is 16.

Tina - posted on 01/03/2010 ( 52 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 16 and wants to date a boy who is 18. What are your opinions??? Is he too old for her?

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Christina - posted on 04/10/2011

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How 16 is she and how 18 is he? My mom made a 2yr age limit. Any boy I dated could not be more than 24mnths older than me. It didn't matter if he was 25mnths older than me, I couldn't date him.

Annette - posted on 04/09/2011

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and holy cow!! to the parents that say let them do it or they will sneak around.. should we let them drink and smoke pot at home so they dont do it somewhere else.. should we let them have sex at home becasue we would rather them doing it at home then else where... heck with that... i run my house not my kids.... if i say no you sneak and do it not only did you just betray the trust that was given but the concenquences will be huge... i would never allow my kids to do something because i am afraid theywill sneak.... omg..... that is what parenting is about... ...

Annette - posted on 04/09/2011

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ready to hear this... my house, my kid, my rules.... my daughters are not allowed to have boyfriends until they are out of school. having a steady bf is a distraction. I will not train my girls to depend on a boy. they need to be educated, earn carreers and then if they choose find a husband. i have seen too many girls live in constant drama becasue of boys.. my daughters dont fight me on it. my oldest graduted hs. a semester early and my youngest 8th grade.. laughs at her friends going thru the drama. not to mention 2 middle school girls in 2 years became mommys... and if you choose to let your daugher date... then you have to ask yourself what does an 18 yr old man want with your 16 yr old teen? he cant identify with someone his own age..

Theresa - posted on 01/18/2010

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I think it depends on the guy. If he is in college I would say no. If he's in high school then maybe. Is she willing to let you meet him before she could date him. That was a rule in my house growing up. I didn't have a problem with it. i know kids don't think it's cool to hang out with the parents, but maybe he could come over for dinner and board games so that you could get to know him. It may help you decide if he's datable in your opinion.

Michelle - posted on 01/06/2010

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I agree with you ladies on the maturity. But from a mom of the boy, my son dated a minor, and she was a great girl, mature and all that. Her mom and I had talked about the dating and issues and such, we were all on the same page. Her mom loved my son, he is respectful and he knew he didn't want to have sex or do anything that would get either of them in trouble. The problem was, when he turned 20 and knew he would be going to college and she was still in high school, he talked to the girl and they agreed to break it off and wait until she was almost 18, or at least graduated from high school. Her mom had a fit and accused him of having sex with her daughter and tried to cause a lot of problems. Now, don't get me wrong I am not saying any of you moms with daughter would go crazy like that, but you never know what the other parent will do when the right situation arises. The girl fortunately cared enough about my son to talk her mom out of calling the police on him for something he did not do. I do know if she called and said he did it, it wouldn't matter what the daughter said, they take the parents words, they feel the girls will sie with the guy to keep him out of trouble and I found out he could have faced minimum 15 yrs for just french kissing her. Good luck in all you guys do and just be safe and know who your kids are dating.

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Jennifer - posted on 09/02/2013

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I have a situation with my daughter 15, dating a boy 13 yrs old. I asked her why as a sophomore would she want to date a 7th grader (he was held back and started school late due to his birth date) that was before I found out his age. She is very immature (humor wise) and we have spoken about sex and such, we are on the same page. She likes to hangout with him, but why does it bother me so much? TIA for the advice!

Sherri - posted on 10/21/2011

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@Annette they are both in high school together. I have never dated nor knew anyone that didn't date someone a year or two ahead of them.

Heck my husband is 3yrs older than me. Should he only have married someone his own age. Your reasoning in my opinion is slightly flawed.

Sherri - posted on 10/21/2011

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Nope not at all. 2-3yrs is usually the norm.



@Diane the answer in your case would be a plain no. IMHO she is far to young to be dating. The rule in my house is no dating until 16. I have a 13 & 14yr old.

Diane - posted on 10/20/2011

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I am so glad I found this today! I am dealing with the same issue with my 14 year old daughter. She wants to date a 17 year old boy she met through friends. My husband flat out said no way, not happening, no discussion. I think we need to compromise, meet him, no unsupervised "hanging out" no going out to dinner or movies alone etc.. She is an immature 14 year old and I suspect that he may also be a bit immature.

Cara - posted on 03/09/2011

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I think it depends on the relationship they are having. My dd14 has an older bf, but they don't 'date' - at least not what I consider dating. They are not alone, EVER.
I think it depends more on the type of person he is. Seriously, why do they need to be alone, unless they are going to do things they shouldn't be doing. The only way they go out is with us as a family. He is welcome here anytime, and has spent the night even, but my daughter sleeps in my room :)
And, I will tell you what he told me and my daughter :)
'All guys want sex. If he is a guy, he wants sex. He will say whatever he has to to get what he wants. If he is trying to spend time alone, it is to get what he wants.'
It really depends on the type of relationship they are having.
Is he a nice, respectful guy? Does he treat her properly?
I'd rather my daughter were with a guy much older, if he treated her right, rather than a guy who was the same age, but determined to be in her pants.

Joyce - posted on 01/21/2010

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Depending on the maturity of your daughter.. I would say definitely no more then 3 years or two grades. My 14 year old is about average for her age and a freshman. We have told her that her limit is 16 and a sophmore. We have also explained what our expectations are of dating, sex and drugs.

Lianne - posted on 01/18/2010

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I do not think he is too old for her. If you have a close relationship with your daughter then she will likely confide in you with any problems that may exist or come to exist. It is very rare for a girl to date a boy her exact age.

Michelle - posted on 01/18/2010

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I think it depends a lot on your daughter and this boy in particular. Do you have an open and HONEST relationship with your daughter and is she involved in a lot of extracurricular activities to keep her busy? Do you read her conversations (txt, chats, emails) boys that are 18 are legal and they are so ready for the things that come along with being legal. 16 year old girls, mature or not should not be bothered with that kind of pressure yet. I personally dated an 18 year old at the age of 16 but that was because I had no one to tell me otherwise. If you think for one second that she is thinking about becoming sexually active, I would advise against this 2 year gap. If you think she will rebel and date him anyway, then tell her he needs to prove to you that he is responsible enough and has respect for you and your daughter by spending a lot of time with you and your family. Get to know him really well and if he is willing to go through all that and thinks shes worth it, chances are you have a good guy and it should be fine. Good luck

Dee - posted on 01/12/2010

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I dont think that the age is as much of a factor as the maturity of both teenagers. And demanding her not to see the older guy may not stop her from sneaking around and seeing him anyway (I know from experience...my mother forbade me to see a guy but it didnt stop me). You may want to work on a bond of trust with her and build a relationship where you can talk to her about sex on a regular basis. It can help you to understand what she is going through and how to deal with the relationship. I talk to my 16 year old son about sex and relationships all of the time and I feel like he is being honest with me because I am honest with him. I think its the best that we can hope for is to teach them what we think is right and hope they make good decisions

Dawn - posted on 01/11/2010

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I can totally relate as I have a 15yr. old who was dating a 17yr. old almost 18, for over a year..needless to say it's over whew! Worst, he was the next door neighbor..we weren't happy about it, but if you force them not to see each other they will lie & sneek, so we monitored at our home, that is best to keep her under your wing yet..she ended it on her own, pretended that she was someone else on a text, and he flirted with them..so they are smarter then we think sometimes..Good Luck & remember your not alone:)

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My daughter is only 12 so I haven't dealt with this as a parent yet but as a teen, I was allowed to date older guys and it put me in situations I was not ready to handle. I would advise you to either set a strict curfew and make them hang out at the house most of the time rather than going out or just tell your daughter to date guys her own age.

Lisa - posted on 01/10/2010

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i think it really depends on the child and how mature and responsible she is. if she has been educated well about relationship issues and has good self esteem then she will be able to manage the issues well. my sisters 16 yr old has an 18 yr old boyfriend and my sister trusts her implicitly.

Debbie - posted on 01/09/2010

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I wish the guy my daughter wanted to date was only 18!!! She decided at 15 that a guy of 21 was the man of her dreams. He had nothing going for him, no job, no propsects and no ambition. I was disappointed to say the least, she was throwing away a promising future for a person she hardly knew. Things eventually came to a head and she left to go live with him, she didnt even finish her yr 10 exams or go to her formal.
I only hope she realises what she gave up for him and he doesnt hurt her like I suspect he will. Either way, I still love her and will be here for her if things go bad.
But in the meantime, I have to let go and let her decide for herself if he is what she really wants.
You can give your children as much information as possible about the consequences of their actions, but ultimately the decision is theirs regardless of whether they are mature enough to handle it (or think they are). No-one can ever predict what will happen, but hopefully they will have help to face it, if the worst happens.

Dusica - posted on 01/09/2010

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depends on a relationship you have with your daughter and how did you use the time to "teach" her until now. mine is almost 15, but ever since she was very little i have been very open about sex, condoms, saying "no" and leaving/reacting if someone does not respect that. mine is still really a "kid" (by behaviour), but as soon as she goes to high school, things will change and we will have situations similar to yours... it is now (a year before the high school) more than ever that we talk about maturity, safe sex age, safe sex in general, etc... i doubt you can forbig, because there are always "ways around it", but as long as you are open with her, if she sees (and acknowledges) your respect towards her, she will seek your advice and help...

Cheryl - posted on 01/09/2010

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I have explained to my 13 year old daughter that even when she is 17 she still cannot date or hang out with an 18 yr old - why- morals and legallity. It HAS to be enforced by you though. This is a great way to deter 'serious' relationships. I know many kids who thought they were 'in love' and had their whole life revolving around the relationship. Some ended up pregnant and quitting school. Others were left crying when they were left for 'more mature' girls. My daughter is very mature and knowledgable for her age. She understands how serious I am about this. It doesnt stop the arguements about it ' not being fair' , but i will not yield .

Valarie - posted on 01/09/2010

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I think it all depends on the boy, is he still in HS that is where you have to use your judgement as a mom, I am sure your daughter is a good kid, just set limits and rules right from the begining

Shelia - posted on 01/08/2010

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Marcy L. be careful, it sounds to me that you might just be feeling a little too safe about your daughter. Keep her friends close to u as well as her. My house was always where the teenagers wanted to be, not b/c they could do what they wanted but b/c there was things interesting for them to do here, love, laughter and lots of comfort foods. Stay involved and open your eyes a little more. Eyes Wide Shut???

Michelle - posted on 01/08/2010

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There are many things said that you have to consider...

1) The laws in your area. My area an 18 year old could be arrested for being physical with anyone under 18. And if they are dating, there will be some type of physical contact.

2) Have you discussed her future with her? Mine want to go to college and have a career of some type. She knows that if she has a sexual relationship, college may be out of the picture for her (at least for a while). Not to mention what may happen to her if she gets a STD. She also knows that if she were to get pregnant, since she made an adult decision, she will be treated as an adult and will expect to become a "mom" and no longer be a "child". We outlined for her what all that will mean because her child will be first in her life.

3) Have you openly discussed sex with her? With my 14 year old, we have went together with a group of her friends to a "Silver Ring Thing" event and have discuss this openly with each other. So she is prepared with what may happen, and she knows my belief about pre-marital sex. She made a promise to God to put her life first, and I made a promise to her to help her keep that promise. Sometimes keeping my promise doesn't make me the most loved person because I will have to make a decision to keep her out of a situation where she may break her promise. I just tell her that it's part of my promise to help her keep hers. (And I know there are many kids that will go through this program just to make their parents feel secure, but don't really follow through.)

4) Does she know your expectations of her? Mine knows what we expect and the consequences.

5) Have you outlined your beliefs about dating to her? We have a rule in our household. She is not allowed to actually "date" until she's 16. They do, and we know they do, will meet at commonly public events such as the football game, basketball game, the mall, or the rollerskating rink. But to get in a car and actually date, is not accepted until she's 16. When she is 16, we need to meet the boy first (and not the day of their date). It is also expected (as with all of her friends) that we meet the parents also, and we have contact information. Plus we've talked about "dating in groups".

At present, my 14 year old has a 16 year old boyfriend. We told her we're not comfortable with it because of his age, but we know if we prohibit it, it'll happen anyway. She's not allowed to go out on a date with him. If he wants to wait until she's 16 to go on a date, that's great. But then he'll be 18, and our state laws will prohibit it. So if he's serious about loving our daughter, he will wait until she's 18. For now, the relationship will consist of phone calls and holding hands/kissing at the public skating rink (where I sometimes go).

The important thing is openly discuss your beliefs, ideas, expectations, her future, etc. before hand and then you both know where you stand.

Good luck and many prayers.

Christine - posted on 01/07/2010

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my daughter is 17yrs old and at 16 she was dating a 18yr old i really did not say anything b/c I know that she is a smart girl and I have put some stuff in the little head of hers that she might now think that I did anyway you have to trust her know that she is making the right choice and if you think that she is not then you sit her down and tell her

Heather - posted on 01/07/2010

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I kinda have a 2 year rule with my daughter. But she is in the 8th grade and wouldn't think of dating a guy past the 9th grade. But you also have to watch your laws when it comes to someone 18 dating someone younger than 18.

Kathi - posted on 01/07/2010

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Depends on her emotional well being. Everyone develops different - emotionally and physical. Just because they have a physical body does not mean that can deal with life's pressures. I've seen girls (or boys) mature beyond their age. Can she handle the pressure and stress of a serious relationship while maintaining school grades and outside interests that develop her ownself? Does she have goals? Or for that matter, does he have goals? Do they treat each other with respect? They should have some main things in common - like priorties of a higher power, family, school... She is not too young to date but he is about to enter a world of manhood a step further as he nears the end of high school. What will happen if distance comes into the picture. Trust will become an issue and each one needs to have confidence and security in oneself to overcome a lot of obstacles. If they have been together over 3 months, have him over to dinner and let him know of your concerns. Don't apply a bunch of Don'ts and No's - it will work in the opposite direction. Support your daughter and be confident she has made the right decision because you brought her up right. Remember, teenagers think they know everything and are invincible...until they get hurt. Be there if she falls!

Lakesha - posted on 01/07/2010

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i think that it is to much, because the fact of the matter is with him being 18, its thing he can do that your child cant.So being with him might make her think that she should be able to do those thing.I known its only 2 ages apart but hes about to but out of high school while she will still be in.but i feel that way cause i dont let my girls date yet i havent gottin that far.i have about a year or two in my book. my girls or 13 n 14 they cant talk to boys until they r 15 n making good grades n doing good around the house. so i say if she is a very responseable child n your not having any problems with her then its ok.and make sure you might the young man to see how he is.

Andrea - posted on 01/07/2010

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well i hink it depends is she mature for her age? and how is he? is he sneaky? how does he act he you come around or when he comes around you? you know im dealing with the same thing... now i donnt mind her dating an 18yr old because she is very mature for her ageand i trust her to make the right decisoin and i have allowed her to date before ,and i quietly took him aside and told him if he direspects her in any way, i will be right there, and most importantly he better keep him stuff to him self because if not he will never be able use it for the rest of his life. and after that he was real respectful and they dated for a year until he had to move.but this new dude is very sneaky i dont trust him. he dont speak, he dont look me in the eye, he alway got his head down, he wont come in the house , he stands outside at his car. now she say its because he is scared of me. which is a good thing but i think that is BS but that is what he tell her. but i know better. but i dont trust him. he is a snake...so for now she dont go any where with him . alone we may meet at the mall, and i let them walk by themselvs or dinner or something like that. but it wont last long. but use you mother's senses... lol to feel him out. and if you dont get good vibes then just talk to her not at her.

Teresa - posted on 01/07/2010

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I thik it depends on which state or country that you live in. In the United Kingdom you can get married at 16 with your parents consent but you can not drink alcohol or buy cigaretes until your 18. My daughter is 16 and has never had a boyfriend but is mature and responsible. It would be nice if your daughter had a boyfriend of her own age to start with and then maybe go out with an 18 year old. If she is mature then you have nothing to worry about as long as you get to meet this boy and see what he is like.

Angel - posted on 01/06/2010

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it all depends on what state you live in. my 14 year old was told that it was ok to date a 19 year old by a cop even though i did not approve of it. i would check into in your state.

Marcy - posted on 01/06/2010

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I think also it depends on how the kids are raised and how involved the parents are in there life. It is important to know what is going on in your kids life.

Marcy - posted on 01/06/2010

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My daughter and I have a close relationship and we talk about everything. I have told my daughter she has to learn from her mistakes and she is very open to me to some extent. She knows what the consiquences are because she has a friend that is 15 and is pregnant and My daughter is good friends with this girl. My daughter has told me she doesn't want to end up like her friend. She has stayed single for a while now. I trust my daughter to come to me and talk to me about her problems. She has hung around people I don't approve of and If her friends are doing bad things she trys to change them to do the right thing.

Shelia - posted on 01/06/2010

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Depends on how mature she is. My boyfriend was 5 years older than me when I first started. Just make sure you keep him close to you too.

[deleted account]

This is a good one...Is your daughter mature enough? And is the boy she likes that is 18 responsible enough? Have her bring the boy over one night with you & your husband home so both of you can observe him,get to know him,get a feel for what's in his head kind of thing. Don't say no because she will only sneak behind your back and rebel against you. Keep the lines of communication at all times. Get to know his parents and make sure you are all on the same page with the issue. Also another thing check that it is even legal for them to date in your state. Good luck to all of you!

Gail - posted on 01/06/2010

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Not all boys are snakes. Sorry Marcy. Not at all. I am sorry your experience has led you to believe that, but it is not true. That said, some truly are (snakes, that is). I agree with others who have said that it depends greatly on the individuals rather than just ages. My 14-y-o son is dating a 14-y-o girl and I try to monitor their time together closely. They spend a lot of time doing homework together (his GPA has improved since seeing her, hurray!) and yes, they kiss and "make out" too. But we have kept the communication open and honest and he knows what I expect and about the realities of pregnancy. I have always talked about couples being pregnant (rather than just the women) and things like that and my sons realize that if it happens, it is as much their deal as the girl's. The other thing I have marinated into them from little is the concept of respect. And of course, what that really means. And the importance of learning what it means to the other person. I hope this helps in some way. Good luck, Tina.

Marcy - posted on 01/06/2010

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I think 1 to 2 years difference is best and I think that your daughter should have birthcontrol just incase something does happen and talk to her about protection and talk to her about std. The more she knows about STD's the less she will try anything. My daughter has learned the hard way. She is 14 and knows that guys are all snakes. They will do anything or say anything to get what they want if the boy is a bad boy.

Tammy - posted on 01/06/2010

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I have a 16 year old who is taking college clases and this has been a topic in our house. She only goes to college, so the changes of meeting someone 16 isnt that easy. So far there hasnt been a guy that she has meet, just finished her first semester. we did all 3 agree no matter what or who comes out of this he cant be of legal drinking age. We know that people under 21 drink. I was under 21 at one time LOL. However we had to start some where to make these decisions. Sorry I dont have a straight answer. I have meet boys her age that we would not let her date, so age isnt that big of an issue, as much as the boy himself. Values, his family, we would hopefully look at the bigger picture and get to know him

Tiffany - posted on 01/06/2010

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Really depends on you and how mature you daughter is. Is she responsible? I would as long as there was supervision at all gatherings. If he is a respectable young man he would not mind earning your trust.

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LOL, Im sorry but I have to ask what were your ages because sometimes whether we like it or not history will repeat. For example, myself which I had to ask I have 2 girls and have been the girl dating an 18yr when Iwas 15 nothing happened, then at 16 started dating 20yr we ended having a baby when I was 19 and we are still married with the 2nd girl. So 4 years apart. My parents didnt mind so much as long as we were stating out of trouble. Oh and I was on the pill, which I went down and got at 16yr on my own. So I do think maturity, family etc is a huge factor, I live in CA he could have easily gone to jail if pursued but everyone of my friends is seem was dating somebody in the ages you are talking about. My 16yr now is she wanted to date 18yr I would being checking and eagle eyeing LOL. My Mom and Dad 4yrs aprt when they were married she 15 when she married him of course granparents approved :( thats not right in my books

Jane - posted on 01/06/2010

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Is this boy still in high school too? Then yes I would let my daughter (although I don't have any girls) date him. If he's out of HS then I don't think I would allow.

Lori - posted on 01/06/2010

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I agree with both Amy and Amanda. Depends on the kids involved. My daughters have both dated boys older than they were - my one daughter dated an 18 year old boy when she was 16 (they broke up, she is 18 now, dating someone the same age), and my other daughter is dating an 18 year old boy now, and she is still 15 (16 in early April). The age difference concerned(s) both my husband and myself, but it came down to making sure that the boys involved knew what our expectations were for our daughters, and what they would and would NOT be allowed to do. And we are watchful. But in the end, it is really a matter of the maturity levels and shared values of all parties - much more than the age. Whole lot better to keep the lines of communication open and have faith and trust than to encourage rebellion, sneaking around, and other forms of disrespect by merely standing on principle. Just my opinion.

Amanda - posted on 01/04/2010

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Is she a mature 16yr old? Then 18 would seem ok, maybe even better than a 16yr old boy who we all know is mentally 13-14.
But if she is younger, less experienced and this guy is mature than it may be too much. I guess the truth is, only YOU know what your daughter is ready for.

Carla - posted on 01/04/2010

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1st we need to b careful when it comes to dating n e ways. Then if we say no, the child seem to want the guy more. I am trying to include communication with letting the boy b around me so i can get a feel of who he is. I tell my 16 yr old what i see that is good and bad, and ultimately she will have 2 live with the consequence. It seems to have some effect when i said if you become pregnant, you will have to go to a shelter (she loves home)

Michelle - posted on 01/04/2010

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It depends on the laws in your state. Most people will look at the age and say "it's no big deal", but when my son was 18 or 19 and dating a 16 yr old, I was told by a good friend who is the head of CPS in my city and he said it is a big deal at that age if they even kiss, he can go to jail. SO I suggest if your ok with them dating, please consult the laws in your state or city and make sure you know. If your daughter likes him a lot, she may understand better why they can't date, as it could get him in trouble.

Crystal - posted on 01/04/2010

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I think one of the factors is whether this is her first relationship or not. I live in a small town where it is common to see quite an age gap between couples. One of the things my daughter(grade 8) and I discuss is that if you date someone with alot more experience than you it can raise the bar faster than she's prepared for. At 13 holding hands/kissing is the starting point and a boy her age is likely to be as shy as she is, there will be a natural progression, but if it's her first relationship and he's 2 years older it's far more likely that he will be moving much faster. I encourage her to get some experience/confidence within her own age group for starters.I guess it depends where your daughters at, I know there's a big difference in strength & confidence between 13 & 16. hope that helps.

Debbie - posted on 01/03/2010

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I wish I knew. My 14 year old wants to date a 16 year old. My husband and I don't approve, but we aren't sure what to do. We have met him and do not allow her to spend any unsupervised time with him. However, she has also let me know they text constantly and have met up at movies etc. when she has gone with other friends. I don't want to destroy our relationship by forbidding her to talk with him.
I have tried telling my daughter I would prefer she get to know lots of boys and stick with kids her own age. However, she counters that most 14 year old boys she knows are more likely to pressure her for a physical relationship...
I'm not sure where to go from here, but I do like Amy's advice and may try it.

Chris - posted on 01/03/2010

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I think that depends on the personality of your daughter. If she is responsible and mature it may be ok.

Amy - posted on 01/03/2010

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My 14 year old daughter is currently dating a 17 yr old. I do not like it, but I know better than to think I can keep her from dating "on the sly", so I made it a point to have her bring this boy in my home, to have him known to my family, and to take him aside, and nicely tell him that if he disrespects my daughter in any way, shape, or form, that there will be a line of people to deal with him for it. If I had my way, she wouldn't be dating at all, but I was her age once, too, and I know how much I rebelled and did what I wanted no matter how hard my parents tried to stop me from doing so, and they were really good parents! LOL. Just keep all communication lines open, know where they are at all times, and preach responsibility.

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