Teen Dating Rules

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Making decisions about teens and dating ahead of time will save some headache in the long run. Parents may not think they need to think about it until it happens, but as with most instances, if you don’t decide in advance, you might make a stressed out making last minute decisions.

Parenting Teens Rules about Dating

I LOVE teenagers!  I’ve been so excited for years for my kids to grow up to be teenagers, and I’m reveling in this moment.  Just like all of the other fun stages of childhood, trying my best to soak it all in….capture it on camera…so I can relive it over and over for years to come.

I still feel like a teen, and having had the opportunity to teach teens last year and this year in a Bible study class, they have become my favorite people to hang out with.

I’m so excited to start sharing more thoughts on parenting teens, in a monthly series with a few friends, where they will join me in talking about teen topics, as we share our thoughts/experiences. Though I’m VERY excited to talk about it, I have to also be very careful, to respect my children, and their privacy. Wish me luck! I currently have 2 teen boys–16 and 14.

Teen Dating Rules

Our first topic is teen dating rules.  We are just JUMPING right in!!!

Every parent comes from a different experience and perspective, and I’m anxious to hear what the other ladies share as well. {Scroll to the bottom to hop to their posts}

16 is the age

Our family rule is that dating starts at the age of 16.  It’s always been that, they have always known, so that decision was made well in advance. So far, we haven’t had any push back on that. Not sure if it’s because of my chill boys, or because they’ve just always known the family rule.  Besides being 16, we encourage double dating.  Safety in numbers!

Couples can form as early as elementary school, and though it’s fairly innocent at that age, and definitely not considered “dating” in my mind, it’s one of the things that as parents we can be supportive of it, on the fence, or against it.

My daughter was “asked out” in 4th grade, and though I thought it was adorable and fairly harmless, she said, “I can’t date til I’m 16” to the boy, and that was that. I think she was flattered, maybe thought the boy was cute, but she knew she wasn’t up for that, and had an easy fall back of “I’m not allowed to.”

In my head, I was kinda like….”well, you could have…” and thought it was sweet, but after thinking about it more, I was very impressed with her for being so mature.  She had told me months later that her friends that “went out” with a boy (mind you, this is 4th grade) it got complicated and awkward, and she felt bad for them.

Yep, it gets complicated FOR SURE, why start it so young??

Dating doesn’t have to be so serious

Here’s what gets tricky…in this day and age with texting so much, the art of communication is getting lost, and it seems people aren’t dating as much just for fun. It shouldn’t be so serious, it should be more of just practicing social skills. My kids may be just fine sitting at home, or just hanging out with their friends, but now that my oldest is 16, I WANT him to go on dates…JUST FOR FUN! It doesn’t have to be serious, or because you are a couple with someone, just GO!

Yes, it’s scary and awkward and complicated at times, but it’s so important for growth and learning, and stepping into adulthood! Gotta push through all of that and conversational-ize! Double dating is ideal, always better in groups.

I strongly encourage my kids to be social, to go to youth events, to put down their phones and talk!

My oldest just turned 16, and we really haven’t had much experience with this yet, but you better believe I’ve been whispering in his ear to do something! He did get asked to a girls choice dance that’s coming up in a few weeks, and I’m excited for him to go out and have fun with friends.

I’m that giddy mom that gets so excited about this kind of stuff. I definitely do my fair share of squealing.  Lucky for me, I taught my sons’ peers in class last year, and I can get the scoop on who likes who.


Ok, I’m going to go here…I think something that parents tend to be most worried about when it comes to serious dating with teens is not being responsible when it comes to the physical stuff! As I mentioned in my love story, I was taught, and chose abstinence before marriage, and we encourage the same thing with our children. I talk with them about all things sex, we discuss how babies are made at the dinner table with all of our children together, because I want them to know that NOTHING is off limits to discuss with me. They will jokingly say, “mom’s going to talk about this stuff again…” with a teasing eye roll or something, and I’m ok with that. It can be uncomfortable for them, but I want to push through that, so they know I am not uncomfortable with it.

I ask them what words they may hear at school that they don’t know what it means, and I tell them. I want them to get information correct from me. I want them to know that kissing is great, and totally encouraged, but it’s important to practice self control beyond that. As I told my class of 15 year old boys and girls last year–stay vertical!   I see intimacy as something special meant for husband and wife. I recognize that a lot of people in this world disagree, but I’m grateful I was raised with this, and I hope my children will do the same. Either way, I will love and support, and encourage them every step of the way.  I have a big sign in my home that reads, “You are loved no matter what.” Even if they choose other than my expectations, my love will never diminish for them.


I know that it’s inevitable that with this fun adventure of dating comes heartbreak, too. It’s out there for all of us. My heart got broken, even when I did the breaking up, because I was saying goodbye to someone I truly cared about, just didn’t feel it “working.”  It’s hard, but so important to gain experience, and shape decisions for adulthood.  Whenever I hear the Celine Dion song, “Let Me Be the One to Love you More” I think of someone I broke up with in college, that it just wasn’t working out. I cried as I listened to that song over and over, wondering when I’d find my true love.

Just one step in the right direction that led me to my husband, the perfect match for me.


Most of what my husband and I have decided when it comes to dating expectations for our kids, stems from our church’s suggestions in what is called The Strength of Youth guidelines. In a nutshell, it’s like a teen guide book on a bunch of topics, outlining suggested behaviors that we believe will guide them to living happy lives. It’s something both my husband and I grew up with as well, and had similar guidelines as teens.  I always knew I couldn’t date til 16, and that was just fine with me!

I’ll part with a picture of myself and my teenage boys. I sure love them. I love their goodness, their thoughtfulness, and though they’ve got much learning in the art of communication ahead of them, I know they will figure it out. I’ll be right there to urge and nudge and love. Dating is an important aspect of life…you gotta do it! As much as I adore them, and secretly wish they don’t grow up and leave me, I want them to spread their wings, and eventually get married, and you can’t do that without dating!  I can’t wait to meet the girls they will bring home, and get to know them, and watch how they shape my boys into men with their relationships.  I’m going to try my best to not be “that crazy mom” who is trying to hard, and cross my fingers that my future daughters-in-law will see me as a friend and confidant as well.

teenage dating rules

I’d love to hear…what were your dating rules growing up? Do you have teens that you’ve had to implement rules for your family?

Read my friends’ Justine and Staci’s thoughts on teenage dating here:

Justine at Your Typical mom: Dating for Teens

Staci at 7 on a Shoestring: Establishing Teen Dating Guidelines