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BF/GF Relationships:
“Is our no dating until 16 rule fair?”

Dear Annie,

My daughter who is 13 has a "boyfriend" a year older than her. She wants to start going to the movies with him and another couple. The rule in our house has always been no dating until 16. She can't see the difference between going to the movies with a group of friends and this, and thinks I am unreasonable. Am I???? What do you think?

Mrs. D

Dear Mrs. D,

If the rule in your house is "no dating until 16" then why are you considering changing the rule? Don't tell me, let me guess! It's because your daughter is pressuring you. (Nothing unexpected there. She wants more independence and an opportunity to be with her boyfriend in an unsupervised way.) If you're uncomfortable with her being in this situation then you don't need to explain it to anyone or justify or rationalize it to her. You're the mom and your rules are your rules.

But here's something to think about. I'm going to assume that your "no dating until you're 16" rule was set down long before your daughter had a "boyfriend" and before real dating was a real issue, right? So tell me, please, how did you happen to choose the arbitrary age of 16? Was that the age when you started dating? To me it seems wiser to base your decision on your daughter's maturity level. What if she gets to be very mature and responsible and trustworthy when she's 15, for example? Or what happens if, at the ripe age of 16 you still don't feel she's responsible enough to be dating? Will you let her anyway?

In friendship,

Annie

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