Wait to Date?


A young boy, 13 years old, poses the question: ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’ He receives an exhilarated ‘yes’ from from a girl of the same age. Was she wrong for accepting, or was the boy brave for asking? Affectionate feelings can develop at first sight, during comforting hugs, or after a long childhood friendship that turns into a deeper relationship.

Age plays a factor in everything from movie ratings to amusement park rides. Age is known to be one of the many deciding factors for young kids to do what they want. Dating falls under that category as well. Should age matter, or should maturity be the deciding factor? 

Sarah Piceno, sophomore, believes that age does matter when beginning to date. She realizes the risks that a young person might encounter and regret.

“I think that some people aren’t mature enough or emotionally ready to commit themselves to a person. Not only that but at a young age hormones are evident and could lead to some bad decisions,” said Piceno.

Piceno began dating at 16 only because she begged her mom. Looking back, she is now able to see the benefits of being forced to wait. 

“When I couldn’t date the guy I liked and he waited, it kinda showed that he was gonna wait for me and there was a commitment there,” Piceno said.

The conflict between young teens and their parent’s rules cause tension and distrust when kids seek to get what they want regardless of the consequences. Piceno questioned her parents as to why she couldn’t date at an earlier age. She says it created a little friction in their relationship.

“I didn’t get along with my parents very well, because I was angry. I lied a lot and that ended up in losing my parent’s trust,” Piceno said.

Piceno thinks her age restriction to dating was closely related not only to her gender, but ethnicity. She says girls definitely have different restrictions than guys.

“I am in a hispanic family and I am the youngest child and I am also a girl so I’m gonna be raised differently. I argue this with my mom ‘til this day, she says it’s not a big deal for guys but it’s a big deal for girls,” said Piceno.

Boys may have more leniency when dating as teens, but from a male’s perspective, the responsibilities are just the same.

Robert Turley, English IV teacher and parent of two, does not see that boys and girls have different restrictions.

“It depends on the maturity of the individual and when the parents deem their child to be mature enough. Boys have to make good decisions as well because things can happen on both sides,” Turley said.

Freshman, Nia Dearborne, feels a child’s outlook on dating is affected by what they see from their parents.

“If their parents are separated then they could feel like their relationship also won’t last,” Dearborne said.

Lisa Cole, AP English III teacher, believes maturity matters when beginning to interact and students are too young, they might do or say things they’re not ready for.

“Its appropriate for junior high kids to go on group dates and school dances, but when you’re unchaperoned I would say 15 or 16 is a good age to start dating,” said Cole.

Cole says it weighs someone down when they have to constantly be aware of what their significant other thinks about them. She feels there are no negatives to waiting to date at all.

“You won’t have the pressure of having to dress up and look good for your romantic interest and it keeps you a kid longer. There should be the same rule for all teens in the house,” Cole said.

Since there is no official book on the rules of dating, students are left to submit to their parent’s wishes, and quietly stalk their crushes over social media.