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Should Teens Date Someone Older?

The children of this generation are developing earlier than those in the past generations. I have a daughter, who is only eleven years old, but she is taller than I and looks like a 16-year old girl already. It’s very likely that she, like one of the faster-developing girls out there, will attract the attention of those older boys than her.

By SCA Svenska Cellulosa AktiebolagetFlickr: Teens sharing a song, CC BY 2.0

Now, when I think about the idea that someday any one of my teen daughters is going to date someone older than she is, I have my apprehensions. First of all, I don’t think they should be dating at that age. Probably, I would allow it if they are at the right age, maybe after finishing college.

When I was still a teen, I dated someone who was older than I, so I know it’s not the best situation to be in. I learned my lesson and just concentrated on my studies. After I finished college, I was ready to date. I did date older men again and got married to one. This decision is something I don’t regret because I found him at the right time.

For teens, here are some things to think about before you actually date someone older. Parents should know this, too, to know how to advise their teen kids.

1. The body’s appearance is ahead in development than the brain’s.

A teen’s body may look like an adult’s, but his or her brain is not yet like an adult’s mind until he or she reaches the early twenties. The parts of the brain that control impulses and the ability to think ahead are the last things in a person to develop.

This could likely cause a problematic situation when a teen spends time alone in a room with an older date, whose probably expecting more physical contact than what a teen should ever get into.

2. Maturity levels do not match.

For some parents who would allow their teens to date, a good rule of thumb is not to let them date somebody who is a year older than he or she is while still in the teenage years.

This keeps the maturity levels of both individuals at about the same levels. Of course, this does not hold true at all times, but the greater the gap between two persons, the greater the chances that your maturity levels won’t match.

3. Immature exposure to sexual abuse.

The big problem when allowing your teen to date someone older is the possibility that the guy will use his age and experience to engage in heavy petting and sexual acts while dating. What if the person has already gone all the way, and expects it from the teen, too.

Parents need to prepare their children for such possibilities, which may happen even when they are past their teen years. Teach them to confidently say, “no,” if  they find themselves in such an uncomfortable situation.

4. Exposure to smoking, drugs and alcohol

Dating someone years older also increases the chances of exposure to smoking, drugs and alcohol. Some younger teens probably know how to get their hands on these items, too, so parents should watch out who their kids hangout with. But dating an older person doubles or triples the likelihood of coming into contact with smoking, drugs and alcohol especially when attending house parties or social events with him.


So, should teens date a much older person? I think they should not date at all.  That’s what my husband and I, as parents, want to teach our kids and will try to stand by that standard.

For parents who allow their teens to date, just remember that a couple years difference in age between your teen and a date are substantial when it comes to maturity levels and experience. Before dating, make sure that your teen understands this to lessen the chances of being put in a compromising situation.


Elizabeth O. said…
To be honest, it would be a lot better if they didn’t date at all. Kids might think it’s cool to date someone older, but there’s really more pressure. Chances are there will be things that they will be forced to try and they’ll go with it even if they’re not comfy at all just to show that they can keep up. A terrifying thought for parents.
Chin chin said…
I agree with you, Elizabeth. Teens aren’t ready yet to handle such situations, that’s why many get themselves into trouble ie teen pregnancy. It is scary indeed.
Maven said…
I agree with you that teens shouldn’t date older guys. But when they are in the right age or in marrying age it’s okay to date older guys because many of them have already matured, tried everything and ready to settle down. Teens, on the other hand, need to concentrate on their studies and enjoy their friends.
Chin chin said…
Totally agree with you, Maven. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Nilyn said…
When I was in my HS days, I did date someone who’s about 2 yrs older than me. So, yes, I agree, although, I didn’t do it, I got exposed to smoking and alcohol every time our group of friends hang out. We never had sex since I was still very young at that time, but I yes, I learned how to kiss because of him, hehe. So, yes, it’s better for them not to date at all.
Melgie said…
I think that kids should date after finishing school, although, I can’t prevent anything what future hold but I would rather have my kids finish their study first and always think about the future. Great post, Sis and also great reminder to all the parents and teens.:)
Chin chin said…
Thanks Melgie for confirming that teens should seriously think about dating / relationships after finishing school. You’re also right that we can’t control situations, but when the kids know our point of view as parents on the matter, they become more careful in their decisions.
Mommy Anna said…
For me, I will not allow it, iba na ang time ngayun. That is why we need to guide and teach them always the right values

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