Teenage Dating Rules

Making decisions about teens and dating ahead of time will save some headache in the long run. Parents often don’t think they need to think about teenage dating rules 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.

teenage dating rules

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.

Ground Rules for Teenage Dating

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.  Although 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 till 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 there.  When it comes to serious dating, I think most parents tend to be most worried about physical intimacy.  Growing up, I was taught and chose abstinence before marriage.  My husband and I 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.  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 may be uncomfortable for them, but I want to push through that.  They need to know that I am not uncomfortable with it.

Ask your kids what words they may hear at school that they don’t what it means.  Then tell them that you want them to get correct information from you.  Also, 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.


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.  It’s hard, but so important to gain experience, and shape decisions for adulthood.  Whenever I hear a certain Celine Dion song, I still think of someone I broke up with in college, someone I cared about, but 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.


Listen to the podcast episode right here by clicking PLAY, or on iTunes/Spotify by searching: Beyond Good Intentions and it’s episode #81.


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.  It outlines suggested behaviors that we believe will guide them to living a happy lives. It is 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 and 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 my teens, and secretly wish they don’t grow up and leave me, I want them to spread their wings.  I want them to eventually get married, and you can’t do that without dating!  I can’t wait to meet the girls they will bring home.  These girls will help shape my boys into men with their relationships.  I’m going to try my best to not be “that crazy mom” who is trying too hard.   And I will cross my fingers that my future daughters-in-law will see me as a friend and confidant as well.

ground rules for teenage dating

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?

Dating Tips for Teens

Build loving connection with your teens

10 unique ways for parents and teens to build a closer relationship

Your Intentional Connection Playbook
For parents who value connection over control
Thank you for joining my email list! I can’t wait to spoil you and promise to keep your email address private

You might also like:

5 Questions to ask to help your teen problem solve
Kristen Duke

5 Questions to Ask to Help Your Teen Problem Solve

Whether they’ve come to you for advice because they’re not sure what to do in a situation, or you see them struggling and want to offer your advice, resist the urge! Ask questions to “get curious“ to guide them to come up with the solution themselves.

Read More »

Build loving connection with your teens

10 unique ways for parents and teens to build a closer relationship

Your Intentional Connection Playbook
For parents who value connection over control
Thank you for joining my email list! I can’t wait to spoil you and promise to keep your email address private