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Would you let your 17 year old date a 21 year old?

post #1 of 139
Thread Starter 
On a messageboard primarily of teen girls I asked "what age difference do you allow for in dating?" and every. single. one. said that they do NOT date people their own age or younger cos it's *so* immature (which I think is ridiculous).

I'm wondering what group of moms would say. If your daughter was 17 would you let her date a 21 year old?

(I use those ages because that's the situation I'm currently in)
post #2 of 139
No way would I allow my teenage daughter to date a male of 21 years or older.

If they really like each other, I might allow him to become "friends of the family" and they could spend time together that way.

Because why?
_ dating someone that much younger than you may mean he's NOT a catch

_he may put pressure on her to be sexually active before she's ready

_he may be drinking socially, teens can't do that

All that spells trouble with a capital T.
post #3 of 139
I would, based on my own personal experiences as a teen (for instance, DP is 5 years older than me...we met when I was 16).

It would depend on the teen, of course, and the person she was interested in dating...but yeah, I would most likely allow it.
post #4 of 139
Well, I'm not a parent, but .. ha, no way would that fly with me. Frankly, I went through high school and college. I saw what the majority of boys were like. I hesitate to even use the word men on them.

I know there are exceptions, of course.

But, quite frankly, the vast majority of them are not mature, and they still use forms of pressure as well as (what I call) emotional blackmail to get sexual activity. I see this a lot. And not every girl is experienced enough to stand up for herself in such situations. Especially in situations where an "older" male is interested.

I am in an age gap relationship myself (17 years of an age gap). But, we met when I was an adult, independent, and living on my own. So, in that sense, we were on an equal playing field. I don't think high schoolers and college age students are on an equal playing field.

My family's rule was that while I was under their roof, and 100% dependent on them, I would focus on my life, i.e. school, extracurricular activities, discovering my passion, friends, etc. But, romantic relationships were not allowed.

Maybe I was a unique kid, but I never resented this or thought it unfair. I actually appreciated it because it allowed me to focus on me, without getting distracted by something for which I just wasn't ready (emotionally).

That's probably where a lot of my point of view comes from. But, truly, while I know there are exceptions, the vast majority of males ages 14 to 22 scare the heck out of me in terms of their lack of maturity! Thus, there's no way I'd let an older one near my kid.

Plus, I personally find it odd that a 21 year old (legal) adult would dip into the high school dating pool. Surely, there are other college girls out there, and thus no need to seek out high schoolers.
post #5 of 139
It would very much be about the maturity levels. Because despite what the PP said, some older kids do NOT drink socially; some are slower to mature, etc. Likewise, some under-age-rs drink socially (some do it with their parent's blessing); and mature faster, etc. It's really not a question that can be answered based on age, alone.
post #6 of 139
I would. But then I was living with a 20 yo when I was 17.

As for the dating someone your age or younger is so immature bit, are you sure these girls don't mean that the guy is so immature? Cause to be honest, 17 yo guys can be pretty immature at times.

Quote:
_ dating someone that much younger than you may mean he's NOT a catch

_he may put pressure on her to be sexually active before she's ready

_he may be drinking socially, teens can't do that
Well aside from the first one... that can be said about any guy, be he 21, 51 or 17.

As for the first one. Um, it's four years. Not that big of an age difference really. If he were 34 and she were 30 would you be saying "Dating someone that much younger then you may mean he is NOT a catch"? Same age difference.
post #7 of 139
I wouldn't rule it out, but it would depend on the individual personalities involved. The difference between those ages isn't so huge that I couldn't understand that they had some interests in common.

I would assume, however, that most 21 year-old young men had fully matured senses of their sexuality, and take into account whether the seventeen year-old in question could cope with that.
post #8 of 139
My brother was that 21-year-old dating the 17-year-old. I didn't like it because the girl was manipulative and whiny, but my brother's an awesome guy. It would be a case-by-case basis.
post #9 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by hermionesmum View Post
I wouldn't rule it out, but it would depend on the individual personalities involved. The difference between those ages isn't so huge that I couldn't understand that they had some interests in common.

I would assume, however, that most 21 year-old young men had fully matured senses of their sexuality, and take into account whether the seventeen year-old in question could cope with that.
I agree with the first part, it very much depends on the people involved. Boys also tend to mature more slowly than girls so if you have a mature 17 year old they could really be at about the same level, sexually as well as mentally.
I don't agree with the second part, though. In my experience, 21 year old boys do not usually have a fully matured sense of their sexuality - not necessarily more than a 17 year old girl. When I was 16-17, I had a very defined sense of my sexuality (even though I was a virgin until almost 18), and I resented that people would think that just because I was a young girl I would have no sexual desires of my own, that any sexual situation I might get into would be the result of pressure from the man. That was simply not true for me. Also, at that age most boys my age seemed hopelessly juvenile - good as friends maybe, but definitely not sexually attractive. But then again, I was "old" for my age. Most of my relationships have been with men several years older than me, and my DP is three years older, which means that when I was 17 he would have been 20 (we got together when I was barely 19). Though as many have said, it totally depends on the personalities involved. At those ages there is so much variation in individual maturity level. I would probably not have a problem with my 17 year old daughter dating a 21 year old unless they were obviously on totally different levels of development. I do think it is fair for the parent to get to meet and spend time with the partners of their children though, especially in cases with such an age difference. In that case it would be easier to judge whether their relationship was appropriate or not.
post #10 of 139
originally posted by Ursusarctos:
Quote:
In my experience, 21 year old boys do not usually have a fully matured sense of their sexuality - not necessarily more than a 17 year old girl. When I was 16-17, I had a very defined sense of my sexuality (even though I was a virgin until almost 18), and I resented that people would think that just because I was a young girl I would have no sexual desires of my own, that any sexual situation I might get into would be the result of pressure from the man. That was simply not true for me. Also, at that age most boys my age seemed hopelessly juvenile - good as friends maybe, but definitely not sexually attractive. But then again, I was "old" for my age. Most of my relationships have been with men several years older than me, and my DP is three years older, which means that when I was 17 he would have been 20 (we got together when I was barely 19). Though as many have said, it totally depends on the personalities involved. At those ages there is so much variation in individual maturity level. I would probably not have a problem with my 17 year old daughter dating a 21 year old unless they were obviously on totally different levels of development. I do think it is fair for the parent to get to meet and spend time with the partners of their children though, especially in cases with such an age difference. In that case it would be easier to judge whether their relationship was appropriate or not.
I think we are making the same point, here. I certainly didn't mean to give the impression that sexual expression in a younger, female partner was inappropriate. Just that a naive girl would benefit from her parents' guidance.
post #11 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by hermionesmum View Post
originally posted by Ursusarctos:


I think we are making the same point, here. I certainly didn't mean to give the impression that sexual expression in a younger, female partner was inappropriate. Just that a naive girl would benefit from her parents' guidance.
I think you are right I'm sorry if I seemed confrontational
post #12 of 139
Well... Here is what I have to go by: DP and I met when I was 17, we have 11 years difference. Couldn't have been happier for the past 10 years.

* he is, handsome, supportive, funny, patient, doesn't mind cooking dinners, is romantic, I would consider that a catch
* he never pressured me sexually, if it wasn't for his standards, I wouldn't have waited until I was 18.
* he did drink socially, but I never did outside my family (we both have European roots, and neither family would frown upon a teenager having a glass of wine or beer); neither one of us ever been drunk, or driven a car after drinking. He never bought me a drink until I was 21.

He is the most wonderful dad to his now 15 y.o. daughter who lives with us. And yes, my parents were very cautious about him in the beginning, but they love him now. In fact, my mom calls him "her favorite son in law", and we are not even married (yet)

It's very much a US thing to judge a couple by the age (I think). One of my sisters is happily married to someone 9 years older than she is. They have three kids, and as far as I can see, her and her husband fit each other to a T (and not the "trouble" kind).

So... I can't say I wouldn't be worried, but to tell you the truth, I think I'd be worried no matte who dsd chose to date.
post #13 of 139
Forgot to add...
My brother met his wife when she was 17 and he was 21. They've been married a year later, and I can see how much he loves her to this day. They've been together now for 15 years.

So you get the idea...
post #14 of 139
I met dh when I was 17 & he was 21. As a rule it seems like a big age difference & a little scary for my Mom I'm sure but for us it was a good thing. I think it is really something that has to be looked at on a case by case basis.
post #15 of 139
i dont have a teenager so i guess i can't really say what'd i do but i'd like to think i'd judge it on the person and not his/her age.. when i was 16 i dated a 21 year old (for 2 years) and he never pressured me into anything, nor did he drink..

I met my dp when i was 19 and he was 30.. we split up for about 5 years but are back together now and he'll be 36 next month (i'm 24) i don't really see any issues.. i tend to date older men (my ex husband was 10 years older then me)
post #16 of 139
Thread Starter 
deleted
post #17 of 139
Agreeing that it really depends on the people involved.

My 17 yo niece got a lot more pressure from the boyfriend she had that was the same age (regarding things like sex, alcohol, etc.) than she did when she dated someone who was 20.
post #18 of 139
Ziggy,
I have to ask! Have you polled a group of fathers on this issue? If so I'd be interested in the responses you got.
post #19 of 139
If my dd wanted to date him then I would not have a problem with it.

At 17 most of the people I hung out with outside of school were 24. I "dated" some of them, my parents had NO say & I certainly never brought them home to meet my parents(though it's a small town so they would have known by at least sight who they were)

IME most 17yo's know how they feel about their sexuality & what they want(whether it's to have sex or not). IME most 17yo's have had sex with at least 1 partner.

here the drinking wouldn't be an issue as at 17 you're less than a year away from legal age & most teens here are already drinking.
post #20 of 139
DH and I have been together for 17 years, we started dating right after my 17th b'day, he was 20. He was certainly more sexually experience than me, but then again, he started when he was 12 ...

He is an amazing DH and father. I'm sure my parents worried about him as much as they would have with anyone else no matter the age. I'm not sure why parents would automatically feel more comfortable with a 17, 18, 19 ... year old without meeting him. My DH had all of his (well most) partying, experimenting, etc. out of the way when we met and he knew exactly what he wanted (and didn't) in a relationship. I am very glad I did not meet DH when he was his younger self, I don't think we would have made it and I would have missed out on the amazing family I have today.

I am glad my parents (and I) looked at the person, not the number when we met him. I think I'll do the same for my children.
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