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Would you let your 17 year old date a 21 year old? - Page 4

post #61 of 139
I was really comfortable with my parents rules growing up: no dating until 16, and only group dating until 18. It kept me out of trouble, and we had discussions about any deviations from the rules that I wanted to try out. They listened to me and sometimes said no, and sometimes said yes and I was okay with that because I knew that they would take things on a case by case basis. Once I was 18, they would let me know what they thought was wise but leave it up to me because I was an "adult". I never had a curfew, but the car did...

As far as maturity levels go, it really does depend on the person. I dated a guy about 5 yrs younger than me when I was 24 because he was far more mature than many of my peers because of some life experiences he had had to go through.

However, there ARE a few things that are pretty common when it comes to development--I don't recall specifics, but when I took my psychology class we delved briefly into the area of development of the brain and ability to process different things. Technically, we're not all fully developed until about 25 yrs old on average. So there may be a huge difference between a 16 yr old and a 19 yr old for that reason alone. 17 and 21 may be totally fine, I would just make sure I knew the guy really well and that they both spent a good amount of time around us and I would ask them to avoid being completely alone as I intend to teach abstinence until marriage in my house (It's never enough to just say "don't do it", you have to give them the tools to accomplish that, ya know?)
post #62 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by geiamama View Post
I think alot of it depends on the history of the boy/man in question and if he's interested in the 17yr old because of her as a person or simply because of her young age.
In my case I met and married my first husband at 17, he was 36 and divorced with two pre-teen children. I was (and like to think still am) a strong-minded individual but I was still inexperienced and so easily manipulated. I wasn't pressured into drinking or drugs but I was easily controlled within the relationship, especially when he used the children as emotional weapons. It caused problems as I grew older. I wanted more independence to finish my education and start a meanful career. He wanted me to carry on working three dead-end jobs, look after the children and do all the housework so that he could 'retire early' (by which he meant sit on his arse and do nothing either with HIS kids or the house. He didn't want me for me, he wanted me because I was young and therefore (in his deluded little world) easier to keep subservient.
I'm certainly not comparing the young lad to my ex but it is worth remembering that even though a 17yr old may seem confident and mature, she or he won't have the same foresight and self-assurance in potentially damaging situations as someone in their twenties.
I am curious how your parents dealt with this situation?
post #63 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I do not see much difference between most 17 year olds and 21 year olds. They are usually at a similar stage in life (young adulthood) - I think it is fine.
No kidding!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sunkissedmumma67
HELL NO! Men who want to date girls are always loser's who usually cant get or make a relationship work with women. So they go for young girls who don't expect as much and tend to settle for less.
You're hardly dealing with an 'older man' in this situation. I would agree with you if you were takling about a 31 year old man, but a 21 a guy is still a kid.
post #64 of 139
Thread Starter 
Hey folks, thanks for all the replies.

To clarify, I'm the 21 year old in this situation, not a parent.

And, uh, thanks to those who called me a creeper!
post #65 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy View Post
Hey folks, thanks for all the replies.

To clarify, I'm the 21 year old in this situation, not a parent.

And, uh, thanks to those who called me a creeper!
I think it is really harsh what some people have said on this thread, but I think it just goes to show you how crazy people can get about this sort of thing. (which is why I think you posted here.. to sort of get an idea of what kind of reaction to expect from your interest in this girl)
post #66 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I can teach and guide, but what power do I have to actually stop them from being romantically involved?
Thank you! Parents who think they can stop their teenagers emotions by refusing permission to date someone are living in a fantasy land IMO. A 17 year old is less than a year away from adulthood. I don't WANT to be in charge of all decisions for her at that point. It is my job as her mother to let her have experiences that move her towards independence. How did we learn who was good for us and who wasn't, what we needed in a relationship and what we couldn't accept? By having a variety of relationships! Some good and some bad, and we learn from them all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
OT, but they will probably have graduated by then. My son is two years ahead of grade level in school and gaining, and my daughter is currently one year ahead of grade level. Unless something unexpected happens,t hey will be done with HS at a young age. Of course, they might not choose college immediately, but if they do, they will be significantly younger than "average."
This is off topic, but we are talking about kids that are now 8 and 6? I don't think being advanced at that age necessarily leads to early college - and wouldn't want to set my kids up for feeling guilty if they turn out to be only average or even top of their class but not graduating three years early. Many kids are ahead in the early years of elementary, but while they always do well, the other kids catch up with time. Even if my kids were academically smart enough to graduate two to three years early, I wouldn't send a 15 year old to college. I don't think they are mature enough to do that at 15, 16, 17.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Restricting dating to people of the same age doesn't ensure that your kids won't have sex.

I judge people by their character, not by their age.
This! Anyone who thinks their dd is safe from drinking, drugs or sexual advances while dating someone of her own age is deluding themselves. I actually agree with many people who say that guys a few years older can control themselves better than teenagers.

I dated an 18 year old when I was 14. A 21 year old when I was 16. A 27 year old when I was 18. Two of those relationships were good; one was not. But I wouldn't take back a day of any of them from where I stand now at 39. You learn and grow in so many ways from each experience you have; every relationship teaches you something. I ended up marrying someone two years older than me when I was 22. I wouldn't apply rules to ages. Case by case basis. And respect that a 17 year old can make her own decisions.
post #67 of 139
I would have no issue with my (hypothetical) 17-year-old daughter dating anyone no matter their age, nationality, color, creed, etc - as long as the person was kind and respectful to her.

My boyfriend is 17 years older than me, we met when I was just turned 19 (6 months after I was supposed to have graduated high school), but was living on my own, working full time. Granted I am an extremely cautious person and (I flatter myself) mature for my age, so I was very careful and took the relationship slow in the beginning. He is certainly not a 'loser' or someone who wants to take advantage of young girls, as the common attitude seems to be. I don't get it. People are people, they are good or bad, emotionally mature or not so, and the actual number of years they've been alive has little to do with it IME.

Yeah, young people do get taken advantage of/engage in unhealthy relationships with older people. But they are far outnumbered by the amount of young people who get taken advantage of/engage in unhealthy relationships with their peers.. what can we blame that on?
post #68 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy View Post
Hey folks, thanks for all the replies.

To clarify, I'm the 21 year old in this situation, not a parent.

And, uh, thanks to those who called me a creeper!
Actually, I find it fascinating that the assumption on this thread, as I read it, is that the 17yo is a female and the 21yo is a male. Not the reverse, and not same sex.
post #69 of 139
Well I have a 17 yo son and at that is point, I can't see forbidding him to do too many things because the reality is he is almost an adult. This is a rather timely discussion as I was just talking to a friend about how last summer when ds was 16 he was briefly dating an 18 yo college freshman. My friend whose kids are much younger was stunned that I let ds date an 18 yo since technically she was an adult.

I met the girl and it wasn't that big of a deal to me, I trusted my son's judgement and the relationship ended up just being a summer fling. As it is ds gets approached often by older girls (19-21) and again I trust his judgement.

For me there is a time when you have to trust that you raised your child well and that they will have good judgement. IMO by the time they hit 16.5-17 its time to let them start making their own decisions. At this point, I am still a parent but I also see myself as a facilitator and life coach as well as a friend.
post #70 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Actually, I find it fascinating that the assumption on this thread, as I read it, is that the 17yo is a female and the 21yo is a male. Not the reverse, and not same sex.
I'm surprised that so many people assume that the 17 is some how incapable of making mature choices.
post #71 of 139
I'm getting in on this post a little late but I agree with everyone who thinks maturity is the key not the biological age. My 16 yr old has been with her 21 yr old bf for several years and although I love him to death, my daughter is usually the more mature one in the relationship. He lives with us now and yes they share a room but it is a committed and serious relationship and the age difference has never been an issue. Barb
post #72 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I'm surprised that so many people assume that the 17 is some how incapable of making mature choices.
This is an attitude I don't understand. But it seems there really are people that regard teenagers as 'children' not only incapable of having any say over their own lives, but not deserving of independence. I don't think most teenagers would agree with this view!

In my view a person stops being truly a child with the advent of puberty. They still need plenty of parenting, guidance, and support into their teens, but with all the hormonal changes come a sea change in personality and an overwhelming need for privacy and freedom. I think it's more constructive to foster these desires and allow them to make their own choices (and mistakes) while they still have parents to fall back on if anything goes wrong, rather than running the show for them until the are older, then expecting them to suddenly know how to run their own lives because they've reached the 'magic age' of 18, or graduated college.

My mom tried to control us at all times, but my sister and I both rebelled and went our own way. The worst consequences there were to our relationship, unfortunately..
post #73 of 139
I didn't read the other replies, but just wanted to post my experience. I was 17 when I met DH, who was 20. I was in highschool, he was a sophomore in college. But I was mature for my age, and DH was (is) a very very nice guy. He spent a lot of time with me at my parent's house, as well as took me out on dates, etc. If anything, I pushed him to be sexually active.. He had never kissed another girl before me. But he is one in a million and a truly wonderful man, so i think it definitely depends on the situation and I wouldn't put an age on it. 4 years isn't that much of a difference.

ETA: we were 19 and 22 when we got married. we have been married 4 years, have a 6 month old son, and have a wonderful relationship and are very much still in love.
post #74 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Actually, I find it fascinating that the assumption on this thread, as I read it, is that the 17yo is a female and the 21yo is a male. Not the reverse, and not same sex.

I thought about that as I was reading the thread myself, but then I double checked the OP and saw that s/he asked specifically about allowing a 17 yo female to date a 21 yo male.
post #75 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie2 View Post
I am curious how your parents dealt with this situation?
Well they weren't too happy about it!!!

My mum and dad tried to be as supportive as possible whilst still letting me know that they weren't able to accept it. It was a fine line to tread and to be honest there were several arguements about it. But the best thing that they did was let me know that no matter what happened or how things turned out that they wouldn't ever judge me or say I "told you so" so when I finally left him I knew I could turn to them and they would help without making me feel embarrassed or foolish. It allowed me to keep my dignity and move on quicker. In the end it actually strengthened our relationship.
post #76 of 139
I know that this isn't going to go over well with the parents of 17 year olds that are perfect in every way And, I also know, that in ANY situation not EVERYONE fits into the same category.

BUT.

I have noticed that 17 (and 18 and 19 and 21 and 25) seem to be getting younger and younger as far as responsibility and maturity.

Yes, for many, when you/we were 17 we held jobs, lived on our own, etc. HOWEVER, in MANY, MANY cases, this is no longer the general societal trend. I have people with whom I was friends with in high school and college (honestly, more males than females, but both) who are now in their thirties and still living at home with their parents. Some of them not taking care of any bills, and some not working a steady job.

That is what makes me uncomfortable (possibly) with the situation. I do agree that it ultimately depends on the people. As a culture, we seem to be giving our young adults more and more freedoms and priviledges and less and less responsibilities. I have met VERY few 17 year olds (or, honestly, 21 year olds) lately that I would even slightly consider an adult (I work at a University).
post #77 of 139
Thread Starter 
If I may challenge your stereotype a little, I turn 22 in June, so it's still a few months away. However, at 17 I became an emancipated minor and I had custody of my two younger siblings for a few months while my mother got back on her feet. I graduated with honors from high school and went on to college without my parents support. I have since moved cross country and am attending, basically, the school of my dreams. I am on full financial aid and I have a job that basically makes enough money to buy food and that's about it. I am not welcome at my parents home so I find alternatives for every school break. Apart from scraping buy, I also serve on a number of boards for different non-profits and organize events and whatnot. I certainly may be a different kind of adult than you are, but I am one.

The 17 year old I'm talking about graduated high school early and has been taking college classes for awhile. She's on a statewide commission, and works closely with some smaller groups. She's traveled cross country, on her own, and is pretty darn responsible.

Sure, like I said, we're not the same kind of adult you are, but I do consider us both adults.
post #78 of 139
I just want to throw out there that I had a relationship with a 21 year old when I was 15. It was sex only. It was my idea. He didn't know how old I as until after we'd had sex the first time. You know what? I have no regrets about him at all. He was a good choice for my first time. He knew what he was doing in the bedroom, and I didn't end up being gossip fodder at my high school (which did happen to a couple of my friends).

On the flip side, my first marriage ended up being an emotionally abusive nightmare that almost destroyed my sanity and had a profoundly negative effect on my physical health. While I waited until I was 23 to get married, we'd been together since we were 15 and 16...and he was younger than me. OTOH, his sister hooked up with a friend of their parents a few years later. While I was horrified (she was 17, and he was 34) at the time, honestly compels me to say that they're one of only two couples that I knew back then who are still together - my brother, sister and I have all been through one broken marriage since then, my bff has been through two nightmarish abusive relationships (one physical, one emotional), my parents and my ex's parents have divorced. His sister and the older guy - who must be a creep, right? - are still together, happier than ever and have both grown so much as people that it blows my mind.

People matter, not calendars.
post #79 of 139
Haven't read the replies.

I was 16 when I started dating a 20yo. We dated on and off for 2.5 years.

It really depends on the people involved. Responsible, mature, clean living people - the age difference doesn't bother me. Wild and crazy, immature, drugs, party lifestyle - that would really factor in to the equation.
post #80 of 139
I don't know about anyone else's children but I know that MY daughter at that age WAS incapable of making mature choices. It's all relative and personalized. I don't think it's possible to make generalizations about something like this.
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