Dating before age 16

First and foremost, we found that the average length of a relationship before engagement is 44 months, or 3.67 years.

That’s almost an entire year longer than other studies have stated!

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ you are strongly encouraged to only date other members of our faith.

The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. It is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating. It is designed to help you, and it will do so if you will observe it.

This said, it is a simple truth of life that if you act differently from the way the majority does, you will be misunderstood by most.

Nothing at all is to be gained from premature, opposite-sex involvement through dating, or for that matter, through the phone, dances, parties, or games kids love.

A good question to ask yourself when contemplating a possible date is to ask yourself if the person lives gospel standards.

Do not date someone you know will tempt you to compromise your standards or your virtue.

They usually hasten to inform me, “All his (her) friends are dating.” My quick answer is: When they’re married, and only with their spouse. Now back in the old days — the early 1980s — you met resistance for such a decision mainly from the children. You can’t wrap a moral bubble around them; they have to deal with life. A recent survey suggested that if a child has a first date between the ages of 11 and 13, he or she has a 90% probability of being sexually active during senior year in high school. Key factors to consider in granting any type of dating freedom are your child’s: • moral maturity • independence of thought • history of conduct in other social settings • strength of will • social judgment • choice of friends • responsibility toward schoolwork • respect for authority.

Seriously, dating age depends upon all kinds of factors, and varies from child to child, even within the same family. Never consider your neighborhood’s “average age” when making your decision. Parents used to expect instinctively to be challenged by their kids, especially in judgments of how fast one should grow up. If you make kids too different, they’ll feel like weirdos who don’t fit in. First date at age 14 leads to a 50% chance; first date at age 16, 20% chance. I figure if I make the list long enough, my kids won’t be eligible to date until they move out.

But here are some general guidelines from my experience: 1. What is quite different these days is that you are almost as likely to be questioned by your peers, the parents of your children’s friends, They will say: “These are different times. Once you are confident your son or daughter has met these standards, sit them down, let them know how much you admire who they are and who they’re becoming.

LDS youth are counseled to not date until they are at least 16 years old.

The guideline to wait to date is inspired counsel from Latter-day prophets. Hazards exist if you date before you are emotionally and mentally able to deal with the physical feelings that come from serious relationships.

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