Q: My 13-year-old son wants to have a girlfriend. Although he is very mature for his age, I’ve told him to wait. How will I know when he’s ready to date?
A: There is no magic age for dating. Often it depends on the social culture of the teen’s school and friends.
Before you panic, find out what your son means by having a girlfriend. Dating means very different things to different groups of kids. It may simply be that kids in your son’s circle sort of pair up, but the pairing actually means very little as they do everything as a group. So ask him what he means. Then listen. It is not unusual today for kids to have friends of both genders with no romantic overtones.
The important thing is that he understand about being respectful of girls and women and that he is knowledgeable about his sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases, and his responsibility in any relationships with girls.