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17-Year-Old Son Dating 13-Year-Old


Should we forbid our 17-year-old son from dating a 13-year-old girl?



When to let our children date, whom we allow them to date and what boundaries to establish with dating are all challenges parents must face. 

In your son’s situation, you must first consider what is age-appropriate for a 17-year-old versus a 13-year-old. Relationships most likely are not thought of the same at these ages. You will have to assume that either the 13-year-old is stretching herself to meet your son’s expectations of what a relationship is, or that your son is reverting to an earlier maturity level to maintain equal ​footing with his 13-year-old girlfriend. Both of these options present problems, and thus are not ideal for either child.

Talk to your son about what types of things are appropriate for a 17-year-old to do in a healthy relationship and why that would conflict with someone who is younger than him. Do not limit your conversation to what he should not do. Help him understand what he should do as well. 

Relationships are an integral part of life; he will probably have many of them over the years. Each one presents an opportunity to learn what it means to be in a healthy relationship with another person. You can help further his understanding of what makes a relationship successful and what he needs to do to be part of one. Guiding him to figure this out rather than just telling him will empower him so that he can make the decision that dating a 13-year-old is probably not a good idea.