Now this is a very touchy topic. Is there really an appropriate age to start dating? This one is as subjective as it gets, much like the question of when to give your kids the sex talk. Opinions would always vary depending on cultural or societal standards, making it impossible to get a universal answer.
Let’s keep our focus on Nigeria for a second. This is a country where morals and cultural values are quite important, to say the least. To put things a little more in perspective, the average Nigerian parent might never even give a child the sex talk. It’s safe to assume they believe some things are best figured out independently.
You can then imagine what their disposition to dating is with respect to age. In some parts of the world, a 14 year old dating for the first time might be seen as a late-comer. In some other parts of the world, 16 would be too early, say nothing at all of 14.
Nigeria is a part of these latter parts. In a country where children go their whole lives without ever seeing their parents kiss, you can imagine the reaction to 14 year olds dating. So while some encourage forming early relationships, others see it as an aberration.
The question is: Who is right?
Nigerian parents would always argue that the flimsy disposition foreigners have towards dating is the reason for their high divorce rates. They believe that early exposure makes kids flighty when they become adults. This is why most parents discourage dating at an early age; for lack of maturity. They would rather the child be in the higher institutions before even considering dating.There is no hand-book to real parenting, the first step is to know your child, and use your experiences to guide them. Click To Tweet
On the other hand, it is possible that by refusing to allow children engage early, one might just be condemning them to a lifetime of repressed feelings. Most kids adjust in time, probably because they sneak around and date without parental consent, but some don’t. So there is a lot to weigh in when thinking about this sort of thing.
The truth is, there is no right age to start dating. Not one we all can collectively agree on anyway. However, I believe regardless of the age children should be allowed to engage, within reason. Set boundaries, help them work through it, instead of demanding and commanding, discuss and recommend.
There is no hand-book to real parenting, the first step is to know your child, and then use your experiences to guide them.