Heavenly Kimes has strong feelings about her daughter dating or, in this case, not dating. The Married to Medicine mom recently had a candid conversation with her 13-year-old daughter Alaura (in the clip above) where she says she doesn't want the teen to date until she's 22. (Good luck with that if she goes away to college.)
After Alaura admitted she's excited to be off to high school, saying "I'm more free," her mother quickly chimed in with "you can't have a boyfriend you know that, right?"
With visible shock at her mom's suggestion of 22 as the perfect age to begin dating, Alaura then suggests 15 because she has to go to prom with someone. (Heavenly offers up Alaura's older brother as a suggestion.) She then turns the tables on her mom asking when she had her first boyfriend to which Heavenly said "I had a boyfriend when I was 15, but he was just my friend, we just talked on the phone."
After learning they also went to the movies, Alaura asked her mom how she'd feel if she did that. "I'd beat your ass," Heavenly quipped.
Similarly, La La Anthony recently confessed to US Weekly she's "completely terrified" of her 12-year-old son Kiyan Anthony dating. "He’s starting to like girls, and … that scares me,” Anthony said, adding that she’s "keeping a close eye on him." Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner admitted on The Tonight Show that her three kids — including 13-year-old daughter Violet — call her a "lame," "fun-killing mom" with the harsh nickname of "The Dragon." Ouch.
According to Pew Research, more than a third of adolescents ages 13 to 17 have had some type of romantic experience, and that jumps to 44 percent between the ages of 15 and 17.
Now, as we can all remember, there's a big difference between what dating means to a 13-year-old, and what it means to someone who's about to graduate from high school. Plus, many parents (who were obviously once teens themselves) may have forgotten what dating meant to them at each specific age ... or not realize how times have changed.
The first step when having this type of conversation with children is to ask them to define what they mean by dating and having a boyfriend or girlfriend before sharing what it means to you as the adult. There's a chance all he or she wants is to invite this friend over to the house or go do an activity (that could easily be supervised). If the child is younger, it could be as simple as going around telling people at school that you are "going out" ... without every actually going anywhere.
And, if parents know where their kids are and who they are with — and their children feel comfortable being honest and open — is there any true benefit to either allowing or forbidding them to date based on age alone?
Well, Marketwatch recently reported "that teens who stay single during those formative years are actually happier than those riding the highs and lows of hormone-fueled relationship roller coasters," according to a University of Georgia study.
The study's co-author Pamela Orpinas followed a group of nearly 600 adolescents in northeast Georgia from sixth through 12th grade to reach these findings about teen romance. Each spring, the students self-reported whether or not they had dated, and shared various details about their social and emotional life at school and at home. (Feedback was taken from their teachers as well.)
The results showed that the non-daters weren't necessarily antisocial, lonely or otherwise unhappy. In fact, both students and teachers reported that the non-dating teens were happier and less depressed. The non-dating students still had similar, or even better, interpersonal skills than their classmates who were in romantic relationships, and the number of students who self-reported feeling sad or hopeless was also “significantly lower” in the non-dating group.
So, maybe Heavenly Kimes, La La Anthony, Jennifer Garner and other parents who are anti-dating are actually on to something after all?
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