At What Age Should I Let My Daughter Date?

I have three grown daughters. All three are incredibly smart, hilariously funny, and strikingly beautiful. All three are either in or headed toward careers in business and medicine. They are gifted women who love Jesus. Through the years, I often asked, “At what age should I let my daughter date?”

None of them has ever dated seriously.

And that’s O.K.

I want to talk honestly about dating from the perspective of NOT dating because this is the reality for many girls. For some it’s a choice; for others, not so much. But for all of our girls, dating is a subject that is talked about so much, even in Christian circles, that a girl who doesn’t date might begin to feel that there’s something wrong with her.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

So, Bottom Line — What Age Should I Let My Daughter Date?

So today I want to write to encourage you to think about dating in a slightly different way: your daughter is not failing you, herself, or Jesus if she doesn’t date in high school or even in college.

[Side note: I asked my youngest, who is 18, if it would be O.K. for me to write about this, thinking I would title it “When Your Daughter Doesn’t Date,” but she suggested the title above because, as she said, not dating shouldn’t imply that something is wrong with her. She and her sisters don’t feel a deep need to date right now. They know that when the time is right and the right person comes along, God will make it happen. Thus, the title above.]

Be sure to also check out: Mom’s PSA About the ‘Black Marks’ on Changing Tables is a Must-Read for ALL Parents

Some Myths About Dating

Let’s get something off the table right now: If your daughter does not date right now, Jesus is not, nor will He ever be, your daughter’s boyfriend. To say “Jesus is my boyfriend” diminishes His role as Savior, Redeemer, and King. Jesus as boyfriend brings him down to our level, a place that He has never had nor should ever have. Jesus is so much more than a “boyfriend,” so let’s stop that talk right now.

One more thing. Dating is not sinful. Wanting to date is normal. Healthy, even. But when we put too much emphasis on dating, especially when our daughters aren’t ready for it, we put too much pressure on them to make it happen. Disastrous results can happen when girls feel pressure to date.

What I’m saying is that your daughter should feel O.K. in how God has made her so that she doesn’t need to date. And I think it’s up to us, moms, to help instill this in her.


Shelly Wildman
Shelly Wildman is a Jesus-loving wife, speaker, and mom of three grown daughters. She's passionate about intentional parenting and loves speaking to women about it. You can find Shelly writing on her blog, Life on the Wild Side, and you can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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