Dear Crabby, At what age should I let my daughter date?

Dear Crabby,

My teenage daughter is starting to talk about boys and dating. I know she has to grow up eventually, but I’m having trouble with picking an age to let her start dating, what do you suggest?

Sincerely, Nervous Dad

Dear Nervous Dad,

You better be nervous. All dads go through this and it’s just part of the parenting thing. Boys are easier – you can get them to believe in cooties for a long time. But girls, they’re another story altogether. They’re smarter than you are to start with. I don’t know how that works; we’re older, have been to school, worked for years, but somehow girls just seem to outwit dads a lot of the time.

Dear Crabby with a Laptop ComputerWhen my little girl first started talking about dating, we thought it was cute. But that wore off quickly as I started thinking about what boys are like on a date. It’s been a while for me, but I remember how I was and you’re probably thinking the same thing. We let our daughter meet her “date” in a group setting with other kids to go to the movies or to the mall. She was probably 14 then. We gave her money for the pay phone and had her memorize her address. Anyway, we said no dates until she was 16 when it came to a boy picking her up in a car. Well, I said 21, but Mrs. Crabby vetoed me on that one. Mrs. Crabby had “the talk” with our daughter (I had to give our son the same lecture). Anyway, I trusted my wife to cover all the bases with that subject and I got to, let’s say, interview the young man when he came to the door. I would say something like, “She’ll be out in a minute … she’s just finishing her cello lesson.” I would put my hand on his back and steer him back to his car. “What kind car of do you have there?” I would say. “It better be an American-made car.” I would then inspect the tires, check the seat belts and make sure the lights worked – you know, make sure the vehicle is safe to go. I sure made some of those boys nervous. I remember one skinny kid, maybe 17 years old. I asked him to start the car and back it down the driveway and I told him he better come to a complete stop “the right way or just keep driving.” Well, I must have scared him because he skipped the stop altogether and kept going. I had to listen to two women yelling at me the rest of the night. I got a little better after that one.

You’ll just have to trust that you instilled some good morals in your daughter. You’re going to be nervous for a while, probably until she gets married. Good luck!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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