Q&A: Dating


“Depends on the type of date,” writes Lauren Koblara Kostantin. “A group outing like to the movies or mall or someplace, maybe 14? One on one? I’d say 16. That being said, my son is only 3 so I guess things could change in 10 years.”

At what age do you think dating would be appropriate for your child(ren)?

  • Brianna Lamke writes, “35”
  • Ilyza Sarah Earle writes, “LOL, what a question! I second that, 35.”
  • Meg Lefkowitz writes, “Group dates at 14-15, depending in maturity of the kid. Single dates at 16-17, again depending on maturity.”
  • William Cortis writes, “I agree with Meg. Maturity and responsibility play a huge role in the factor.”
  • Kara Kitchen writes, “Group dates or chaperones at 13; 16+ for single dates or in cars driving… But we’ll see in three years if we stick to that, lol! We have twin boys, don’t know if I would say the same w/girls…”
  • Karina B. Heart writes, “So many factors come into play when answering this question. Each scenario is different. I trust my daughter (15), but I also know that things can quickly move beyond her ability to navigate. I have to have met her date and his parents. At her age, “dates” are limited to short intervals in a public place (not movie theaters) where I’m within a few minutes drive and reachable by cell phone. “Hanging out” can happen at home in public areas of the house and never behind closed doors. She hasn’t seriously dated anyone yet. Holding my breath and trusting her good judgment!”
  • Carrie St John writes, “The group dates at 14. 16 for solo dates assuming you meet the other teen first.”
  • Robin Morgan Huntley writes, “I think that it depends a lot on the types of social interactions that a kid has as non-dates – I grew up in a rural area where the only thing I ever did was have.friends sleep over, and I didn’t start “dating” until my potential dates were old enough to drive me (17, in my home state’s case). However, I think that when I have kids, if we live someplace like Northampton where they can walk into town with friends, getting ice cream or coffee as a date would be acceptable at an earlier age (15-16) since it wouldn’t require letting them ride (or drive) with a new, young, and likely nervous driver.”
  • Kristen Handschuh ‎writes, “15/16”
  • Lauren Koblara Kostantin writes, “Depends on the type of date… a group outing like to the movies or mall or someplace, maybe 14? One on one? I’d say 16. That being said, my son is only 3 so I guess things could change in 10 years :)”
  • Karen Dearness writes,“16”
  • Suzanne Hall Howell writes, “I have told my children they are not allowed to date until they get married, and they are not allowed to get married until they are 35… every mother I tell that to, thinks its a great idea, the kids, not so much.”
  • Sonya MacPhail writes, “It depends on the maturity of the child.”
  • Kimberly Kelly writes, “Never! Lol, but 14 with supervision would be acceptable!”
  • Erica Wise writes, “They can date whenever they want, it’s just that what the date consists of and who goes on it with them will change with age. Mom drives until I trust them to drive themselves, I’m thinking maybe sometime after college. ;)”

[Photo credit: (ccl) dans le rêve]

Dating in the Hilltowns

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Sex in the City Village

I was in New York City on Wednesday! They have lots of well-dressed people there and lots of windows for you to look into while you’re walking so you can see if what you put on that morning looks like what you thought it was going to. It doesn’t look as cool as you thought it was going to in the first window you pass, but they have all these other windows for you to look at yourself in and see if your outfit got any better!

You don’t get that so much in Ashfield. You’d have to jump up and down to see the reflection of your clothing in the windows of Country Pie or Elmer’s or the Hardware Store. You might be able to do it at Neighbors, but you probably don’t care as much about it as you would in New York.

One day we (at Elmer’s) were talking about what the Sex in the Village television show would be like. Three women would sit around at the Lakehouse and say to the fourth:

♦ You went out?
♦ Really?
♦ With a guy who wasn’t married or anything?
♦ Where did you find him?
♦ How old was he??
♦ Do I know him?
♦ Oh right. That guy.
♦ Yeah, I know him, too.
♦ Wait—which guy?
♦ You know, that one with the hair.
♦ Oh wait, with the—that guy? Yeah. I know him.
♦ Yeah, me too.
♦ Yeah, okay.
♦ So, we done here? Wanna go swimming?
♦ Naw, I’m gonna go take a nap.

And then the show would be over!


Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

To Date or Not to Date … That is the Question

Girl Crazy!

Take a close look at this torso. No. No. This is not the torso of some Harley Davidson road hog (although give it a few years….sigh.) This is not some code to conquer the latest video game. It isn’t even a cheat sheet for a multiple choice final. These are initials airbrush-tattooed to my 13 year olds core. Not just ANY initials mind you. These are the initials of the four girls he went with to the local amusement park; He, his friend, and the FOUR girls whose names match the letters on his sternum. My husband’s response? “Not bad odds Gan!” My response? Well I am not sure. At first, there was embarrassment. All I could think about was that the next day he was going to the beach with the WHOLE seventh grade class and ALL the teachers (with whom I used to teach) and that this tattooed advertisement for promiscuity (all right a little much..but it was how I felt at the time) would be on display for all to see. Once I got over that-(after a few eye rolls from my husband)-I vacillated between “well-he-is-a-growing-boy!” and “he’s-too-young-for-this-kind-of-thing.” But which is it?

It isn’t that I would rather have my boys be monks. On the contrary, I worry equally about my 16 year old for the exact opposite reasons that I worry about the 13 year old. Painfully shy, going into his junior year, he has yet to find the nerve to ask a girl out. It isn’t that he hasn’t found one in which he’s interested. There have been several, but when pressed by me to call or invite them somewhere (do teens even call each other anymore?) I get an emphatic “NO WAY,” or an equally emphatic “MOM LEAVE ME ALONE!” It’s moments like these where I wonder and wallow about the lack of self esteem my very handsome oldest son has. My extremely imaginative pessimistic mind is no help either as it pictures lonely college days and even lonelier nights as Aidan grows old a single man because he was never secure enough in what he had to offer to a girl he admired. (I think I just saw my husband roll his eyes again.) Well at least we know his little brother has enough confidence for both of them.

Girls, girls, girls. If you aren’t there yet moms and dads, you will be. I grapple with what is appropriate and at what age? The reel in my head sounds something like this, “If they start too early won’t they get, ehem, THERE faster?? But if they start too late, what does that say about their confidence? Don’t all teens need to experience young love, new love, broken-hearted love?” I am so unsure of the answers to these questions, and it seems that everyone else has an opinion. You already know my husband’s. Growing up as the tenth brother of ten brothers, he has seen it all, experienced it all and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. He is the biggest proponent of “boys will be boys.” A few friends of mine think that it is perfectly appropriate to discuss liking girls with their elementary-school-aged sons. A few others think you shouldn’t discuss girls at all. There are some scientific studies that claim if your son is between the ages of 10 and 12 that dating will cause them to perform poorly in school. Most experts found all over the internet think that 15 is an appropriate age to begin dating. But all are also quick to say that it really matters what the parent is comfortable with.

The problem is that THIS parent doesn’t KNOW what she’s comfortable with! Maybe a monastery is the answer. OOOO! Three eye rolls from the hubby for just one column. I think it’s a new record!)

What are your thoughts on this subject? When is it too early to date? When do you start worrying that your son isn’t dating? Let me know in the comments section below my bio! I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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