Parenting K-6 Kids/Dating

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Question
My daughter asked when could she have a boyfriend  I responded let me think about it. It has been bothering me all day since I got from work. Should I let her date? Yes, she is an intelligent, mature, polite 14-year old  young lady I just do not want her heart broken.

Answer
Hi Tara,

Let me start with telling you that no matter what a parent says, if a teen wants to "date", generally they will. If she likes a boy and the boy likes her, maybe they won't be official. Maybe they won't go out to the movies, but most will find ways to be together. Do you remember being her age? Did your parents keep you from dating? And, if so, did it really make a difference? If your parents didn't restrict you, think back to if they had, and if you and a boy were interested in one another, would you have found a way to still date him?

I have a a sixteen year old daughter. She is smart, fun to be around, and attractive. I have been concerned about boys for the last three years, but I have been fortunate. She's been so focused on school, cheerleading, her own business, and her friends, that boys have not been a part of the program just yet...but I know it's inevitable.

So, when she is ready to date, my wife and I will allow it, but we'd have to create parameters that work for our family. The thing is, young love is so powerful and intense that sometimes those parameters are created with twigs that they easily break through, but it's a place to start.

If your biggest concern is that she will be heart-broken, remember that she won't die from a broken heart, and that you can't keep her from them forever. She will probably experience many broken hearts before she finds the person she will commit to for life. The first is the hardest, but she has to starts somewhere.

If the reason you are hesitant to let her date is because of the heart-break aspect (not because the guys a jerk, or because it will interfere with her school work, or because you are afraid of her becoming sexually active, etc...) I would suggest you let her date with limitations that work for you, her and the family. You have to look at what you are comfortable with, what kind of daughter you have, your religious and moral beliefs, her away-from-home time requirements).

I wish you luck with this, and know that I will be in the same boat in no time.

Parenting K-6 Kids

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Leon Scott Baxter

Expertise

I can answer questions about raising happy, successful children. The two are synonymous. I would love to help you help your child find his passion or strength, how to encourage your child and give her opportunities, and discuss the importance of failure, perseverance, and resilience. If you have questions about how to get your child to believe in herself or how to parent versus being her friend, I can help. I can answer questions about how to model the right behaviors for your child, and what those behaviors might be for your specific situation. I also can help you deal with excuses: excuses you may be making for your child as well as excuses he is making for himself.

Experience

I have been an elementary school teacher for seventeen years. I am also an author, known as "America's Relationship Guru". I was a contributor to "Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul". My first three books have dealt with the relationship between couples in a romantic relationship. I am currently working on a new book on raising happy and successful children. For the book I interviewed happy, successful children (Maddie Bradshaw, Caine Monroy and many others) and/or their parents. I am also the father of two girls (10 and 15). Their resumes include: business owners, authors, YouTube celebrity, fundraisers, and print models. They have appeared in commercials, music videos, have interacted with mayors, international politicians, and one was mentioned on Capitol Hill for her help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer. They have watched a Dodger's Game with Jackie Robinson's daughter, been a pen pal with Dom DeLuise, and one was an official toy tester, while the other was invited to pitch her idea to a toy company. They've had these successes while also dealing with anxiety disorders and OCD.

Publications
• EducationNews.org • SBParent.com • The Santa Barbara Independent • The Valley Voice • Atlanta Parent Magazine • Independent.com • Coastal Woman • Santa Barbara Parent Source • ParentClick.com • The One World Initiative Blog • Match.com • DatingAdvice.com

Education/Credentials
I received a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and got a teaching credential from Cal State Northridge.

Awards and Honors
• Named a Ben and Jerry's Citizen Cool • KLITE Community Hero • Certificate of Congressional Recognition in Teaching • Name is on the National Wall of Tolerance • Recipient of Realiastar's "Education's Unsung Heroes" Grant • Numerous "Best Dad in the World/Universe/Galaxy Certificates/Mugs/T-shirts/Hats

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