Teen Romance - How Old is Too Old?

Filed under: In The News

feetLucinda Law is a 16-year-old girl who was recently given legal permission to marry her 26-year-old boyfriend, who she's been seeing for two years. Her fiance is a family friend who has known Lucinda since she was nine years old. Perhaps more shocking than the wedding itself, Lucinda's dad set the two up when Lucinda was only 14.

When it comes to the age gap, just how old is too old for a teen?

Asked about her new movie The Reader, Kate Winslet said she was offended at the suggestion her 30-something character's affair with a 15-year-old boy was inappropriate.

"That boy knows exactly what he's doing. And, for a start, Hanna Schmitz (her character) thinks that he's 17, not 15, you know? She's not doing anything wrong....She didn't force him into anything at all."

Okay, parents of teens: Raise your hand if you agree with Winslet. Anyone? Anyone?

While Hanna's story may truly be a love story (and the movie itself is getting great reviews), I think that we can agree that teens who fall in love don't always go into it "knowing exactly what they are doing." Especially when that affair involves a person twice their age.

My own husband is six years older than me, but we met as adults. Had we met when we were 16, there's no way in the world I would have been allowed to see him. Yet cool dad Billy Ray Cyrus lets 15-year-old Miley Cyrus's 20-year-old boyfriend live with them, so clearly, we're all not reading from the same instruction manual.

It's one thing when your daughter brings home a college boy, but when the age gap starts to widen to 5, 10, or even 15 years, where do you draw the line?

What kind of age limit do you put on your teens when dating?
They can date anyone who is still in high school.10978 (42.1%)
I'd let them date someone in college, with supervision.2780 (10.7%)
Age is just a number. It would depend on the person they chose.5078 (19.5%)
It's never come up.1898 (7.3%)
Date? My kid won't be allowed to date until they're 30.5366 (20.6%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.