When is it OK for Kids to Start Dating? Parenting Expert Dr. G on Emotional Mojo

welcome back to emotional mojo so

Valentine's Day is almost here and love

is in the air you know it's all cute and

fine then for the little ones with the

Valentine's and candy but it can get a

lot more uncomfortable for parents as

older kids navigate the dating world so

how can parents keep kids on the right

track without getting completely all up

in their business the fine line there so

joining us with the answer is physician

parenting expert and author dr. Debbie

Gilboa aka dr. G dr. G welcome thanks so

much for having me this is a great topic

because it can get kind of awkward right

so let's start with that age-old

question when is it okay to officially

let our kids start dating this is a

really good question and I think parents

talk about this from the moment you

place a baby maybe even maybe it's

especially a daughter and a dad's arm it

begins and the question is do you

remember all the different definitions

that we had for dating or going out or

boyfriend and girlfriend going steady

sourcing kindergarten right you have

little kids at home and said I have a

boyfriend or so 86 years old

yeah Ava's my girlfriend right and and

so the question for parents is not how

old is it okay it's what does that mean

sweetie so it's a really good once we

get a definition from our kids about

what dating means which often in older

elementary and middle school can mean

talking about the relationship to my

friends but never actually looking that

person in the eye or Chinese

fortune-teller things we used to make

right and it'd be like oh that's my

boyfriend now yeah really what's his

last name no idea well I would say

that's still a problem by the way well

should the rules be different though for

girls and for boys when we're talking

about teenage years and actual dating

because there is a stigma there for how

girls are treated I think and how

teenage boys are treated I think the

really important thing for parents to

keep in mind is that we cannot tell our

kids how to feel but we can guide what

they do okay so if one of my sons and I

four of them comes home and tells me

about somebody he likes or he loves or

any of those things I'm not gonna get

anywhere if I say oh no you don't yeah

break or not handle it then guide

behavior say what does that mean but

also ask what do you do together how do

you treat that person yeah it's it's not

actually terrible for our kids to be

starting to dip a toe in this water at

an age where they still listen to us

yeah about some of their behaviors

because now maybe I get a little chance

to guide my child in what does it mean

to treat a woman respectful while you

can while they don't listen to you right

where we can actually engage them so

we're in like the technology age now so

kids are instead of the check-the-box

I mean we're texting and Facebook

friending and you know messaging and all

that kind of stuff I mean you could

tweet someone and ask them out how do

you deal with that but you could have

actually never seen them right my friend

said I should think you're cute do you

want to be my boyfriend girl is that

joke about parents whether they should

be friends with their kids on Facebook I

mean how much privacy do we let our

children have they are growing up

they're teenagers they need a little bit

of autonomy but so absolutely but I

think it's really important to keep the

distinction kids think privacy as a

right parents know privacy is earned

okay so having your high schoolers

password for their phone is appropriate

how much you use it is in sometimes less

important than them knowing that you're

a part of their world and then you have

to be really specific you guys do a

fantastic job of telling parents write

things down and I always encourage

parents to write down okay I get that

you want this privilege of me not never

reading your taxes we're not checking

your phone here are the things you need

to do and how long you need to do them

to earn that privilege at it here are

the things that would break that

privilege would revoke that privilege

when we're very clear with our kids we

show them respect yeah I know this is

your goal I want that goal for you too I

do not want to be reading your texts

when you're 18 years old when you're

paying your own cell phone bill that'll

be perfect but I do need to know that

you know how to treat people

respectfully that you require other

people treat you respectfully and that

you are using technology as a force for

good because you keep them in the dark

from technology you just can't do it so

unless you're gonna be Amish you're

going to be

my parents had the password to my phone

that might be enough for me today just

like if you have a security system in

your home they say that the most

valuable piece of that is the sign in

your yard

exactly we've been talking a lot today

about just being able to communicate to

somebody you know logically like taking

the emotion out so that they're not

defensive and I think this would be the

same with kids is if you start kind of

threatening how they feel they get

defensive but if you make it about

behavior it becomes very logical and

then it's just earned okay what if your

kid is dating somebody who's just bad

news do you give your opinion of who

they're dating to your kid do you tell

them if you're desperate to drive them

closer together absolutely because so

you focus on behavior I really respect

how your girlfriend says hello to me

when she calls before she talks to you

okay that's a really dated answer nobody

has a house phone sorry like how your

girlfriend talks to me when she comes

over before you guys go hang out and do

your homework in the diner or I very

much appreciate that your boyfriend

showed up to your soccer match that was


came out and supported you and watched

that in the right but you focus on the

behavior um it disturbs me that the

words I hear your boyfriend using when

he talks to you yeah okay so you're

focusing on behavior not that nice he's

a loser because you know that huge

piercing then you just don't understand

and you close the door and suddenly she

or he can't listen to you so you've got

this series this parenting series here

you've got they're great they're like

pamphlets I can handle this I teach

responsibility and teach resilience is

this something just the parents read or

do they read this with the kids so this

isn't a philosophy book inside each book

are fifty activities that parents and

kids can do together from ages two to

seventeen to build that character in

really positive ways yeah so I a lot of

parents tell me that they started off

reading it but when they would say to

their kids oh we're gonna do this thing

they would get this you know kind of

backlash like oh character lesson so

they would say hey I got this book look

through your age section and you pick

one that we should do together oh then

you can throw me under the bus this

doctor that I saw or you know

this is this parenting expert that I

listen to suggested we try this I wonder

what you know how it would go

yeah probably this is probably this is

too hard you might not be able to do

this some and quickly the inevitable

breakup cuz it's gonna happen what is

the thing you should not do or say when

the breakup happens cuz your kids in a

very rough place at this time you want

to show empathy okay no I told you so in

a breakup okay partially because that

breakup may be over tomorrow so if you

malign this kid even though you're just

taking your child's side yeah

they then see it as if they get back

together they can't tell you or they

can't talk about how you hate them so

focus again on behavior and emotion I am

so sorry you're sad I am frustrated you

were treated that way that was

disrespectful you didn't deserve that

I'm focused on you my darling thank you

so much if you guys want more info head

to and you can get that

you were play yes/no with us that would

be great got time for one fun question

here check this out a realistic-looking

statue of a man sleepwalking in his

underwear near the center of Wesley

College has created a stir among the

women on campus it's an all women campus

by the way more than a hundred students

there have signed a petition asking

administrators to remove this statue

it's called the sleepwalker as part of

an art exhibit what do you guys think

some say it's just art you guys others

say this is scary and it makes us think

of sexual assault it's scaring girls all

over campus should they remove this

statue it's actually scaring people but

in general like I said no because

sometimes art is scary and sometimes it

is calming and reassuring or beautiful

and inspiring but it's causing great

conversations yeah this whole campus of

women are talking about what's important

to them and how they react to things and

how they feel about men they don't know

I think the courier station is really

good but I also still think it does

trigger things for people who have had

bad experiences true I could try to be

protective and this is a place where

people should feel safe it looks so real

I'm dating I'm oh my gosh thank you

again so much about thank you source I'm

going anywhere coming up we're gonna

share the four things you can do today

to let go and forgive someone who has

done you wrong you're watching emotional

mojo we'll be right back