Daughter Dating Too Soon?

Q: The other night my wife and I had a very awkward but necessary conversation. Our 15-year-old daughter has been hanging out with this new group of friends and has taken a liking to this one boy. Normally you'd think it would be the dad who has the most concerns, but I'm fine with the idea of her dating. My wife, however, is totally against the idea of our daughter dating. I always figured that if you want a good relationship with your kids, you have to be open. If I forbid her from dating this boy, she might do it anyway and that might be worse and cause more problems. How can I even explain this to my wife who is basically saying our daughter can't date until 17? -Mark Andrew, 39

Dr. Anna: You're right that she needs parents she can trust and talk to. Can you try having a heart to heart with your wife about why she is forbidding your daughter to date? It may be that your wife is having some emotional responses to this situation that are due to her own experiences. Did something happen in her past? Is she afraid of something happening to your daughter? If you can ask and listen with an open heart, you might be able to figure out a solution. If she is afraid of something happening to your daughter, perhaps you three could talk about it together and come up with some ground rules to help keep your daughter safe—curfew, phone check-ins, parents meeting the date before heading out. In any case, don't give up. You're on the right track here.

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