Listen to father or heart?


Listen to father or heart?


your avatar   "Distressed young man" (16)

My father has a very strong feeling about me dating girls younger than me. I am currently 16 years old and I'll be 17 in 1 month. I went out with a 15-year-old and he threw a fit and told me it was wrong to go out with someone younger than me. There is this girl I now like and I know she likes me but I don't know if I should ask her out. She is 14 and will be 15 in a month. We really get along great and all my friends say we would be good for each other but I don't know if I should listen to my father or my heart. What should I do?


    Tina Reed, MA, LPC

Dear Distressed,

There is nothing wrong with considering the feelings and opinions of those you respect, like your parents; However, there also comes a time when your parents expectation may prove unreasonable. In this case, I think that they are a bit unreasonable. You are still underage; and the girls you are dating are younger by no more than three years. Couples who are three, sometimes four, years apart are within the socially acceptable range. In adulthood, I know some couples who are seven, or more years, apart. It makes no difference there when you have two consenting adults. In adolescence, the age range should be just about what yours have been with the girls you date. Just be careful that you do not date minors when you turn 18. Then it becomes a situation of an adult dating a child; and that is illegal because it is not consensual of both parts {that is a minor cannot legally consent to a relationship with an adult; and if it becomes sexual, that is called statutory rape}. As for now, have you tried discussing your feelings with your father? Explain to him that you get along with these girls and vice versa; and that all of you are teenagers. Also, it may help to see how the parents of the girls feel about your age. If they don't overly disapprove, you can mention this to your father as well. If all else fails, you have to trust your own instincts, as long as you are not breaking the law and the girls are not being hurt in any way {emotionally or physically} Good luck to you.

This question was answered by Tina Reed, MA, LPC. Tina is a licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, and is also certified by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice.For more information visit:

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