Yes, we have all seen some lovely May/December relationships where age differences are nothing other than numbers. Sadly, this is not the case with everyone including celebrities like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher (as evidenced by recent headlines in tabloids and the divorce announcement yesterday.) Nonetheless, we all have friends for whom the age difference may even be the reason why the relationship thrives.
When it comes to teens, though, it's an entirely different matter. If your teen daughter has been trying to talk you into dating a boy who is a few years older and you've been saying no, then you have probably been acting in her best interest. In fact, there is now data that backs you up. Thank God for research. A recent study from the Kaiser Foundation found that teen girls with older male partners are more likely to be sexually active perhaps even before they are emotionally ready. This, I am sure does not come as a surprise to parents of teenagers.
Let's not forget about the boys here. Younger male teens with older female partners face the same risk, according to this report.
As parents, we would do well by our teens to teach them that sexuality and tender emotions go hand-in-hand. Our discussions about sex should include not only warnings about diseases and teen pregnancy, but also about the emotional vulnerability that comes along with getting sexually involved with a partner. So yes, discouraging dating older males or females is a reasonable thing for a parent to discourage.
This is one situation where learning the hard way may be just too much for a young teen to endure.
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