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05 Oct 2009

Acceptable dating ages
My daughter is 16 years old. She has had a few " boy friends"  previously but no-one serious - only friends. However she has now met a guy - age 20. They have similar interests i.e music, hobbies etc and seem to get on really well. Is this age gap too big. My gut feeling says yes, however I would like some kind of guidance on this ? Many Thanks
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Teen expert
teen expert

01 Jan 0001

Hi Tara,

Whilst in later life a 4 year gap is not considered big at all, there can be developmental differences that are quite large between 16 and 20, for example being in school or not, still legally under parental care and not to name just two. However, emotional maturity should also be considered and often girls mature earlier than boys, so it is not unusual for a 16 year old girl to be as emotionally mature as a 19/20 year old guy. However, this depends hugely on the individuals concerned.

Have you spoken to you daughter about your concerns? If not I would recommend that you speak about your worries and try and find a way of coming to an agreement that takes both of your feelings and concerns into account. Listen to your gut too, as you may want to see how it goes, but make it clear to your daughter that you have some misgivings about the age gap.
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