Help! My high school daughter is dating a college guy!

… In their defense, my daughter and her boyfriend started dating last year when he was still in high school. She was a sophomore and he was a senior.

So it wasn’t like it was a surprise or anything.

And he’s a really good kid from a great family. He, as the “college guy,” isn’t the problem.

The problem is that I’ve had this issue for years … an issue with college kids dating high school kids … long before it affected my family.

Let me back up a bit.

We have encouraged our children to not date until they turned 16, which they both followed, and beyond that, we have also encouraged them to follow a set of guidelines by our church called For the Strength of Youth.

One of the topics discussed is dating: “A date is a planned activity that allows a young man and a young woman to get to know each other better … it can help you learn and practice social skills, develop friendships, have wholesome fun, and eventually find an eternal companion… When you begin dating, go with one or more additional couples. Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person. Developing serious relationships too early in life can limit the number of other people you meet.”

I think this is great advice, no matter who you are. It helps with your growth from a young man or woman into a young adult and also with your safety.

For me, college was amazing. And a huge leap from high school. I went to college 1,800 miles away from home, so it was pretty easy for me to “leave it all behind” and I know it’s not that easy for everyone, especially when your college is in your hometown or just down the road.

When I was at BYU, there were so many new people to meet and develop relationships with, so much to do and learn and experience. SO MANY guys to date! And opportunities to realize what I liked and wanted in a future husband … and what I didn’t.

So I guess that’s the main reason I have this hangup with people in college dating people in high school.

And on the opposite side – the person still in high school – they also have so much to do and learn and experience … with their peers who are experiencing the same things.

I guess I also feel like if it’s “meant to be” then it will eventually all work out and those two people will learn they like each other the best and move forward with their lives … once they’re both out of high school.

But … I don’t always get what I want. And I’m not always necessarily right (shocking, I know!) This is the choice my daughter and her boyfriend are making at this time in their lives. I just want them to be happy. And so I will continue to love and support them both, no matter what.


Becky Mackintosh, in “Navigating Family Differences with Love and Trust,” said: “Sometimes loving and accepting our family members no matter what choices they make is far more difficult than showing love to a stranger … God intends for us to love everyone, even those who choose or live differently than we would. We can disagree with loved ones’ choices but still love them completely, like our Heavenly Father does.”

What about you? Have any experience with this? I’d love to hear from you!


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