The Church has long counseled young people to not start dating before age 16, and to not rush into steady dating. A lot of young people don’t like this, but those who show a little faith in this matter are often blessed in many ways. Further, those in the Young Women program are often warned against dating boys who are much older, largely based on the disaster that we adults often see when younger girls date older boys. Along these lines, there is an interesting article at CNN.com about a new study on dating and behavior: “Study finds older boys are bad influence.” An excerpt from the article:
“We found a tight connection between teen sexual behavior and dating and teen risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs,” said CASA chairman Joseph Califano, a former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare.
The study found that 58 percent of girls who had boyfriends two years or more older drank alcohol, compared to 25 percent of the girls who dated boys their own age or not at all.
Fifty percent of the girls who went for older boys or men smoked marijuana, compared to 8 percent of the other girls, and 65 percent of these girls who preferred to date someone older than themselves smoked, compared to 14 percent girls who stuck to younger boys.
I think the advice of Church leaders on dating (including advice from typical local leaders) makes a lot of sense.