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What Age Should Kids Experience Important 'Firsts'?

What Age Should Kids Experience Important 'Firsts'?


A new poll reveals at what age children should have certain experiences, from wearing makeup to attending a sleepover to having a first date.

There’s a first for everything.

Every parent cherishes the numerous milestones their children reach. Some are bittersweet and others a little scary, but overall are proud parenting moments and momentous occasions in a child’s life.

But when are the “right” times and ages for kids to experience their “firsts"? Activities, responsibilities, privileges, and processes…many of these moments feel like they should come at a certain "ideal age." How can you know what age is right?

That’s where a recent Harris Poll comes into play, revealing what a sample of adults and teens believe are the proper ages for kids to have their first experiences in a variety of areas. The poll was conducted online and included 2,463 adults and 510 teenagers from across the country. 

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The poll covered some of the common firsts many parents wonder about, such as when a child should be allowed to:

  • Wear makeup: 14.8
     
  • Attend a sleepover: 10.7
     
  • Get a pet: 8.9
     
  • Go on a first date: 16
     
  • Receive an allowance: 9.8 
     
  • Get a job: 15.5
     
  • Go to a concert (without a chaperone): 16.5
     
  • Have the “sex talk:” 12.3
     

The full listing of results broken down by activity/milestone, region of the country, age, parental status, and gender can be viewed here.

RELATED: A Guide to When Your Kids May Be Old Enough to Do Things on Their Own

While this poll is a unique glimpse into the minds of adults and teens, every parent and their child(ren) do these things and reach these milestones at their own pace. Though it is interesting to see if your beliefs fall in line with the sample polled and if you agree or disagree with the Harris Poll findings. Things certainly change from generation to generation and even from a parent’s first child to their second or third. Kids are growing up faster than ever, with many of those polled considering age 18.8 to be an adult—though those over 65 say adulthood begins at 19.5.

Do your beliefs match the Harris Poll findings?

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Melissa A. Kay

Author: Melissa A. Kay is a writer, editor, and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in the publishing field in the areas of family, beauty, health, employment, lifestyle, entertainment, and more. She lives in Manhattan with her loving husband and inspiring cat, and enjoys reading, fitness, cooking, music, and the amazing experiences New York has to offer. See More

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