SmileTutor Blog Parents Key Decisions All About BGR: Should You Encourage Boy-Girl Relationships at an Early Age?

All About BGR: Should You Encourage Boy-Girl Relationships at an Early Age?

Love is a positive human expression. 

Being around the person makes you feel happy. It makes you feel valued and makes life exciting.

Being around family. Being around your pet. Being around your best friends.

It’s simple to understand— It’s natural to want to feel love. But what about love in a romantic way? 

Parents, here’s some food for thought.

We know that love in that sense is a different kind of commitment. Even as adults, some of us may not understand it fully, and still make mistakes when it comes to understanding our partners. And what about our children? When age comes with time, and time comes with experience, are our children old enough to “go steady”?

Today, let’s play devil’s advocate for a bit to ask you a question: As parents, should you encourage BGR at an early age?

What Do You Think of When You Hear “BGR”?

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At the mention of “BGR”, some of you may immediately be close-minded and discourage the idea.

“It’s not time yet.”

After all, they’re young and gullible. 

They should do this when they’re older. You might think.

Others may take a more conservative approach, choosing to “wait and see” or when the right opportunity presents itself. 

Some may even fully encourage their kids to go out and experience it for themselves and take an off-hands approach to parenting about BGR. 

Regardless of which method you may go about the topic of adolescent romance, it’s clear that parents always have their children’s best interests at heart. We can’t ever say what’s the right approach to your parenting style, as environments, people and personalities all influence the factors to the perfect decision.

So instead of giving a tasteless opinion, we want you to be informed, and make your own decisions based on what you think is right for your child.

Before we dive deeper into the topic, we hope that for parents who are already on their last ropes (child really insists on dating), you’ll choose to hear them out seriously at the very least.

Remember, never be the one to cut out communication with your child!

How Much Do You Know About BGR?

So, let’s get started. At this point, many of you may be sceptical.

What more do I have to know about BGR to know that it’s not good to start young?

My child wants it, and I don’t want my child to hate me so I’ll allow it.

You may have already formed your own thoughts and conclusions based on your own biases, or hearsay from the experiences of other parents. But can you really say you’re kept up to date with the topic?

Understanding the Change in Perception of BGR 

We’re no romance experts, but society has definitely changed a lot since our school years. And this change has inevitably altered the perception of BGR amongst youths.

More Social Cues to Follow

For a start, back in our days, we didn’t have the terminologies “rizzing” to describe romantically charming, or “fizzling” to describe a relationship ending indirectly without communication from both parties. 

There are more social cues than ever with the increasing dependence on social media, and more ‘unspoken rules’ to follow when it comes to social hierarchies in schools. 

They may be expected of certain things when they get into a relationship. And similarly, those who are single also have to follow rules so that they’re not misunderstood by the opposite gender.

This is also why children find it harder to confide with their parents when it comes to these matters, because they “wouldn’t get it”. 

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Now, you wouldn’t want your child to shut you out just because you’re not in the know, would you? This is why understanding this change is important. It gives you an “entry pass” so that when you want to speak with your child about these serious topics, they won’t push you away immediately.

Unrealistic Expectations


Then, we have a difference in expectations to deal with here. It may have already existed before, but unrealistic expectations have become more commonplace with today’s youths, as they’re exposed to media like K-dramas, celebrity culture and what is now considered “normal”.

They want things to work out all the time. They want the best first dates, they look up horoscopes to find affinities, and even prank their partners to “test their faithfulness”.

Modern dating has become more like a social puzzle, rather than a heartfelt extension to love. As a netizen states, “People are selfish, unrealistic, picky, egocentric and play STUPID games.” 

If you bothered to look up a few YouTube or TikTok shorts, you would find content all about couple quizzing and content with similar motives. These are all steps in the wrong direction that can and may have already hurt your child’s perception of romance and dating in general. 

Understanding the Pros and Cons of BGR

Understanding the change in perception is step one. Now, you have to assess the pros and cons of BGR so that you can weigh the resulting outcomes of your final decision. 

In many ways, the impact of BGR goes beyond just “an early romance”.

(+) More Opportunities to Experience BGR Naturally

Many parents may tout the idea of “too young and immature”, but really, when is truly the age to start if you say that? 16? 18? 20? Perhaps, only when your child has established a career?

Gathering sentiments from netizens, there is a vocal mass feeling regretful about “not starting sooner”, or “no longer having the opportunities to start” because they’re at an age or environment where it can be difficult to find partners naturally. 

Hindsight can play a part in our lives, but do you really want to be the person to close off that possibility for your child supposing that you knew that their childhood was the only time where they could experience an unbiased and natural romantic experience with others?

No matter what stage of life one is at, it’s unlikely that they’ll be at a place so secure that if a relationship fails and breaks them emotionally, their career is not going to be at risk. Going up to one’s 30s or even 40s, this can still hold true. And when you’re past a certain age, these opportunities will be far and few in between.

(+) Maturing No Matter the End Result


Is it really that bad to mess up the relationship with your first love? Either way, your child learns from it. Sure, it can be demoralising and it may sometimes be hard to get back up from a setback. But experiences are also built from failures. Failing once can teach your child about what not to do in the future, and even help them discover their own shortcomings. 

Setbacks can make your child more emotionally mature, and prevent future situations where they are instead seen as socially inept.

(-) Negatively Affecting Studies


Here’s the usual point of concern. 

Low points in a BGR often means a drop or loss in mood. This in turn brings down overall motivation to work and study, which of course means doing badly in academics right?

Ultimately, encouraging a BGR would mean that you’re fully prepared that it can negatively impact your child’s studies. It’s not going to happen all the time, but with how unpredictable adolescence can be, you must be open to the possibility.

(-) Using Up Time Meant For Self-Development


Relationships can seem “trivial” when compared to spending that time on the betterment of their own lives. As parents, we see the bigger picture. But our children make more emotional choices than not, and can miss out on improving themselves with life skills instead of something that cannot be certified into a quantifiable skill for hire in the future.

It may seem self-serving, however, to push through the point that “parents know what’s better for you”. 

But sometimes, your concerns are warranted. Do they already avoid washing the dishes, skip laundry days, and get told to finish up their homework before playing?

That lack of self-responsibility and poor time management shows an inability in taking care of themselves, much less taking care of another person. This can point towards an unhealthy future where your child would spend most of their time managing their relationship over themselves.

Bad Approaches to Handling BGR

Weighing your options, you should talk over the topic with your child carefully. Here’s what NOT to do when it happens:

Invasion of Privacy


Who is that girl? Are you two going out already?

When are you coming home? Make sure you come home by 5 ok?

Curfews. Restrictions on do’s and don’ts, and being unnecessarily nosy; these are all the things we wish our parents wouldn’t do when we were younger ourselves.

The worst offence would be to look at their phones without permission. Never cross a bridge you’re not prepared to burn. Kids are really sensitive about that, and for good reason too. Everything private is in there. Even as parents, there are some lines of privacy you should respect.

Shutting Out Their Opinions


This can be an unconscious thing. And trust us, we know. Sometimes, serious conversations that determine boundaries can lead to intensified emotions. As adults, we’re guilty of raising our voices all too often in order to ‘silence’ anything we don’t agree with.

If you truly want to understand your child, and whether a relationship would work for them, be an active listener. Listen more. Give room for them to convince you. Both sides should understand each other, and come to a compromise. 

BGR can seem like a simple “want” in your eyes, but perhaps it can also be an emotional “need” that they crave for healthy self-development. Our children undergo an inevitable phase of curiosity and personal development in their own way, and it can feel discouraging to learn that your own parents are not supportive of your heartfelt decisions.

The Consequences

So what happens when you handle this poorly? 

Case one, your relationship sours with your child for a long time, perhaps even permanently. First loves can really push adolescents to such extreme emotions, and that intensity can build into frustration towards you instead.

Case two, the above happens, but your child defiantly dates in secret anyway. Nothing changes, except for the fact that your child now no longer feels comfortable enough to confide in you.

Still Not Sure What Stance to Take on BGR?


Still undecided on what to do? Worrying over what happens when you ultimately decide to prevent BGR is normal. And perhaps, that’s what most parents end up doing anyway.

But for the ones who believe in their children that they are ready to take that next step and not be too hurt by its consequences, perhaps you should let your child experience it while they can. Picking them up after a fall while they’re young is much better than a serious heartbreak when they’re older after all.

You can use the point of academics to cover your own paranoia of the worst case scenario. But you can also find a productive balance between studies, and time with loved ones.

Regardless of what decision you make, the most important thing you must emphasise is accountability. If they choose to pursue a BGR, they should be aware that they are no longer ‘protected’ from their mistakes. Experiencing love can bring about all kinds of effects to a person, and it’s up to them to decide whether it can be a good influence to them or not.


To close off, we’d like to share our own two cents about the topic. 

We’re taught from young, to avoid doing things that might “fail”. But is that truly the right way for society to progress? As a society, we need to change such a conservative mindset to handle these ‘sensitive issues’ better. Any success involves risk; any innovation or creativity brings with it the risk of failure.

A dying society treads on thin ice, telling its people: “don’t fail, or else”. 

But a growing society advises them: “learn from the mistakes of others, and especially from your own.”

Our children are constantly in a state of growth. And as parents, should we really take these important lessons away from them?

Still thinking about it? Here’s more about this topic:

Dating at a Young Age: The Pros and Cons No One Tells You About

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.