A recent Harris Poll addressed a subject that has challenged parents for decades but probably more so today than ever: when should kids be allowed to do certain things for the first time?

American adults and teenagers were asked their opinions on a variety of topics.  Before we address specific items 92% of adults surveyed said kids are simply growing up too fast which makes me wonder what the other 8% were thinking (of course kids are growing up too quickly).  Anyway here are some of the results of “A First Time for Everything.”


  • Between 9-11 it’s okay for kids to get a pet, receive an allowance and take part in a sleepover.
  • At just over 12 years of age parents should have the “sex talk” with their children which seems incredibly young but I guess tells you more about the times we live in. Adults said they remember getting that talk somewhere between 13-14 and frankly I don’t remember having that talk with my parents. That’s what your friends were for.
  • Kids can stay home alone, get their first cellphone and wear makeup between 13-15. By the way 8 in 10 said parents allow their kids to wear makeup at too young of an age.
  • Age 15 is a big one: first kiss, first job, learn to drive. At 16 you can go on your first date, see an R rated movie and attend your first concert.
  • First car should wait until you’re about 17 1/2 although older Americans felt that was too young.
  • As to when you are considered an adult and can make your own decisions the survey said 18.8 is the magic age…however they should not drink alcohol or get a credit card until after their 19th Of course 21 is really the age at which we consider someone an adult.