With almost 3 teenagers in our home the topic of dating is often brought up. I have been questioned recently by several people about our views on dating and why we do not allow our children to ‘go out’ or date until they are approximately 15 or 16 years of age (depending on their individually maturity). So I decided I would share our views on dating here. I want to make it clear though that I am NOT criticizing anyone if their views are different than ours- I am just simply explaining why we choose the route we choose and why we parent in this particular way.
I want to start off by saying that my belief on dating is this: the reason we date is to find a marriage partner. I know some people will argue that point- but if you think about it, what other reason would there be? Some may say to have fun- but I believe it is more fun to just be friends then- no pressure, no stress. That is what I want for my kids- to just be kids- be themselves. I want them to have time to get to know who they really are- their strengths their likes, their dislikes and who God created them to be. I feel that by entering into a dating relationship – or even ‘going out’ with someone too early they risk loosing a part of who they are because young people are so easily impressed. They want to fit in, be accepted- no matter what the cost.
I would never tell my child that they cannot have feelings for someone regardless so how young they maybe. My point is not to control them or put them in a plastic bubble. My point is that dating at a young age is too distracting. Why attach yourself to someone emotionally when emotionally you're not mature enough to make mature decisions? I would rather my children wait on dating to focus on what career they want, what college they want to attend, maybe do some mission work and serve. All the decisions they make along the way will impact who they become- and they bring to the marriage all of who they are. Then when God says they are ready He will bring them the perfect person He had in mind and they can enter into that relationship being secure in who they are and what they believe in. No scars from past relationships, no extra baggage and no shame.
Stop for a minute and think about what we do as parents to prepare and instruct our kids for dating today. It's pathetic really. Our kids have love and sex defined by what they see portrayed in the media. One article I was just reading stated that “statistic shows that in a given year, an average teenager watching an average amount of television will see over 9,000 sexual acts or innuendos, about 90% of those are with no consequences, no regret, no disease, no heartache, no pregnancies, etc.” Those are the messages that our kids are getting every day of their lives. For me that is not ok- not acceptable- and not what I want for my children. I don’t want my children to just know about purity. I want them to WANT purity. In order for me to teach them to desire purity it is up to me to put the time and effort into preparing them and instructing them in their dating life. It’s amusing really the time and effort we will put into teaching our kids to pitch the perfect baseball or even play the piano- but when it comes to dating we leave it to chance. Plus, a lot of times I think that kids only want a boyfriend or girlfriend just because ‘everyone else has one’. But I do not want my child falling into the ‘everyone else is doing it trap’ with dating or any other situation. I want them to know that its ok to be different, that its good to be strong enough to say no and to have the confidence to be able to be in individual with their own thoughts and beliefs. By setting definite boundaries and clear expectations on dating early on it takes the pressure off of our kids and has given them the precious time that they have to just be kids. :0)
Proverbs 31:10,11 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
Ephesians 5:25 And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her.