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Writer's Block: First love

At what age do you think kids should start dating? How old were you when you went on your first date? Was there anything you would change about the experience? How do you think it shaped your expectations?

 There’s probably not a whole lot of livejournalers who are particularly interested in my dating history so lets skip that part of the question and talk about what’s relevant in today’s dating culture.

I’m a parent of teen daughters. A lot of teen daughters. Four teens to be exact.

“Teens and dating” are a delicate situation.

On one hand, you’ve got the whole world telling them how dating is supposed to look, embracing the mindset, “If it feels good, do it.”

Then you’ve got the parents. Parents have a whole different idea of how things should be.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about teens and dating it’s this: You can’t tell teens how to feel. You can’t make them into miniature copies of yourself.

The best thing we can do as parents is love our children for who they are, provide guidelines and boundaries, and PRAY. (And, of course, get as much expert advice as possible from someone who’s been there.)

If you’re a parent, go read these books. If you’re a teen, go read these books.Your future happiness rests on making good choices.


I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris 
Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating by Richard D. Phillips

FormulDating with Pure Passion: More than Rules, More than Courtship by Rob Edgar
When God Writes Your Love Story: The Ultimate Approach to Guy/Girl Relationships by Eric and Leslie Ludy
Dateable Are You? Are They? by Justin Lookadoo
Waiting and Dating: A Sensible Guide to a Fulfilling Love Relationship by Myles Munroe

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ba1126
Apr. 22nd, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
I totally empathize. I had three daughters, one year apart.
(Deleted comment)
1carolinabrown
Apr. 22nd, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
I don't have all these books yet, but the next one I'm getting is by Eric and Leslie Ludy. They've written several books and all of them look good. I think my girls would like them.
rhkpennsylvania
Apr. 24th, 2010 10:42 am (UTC)
I've heard that one is really good.
ba1126
Apr. 22nd, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)

I didn't have time to fully comment this morning. My policy (that worked pretty well for us) was to have the person they were interested in come to supper with us. This let us get a sense of who this person was. It also took the "mystique" away from certain people. A guy who is 'sexy' in the halls at school looks a little different in your living room meeting your parents. It also gives a subtle but clear message to the visitor that you are a strong family and you will be watching over what happens to your child!

Another good rule we had was visitors could only be in the child's room if the door remained open. This we started long before dating and it didn't matter if the visitor was a girl or a boy, same sex or opposite sex. We found reasons to pass by the door occasionally (putting away laundry, getting a sweater, etc.) to keep an eye on things. Once my daughter (about age 14) had a new friend, another 14 yr. old girl, come to visit. They went upstairs with her two brothers to listen to a CD the new friend had brought. I went upstairs a few minutes later and discovered this girl sitting there in a black lacy bra!! I rushed in and said "Oh no, there is none of that happening here!!" Her explanation was that she was hot!! I watched to make sure she put her top back on and stayed in the room for the next half hour, when she decided to go home! That was the last time we saw her! My kids were all apologies; they were so stunned by this girl's behavior, they hadn't known what to say or do!!
ba1126
Apr. 22nd, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)

I didn't have time to fully comment this morning. My policy (that worked pretty well for us) was to have the person they were interested in come to supper with us. This let us get a sense of who this person was. It also took the "mystique" away from certain people. A guy who is 'sexy' in the halls at school looks a little different in your living room meeting your parents. It also gives a subtle but clear message to the visitor that you are a strong family and you will be watching over what happens to your child!

Another good rule we had was visitors could only be in the child's room if the door remained open. This we started long before dating and it didn't matter if the visitor was a girl or a boy, same sex or opposite sex. We found reasons to pass by the door occasionally (putting away laundry, getting a sweater, etc.) to keep an eye on things. Once my daughter (about age 14) had a new friend, another 14 yr. old girl, come to visit. They went upstairs with her two brothers to listen to a CD the new friend had brought. I went upstairs a few minutes later and discovered this girl sitting there in a black lacy bra!! I rushed in and said "Oh no, there is none of that happening here!!" Her explanation was that she was hot!! I watched to make sure she put her top back on and stayed in the room for the next half hour, when she decided to go home! That was the last time we saw her! My kids were all apologies; they were so stunned by this girl's behavior, they hadn't known what to say or do!!

I liked to use a comment from an old time comedian, Sam Levenson. He had a book out that talked about raising his kids. When they would say things like "You don't trust me!", he used to respond "YOU I trust, I don't trust Mother Nature. Mother Nature is out for herself!" Kids often, in their inexperience, don't understand the power of their sexual urges, (and the urges of others) and need help until they are old enough and experienced enough to handle such situations.
cajunncary
Apr. 23rd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
Hi there,

so i guess i'll weigh in with my opnion here.

I agree with you 1CB, we can't tell our teens HOW to feel, but perhaps we can help shape them in appropriate levels of emotional attachment (at different ages) and physical boundries at their tender and very naive age. They (our kids) just don't know that they don't know; but, we do!

BA1126 ~ Trust is given to someone who is trustworthy, and if i don't know a fellow or a gal, then i certainly don't trust them EVER with or around my kids, until they have proven to be trustworthy. Of course i don't communicate that to the teens, and BTW, rooms that are off the "beaten path" are off limits for the boy/girl mix.

Allowing teens in a room (where there just happens to be a bed) is inviting tension to an already sensitive dynamic of boy/girl, growing up/need my own space dance that seems to go on in the enviornment of our teen years more strongly than at other times in our lives.

Someone has to teach parameters to their teens and who better than moms and dads who have been there done that. We are not called to make friends with our children's friends, but we are called to protect them (our kids) and guard their innocence.

Kids are screaming out for boundries. I think that is how many of them spell Love these days.

CajunNCary
(Deleted comment)
cajunncary
Apr. 25th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
Each teen is different, i think the key is never give teens too many liberties without them having earned the right to have them, and if they ever "cross" the line, then the liberties are restricted or taken away, just like you would do with an employee, if they kept taking advantage of certain generosities you gave. Heck even as adults we have to have restrictions put on us by the Word of God, our accountability partners, spouse, or pastor. The scripture reminds us in James, the "we all fail in MANY ways" (emphasis mine). We can put no confidence in the flesh, especially highly hormonal and immature teens.
I’m sure you will navigate fine as long as you continue to lean on God. SmileyCentral.com
(Deleted comment)
1carolinabrown
Apr. 26th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC)
I'm loving this thread of discussion.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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