Parents may not think they need to think about it until it happens, but as with most instances, if you don’t decide in advance, you might make a stressed out making last minute decisions. I’ve been so excited for years for my kids to grow up to be teenagers, and I’m reveling in this moment.
Just like all of the other fun stages of childhood, trying my best to soak it all in….capture it on camera…so I can relive it over and over for years to come. Every parent comes from a different experience and perspective, and I’m anxious to hear what the other ladies share as well.
I still feel like a teen, and having had the opportunity to teach teens last year and this year in a Bible study class, they have become my favorite people to hang out with. Our family rule is that dating starts at the age of 16. Couples can form as early as elementary school, and though it’s fairly innocent at that age, and definitely not considered “dating” in my mind, it’s one of the things that as parents we can be supportive of it, on the fence, or against it.
I’m so excited to start sharing more thoughts on parenting teens, in a monthly series with a few friends, where they will join me in talking about teen topics, as we share our thoughts/experiences. It’s always been that, they have always known, so that decision was made well in advance. Not sure if it’s because of my chill boys, or because they’ve just always known the family rule. My daughter was “asked out” in 4th grade, and though I thought it was adorable and fairly harmless, she said, “I can’t date til I’m 16” to the boy, and that was that.
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Here’s what gets tricky…in this day and age with texting so much, the art of communication is getting lost, and it seems people aren’t dating as much just for fun.
Though I’m VERY excited to talk about it, I have to also be very careful, to respect my children, and their privacy. I think she was flattered, maybe thought the boy was cute, but she knew she wasn’t up for that, and had an easy fall back of “I’m not allowed to.”In my head, I was kinda like….”well, you could have…” and thought it was sweet, but after thinking about it more, I was very impressed with her for being so mature.
She had told me months later that her friends that “went out” with a boy (mind you, this is 4th grade) it got complicated and awkward, and she felt bad for them.
The Lord has commanded you to protect them from and steer them away from sin, not to condone and promote the possibility of it.
Let me tell you, no form of “monitoring” your child’s dating relationship will deter two teenagers with raging hormones. But, if your child has been taught from early childhood that the Lord has the perfect mate for them, that waiting for your spouse is God-honoring and holy, and that the years and years of saying no to every member of the opposite sex will be beyond worth it when you can tell your spouse on your wedding night, “I waited for you.” If you don’t listen to the naysayers when your child is two — the one’s saying, “We’ll see how well that works when she’s 16.” — and you continue to instill biblical principles and share the perfect will of the Lord through life lessons and scripture…children will thank you one day!