This post is for all the mommas out there.
If you’re a daughter, feel free to read on as well. You might find something you’d like to comment on below or share with your mom.
If you’re not a mom, don’t run away. You’ll need to think about this if you step into a mentoring role.
I recently came across a thought provoking post by author and speaker, Sheila Wray Gregoire, on the topic of dating and teens that grabbed my attention. Sheila writes,
“My two girls are often the envy of some of the other moms in the youth group for one reason–they both have sworn off dating until they’re 18. It’s not because they’re geeks or they’re ugly; quite the contrary. They’ve both been asked out many times (even though my youngest is only 13), but they both give the same answer. They don’t date. Dating at this age, they say, is ridiculous.
Several of the junior high moms keep asking my 13-year-old to convince their own girls of that fact, because they feel their girls are too boy crazy.”
What do you think about that?
Sheila’s words shocked me because of they are familiar. While my oldest is only 13, she also thinks dating is down-right ridiculous at this age. Now you might think that is because I’ve told her so. Actually, I haven’t. My words about dating are simply this,
“Honey, one day you’re going to have a great guy to date and when you think you found the one, bring him home for dinner. Well help you decide.”
There are no number rules in our house about dating. But there are boundary points explained and philosophical viewpoints expressed, such as, “The main reason to date is to get to know one another better on the road to marriage. If not, you’re just giving your heart away to someone who won’t keep it sacred in the long run.”
What do you have to say about dating?
I know better than to tell a teen that dating — or anything is stupid. It might insight certain ones to do that very thing. However, the real reason I’ve not had to say much on the topic of dating is because my daughter has witnessed a dozen broken hearts smashed open on our living room couch each year. Ah the privilege of having a mentor for mom! But in all reality, it has proven to me that the best teacher is life itself. She doesn’t need my lecture to know that the odds are not in her favor.
My daughter has seen too many sobbing, sniffling, gasping for air girls fall into my arms to when they’ve found out that their true love would be no more. She knows the stress of trying to manage a teen relationship: someone is always getting hurt, either the girl or her recently drop-kicked off the social calendar besties. Speaking of calendar, there is also the matter of the forever looming in the distance graduation day with hours spent belaboring if the couple should stay together or part ways. As Leah says, “It’s not worth it mom. I know he likes me, and maybe I’d like him, too, if we were older.”
Do you live by a number in your house or by a philosophy?
I know it is a touchy subject, moms, but you need to decide how to navigate through the dating scene with your teen. I’d highly recommend reading Sheila’s post, “Seven Steps to Raising a Teen Who Won’t Date Too Young” for some great wisdom and perspective. She lays out a rather thorough guide of how to approach the matter, beginning with setting up the philosophy early on, talking up marriage, and being honest about relationships. I especially like her focus on encouraging health friendship and personal development of skills and talents. Best of all, she wraps it up with an urging to pray. Can’t go wrong there! Of course, I also hope you download our Dating Guide, which will lay out every aspect of teen relationships for you and your daughter (or son). You can also purchase the Dig Deep Guide on Dating for further, in-depth study and conversation starters.