Let's face it, there really is a lot about the contemporary dating scene that makes parents of dating teenagers nervous. For moms and dads with dating-aged children, nervousness quickly becomes an "occupational hazard." Just rehearse, for example, some of the provocative themes and posturing featured in any given week's television sitcoms---ugh, there's justified angst for sure! If you're like me, you can painfully picture your Johnny or Suzie dating "like that" and you pray, "Oh God, help us!"
So, what else do you do? Consider some helpful suggestions:
- Don't let em date until their "old enough" (whatever that means?)! Check out this helpful site and let me know what you think. (Click)
- "Sign them up" and require their card-carrying commitment to a local "Why Wait" support group--or maybe you can help start one! (It's a great resource that I can heartily recommend. This specific connection (above) is through Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship.)
- Introduce your teens to "Wait Training." It can help you help your teens to prayerfully co-enlist some similar and over-lapping commitments to the variety of collaborative concepts and principles "out there" for dating and courtship.
- Invest yourself in the resources of your local church. You're not alone when it comes to answering these questions and identifying some helpful resources. If your church does not offer resources of this nature, I suspect there are churches in your area that do. Discuss this with your pastor or priest. Churches and pastoral teams will often work collaboratively to support congregational needs, so make your inquiries.
- If your teens--or maybe you--are not church oriented per se, review the resources you will find through, for example, Smart Marriages and various national consortium (like Parents For Parents). I offered a site, above, but here it is again....(Click).
- Finally, keep in mind that these very helpful programs and resources, for the most part, will not necessarily provide your teen a routine dating paradigm. Please permit me to be painfully realistic here. The world around them, as frustrating as this may be for parents, will still try to provide that paradigm for your teens--and they will remain very tempted to buy into it! Consequently, you can help them get the customizing tools they need--tools that will help them confidently mold their dating attitude, expectations, and habits around their personal (and sometimes peculiar?) styles and values. That's huge...and it's what Smarter Romance is all about.
Helen Keller had it right when she said, "Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
OK. That's Smarter Romance for now. Remember, you can help your teens have fun, be safe, and be smart.