Christian teens are like any other adolescent. When they start to grow up, they also start to form attachments to members of the opposite sex. While most parents would love their children to stay little forever, eventually the issue of dating will come up. Even though your teenager is a Christian, it does not necessarily mean he or she can make dating decisions without guidance. Here is some advice as your child enters into this new experience:
Know God’s Will
According to the Bible, it is God’s will that people fall in love and get married (1 Corinthians 7:1-7). Where parents and teens tend to disagree is the method of getting to that wedding day. However parents do need to keep in mind that falling in love is part of God’s plan.
Know What You Believe About Dating
There is a group of Christians that does not believe teens should be dating at all, and there are people on the other side that believe dating is how you know the right person when he or she comes along. Most parents, though, fall between the two opposites. They believe that Christian teens should date responsibly and not just date for the sake of dating. Knowing where you fall in the spectrum will help you set rules later.
Talk to Your Teen About Dating
This is one of the most difficult and often overlooked steps by parents, yet it is one of the most important parts of leading your Christian teen down the right path. While neither one of you may feel totally comfortable talking about dating, sex, temptation, or feelings, it is important that your teen understands your perspective. It is also important that you listen to your child when he or she speaks. When the two of you understand each other, trust and openness is built up. It forms better relationships.
Have Ground Rules
As you start to notice your teen’s growing interest in members of the opposite sex you may want to start thinking about the rules you want to set. Be sure to not just se the rules, but also explain where the ground rules come from. Also, be willing to discuss some exceptions to the rules, like a later curfew when your teen goes to a school dance. Be sure to allow your teen to have some input on your rules so that he or she feels heard. Teens who feel they have some say over the rules usually follow them much better.
Take a Deep Breath
Many parents of Christian teens feel some anxiety when their teen goes off on a first date. It’s okay. If you trust your teen to date, then you need to let go a little bit. Try to do things that get your mind off of the date. Read. See a movie. If it helps, offer your teenager a cell phone so he or she can call you if needed. As time goes on you may not like the dating, but you will get used to it.
Source: Kelli Mahoney, About.com Guide