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One – Lust takes prisoners, and regardless of a person’s age, it’s unwise to put yourself in a position where unbiblical desires can capture your heart. Ironically, if you think you’re wise enough, smart enough, and don’t need counsel from older and more mature people, you’re in more danger than you realize. Even David, a man after God’s heart, was not wise enough or mature enough to keep from shattering his family and nation, along with God’s fame.
Two – Dating intends to “go somewhere.” All dating, “boy/girl relationships” go somewhere in that they are not static, non-moving relationships. When you start dating at a young age, you have no place to go because you’re not getting married anytime soon. It’s unwise of parents to let their children date too young.
Three – Young people are not mature enough to steward an adult relationship, and when someone “awakens love” too soon, it opens the wrong doors too early.
Four – Being in a group setting is the wisest thing when hanging out with the opposite sex.
Five – Many boys and girls who crave love from others too early typically have poor relationships with their dads. This disappointment is their primary motivator for wanting someone to love, accept, or approve of them. Most of the time, these young people look for acceptance from a peer relationships. I’ve counseled scores of teen boys and girls who were “in love” with someone, and in nearly every case, there was weak “father-parenting” involved.
Six – A parent is responsible for guiding their children to the right person. A parent’s job is to help the child make the right decisions, including dating choices. It’s called parenting. Parents and teens should be on the same team, and both should be willing to talk about these personal matters so they can work together to help the child find the right person. When children and parents can’t (or won’t) talk about these things openly, there is something wrong with their relationship, which lands primarily on the parent, and inevitably, the child will make a poor decision.
Seven – Many children make poor decisions anyway, but that does not dismiss the parent’s job to lead their children well.
Eight – If a boy does not go to the girl’s dad first to ask about dating his daughter, it’s a problem. The teen boy is dishonoring and disrespecting the dad’s God-given responsibility to rear his child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If the dad is not mature enough or active enough in the girl’s life, the boy should talk to the mom, a guardian, or spiritual authority.
Nine – The girl should let her dad know what’s up when a boy makes advances toward her. I’m aware that many dad/daughter (or/son) relationships are not mature enough and biblical enough to where they can talk openly. In such cases, it’s critical to seek a competent, spiritual authority.
Ten – If a young person hides his desires for you from your parents, there is a problem. If he doesn’t talk about his passions with the appropriate people, it would be wise to stay away from such a person. There is never a good outcome when secrets, hiding, and disunity are involved. If there is a broken parent/child dynamic where they can’t (or won’t) work together, the child should find a competent older person in their church to bounce things off regarding dating, courting, the opposite sex, and marriage. This concept applies to any issue in which the young person needs advice. Every Timothy should seek out a “Paul.” If that “Paul” is not the child’s dad, he should look within the church. There is always a need to have an older and wiser Christian working with you on life issues. We all need mentoring.
Example #1 – A boy asked our daughter to a movie, and he did not talk to me first. It would be idiotic to let a teenage boy take our daughter to a dark theater for three hours to watch a movie, and I did not know the boy, never heard of him, and did not know anything about him or his parents.
Example #2 – A boy called me and asked if he could meet with me. He wanted to let me know that he liked our daughter and would like to know how to go about it. We met for two hours. Since then, he has texted me while copying his dad on those texts to let us know what he’s thinking and bounce off ideas about our daughter’s thoughts.
He’s permitting me to parent our daughter. I’ve told our children that I have no desire to keep them in our home forever. My job is to release them into God’s world as adults under God’s authority. I want them to marry well, and Lucia and I would find no greater joy than to help them find the right mates. We’re a team, not enemies. We want the same things. They like the opposite sex, and I’m glad they do. We want to work together on this excellent aim, as far as our human responsibility permits us to do so.
Some parents operate with extremes:
Both are wrong. There is practical wisdom in the middle, and a parent must help their children to find and live in God’s wisdom.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).