Questions to ask before dating spark important conversations between parents and teens. So share this information with moms and dads at your church to help them navigate the world of teens and dating.
Dating starts at different ages for different kids. All of a sudden, bodies change and hormones take over. Then our teens want the label of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” They’ve noticed they have feelings for a boy or girl and want to do something to express these emotions.
The trouble is that we don’t really know how to approach this topic of dating with our kids. Every form of media makes it seem casual and fun, often ending in sex. But as Christians, we know that isn’t what we want to teach them.
So we turn to other parents for direction, but none of us are on the same page with ages or approaches. Frequently, all we walk away with is, “Well I know I don’t want to do that!”
Finally, we look to our own dating experiences. If you’re like me, those teen dating years weren’t amazing. So you think again, “Not going to direct them to that!”
Frequently this leaves us setting an ambiguous dating age out into the future. Then we still aren’t ready when it arrives. Truthfully (and I have no idea why) I’ve been fine with the concept of my girls dating. But when my son wanted to date, I went into a full panic.
So what do we do about our teens and dating? If we can ask ourselves some questions, it helps us (and our kids) through this dating territory.
Not sure how to make dating rules for your teen? Check out these 3 questions to ask before dating. (And please share them with parents at your church!)
Questions to Ask Before Dating
1. What’s Your Definition of “Dating?”
When our tween comes home and says, “So-and-so asked me out,” we wonder what that means. They can’t drive, so “going out” obviously isn’t literal. We’re relieved when they tell us they’re going to sit together at lunch and text sometimes. But before we know it, they start calling that person “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” and we aren’t ready for that.
Dating lingo can be confusing. So it’s important to clarify what you mean by “dating” and get specific with your answer. For instance:
- How much time can they spend with this person in a group?
- When will we let them be alone with this “girlfriend” or “boyfriend?”
- How much time can they talk or text?
Spell it out for yourself. Then make your definition of dating clear to your kids. And if possible, don’t wait until they turn 16, because they’re likely to ask way before that.
2. How Are You Handling the Labels?
As our children begin dating, it’s vital that they don’t find their identity in a relationship. They may want the label “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” but it’s okay to challenge them on why it’s so important.