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However, even with these guidelines, three out of four of our teens had their first real date to the school prom in their junior year at age 17.And those first dates were all with friends, not with someone with whom they were romantically involved.But he wasn’t ready yet to surrender his role as a parent. Just what role should parents play to steer a child away from the traps in the most popular sport for many teens—the dating game? For us, dating or courting is a small part of the overall process of determining God’s will for discovering your life partner in marriage.He hoped the conversation he was about to initiate would help close that gap. ” he asked, struggling to disguise the wobble he felt in his voice. Bill gripped the steering wheel and shot a glance into her eyes. Bill and his wife had talked before with Julie about God’s standards about sex, but soon she would be dating and making moral choices on her own. They were just a block from home, so gently but firmly, Bill pressed the final question: “Well then, would you mind telling me how far you intend to go? ” He stopped the car a few feet short of the driveway and feigned a look into the mailbox. If he had waited for a month, he wouldn’t have been ready for what she said. In our family the focus has not been on dating, but more on training our teens in their character and in how to develop a relationship with the opposite sex.He had prayed for an opportunity to talk to her alone—without her three brothers around. “Oh, okay,” Julie replied, in cryptic teenage fashion. “Have you thought through how far you are going to go, physically, with the opposite sex? They wanted to encourage her to make the right ones. He knew his wife always got the mail, but Julie was acting like a basketball team ahead by one point in the fourth quarter, hoping the clock would run out. Our teens do not go out on a date every Friday and Saturday night.She looked nonchalantly out her window as their car crossed a small bridge. “I would like to ask you a very personal question and give you the freedom not to answer if you don’t want to.” He paused, waiting for her reply. Our junior high and high school age teens don’t date anyone exclusively.It takes far more maturity than most 12- to 16-year-olds have to see that words and actions need to match.Train your teen to look for outward qualities that indicate inner character, like a good reputation at school, a self-controlled mouth, and wise driving habits, to name just a few.
Why go out with someone who does not have your values?He smiled as he thought about all those after-school trips over the last few years: dance classes, piano practices, the unending cycle of softball games and tournaments.He glanced at her in the seat next to him and thought, .It’s not that our teens were not interested in dates beyond a friendship, but we had talked through the few pros and the many cons of exclusive dating enough that they felt changing the relationship from friendship to romance might ruin the friendship.