My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. (Prov. 4:20)
My fifteen-year-old son stared across the table in shock. After praying about it, my husband and I had decided against traditional dating for Josh. But I guess this was news to him. “You mean I can’t go out to dinner with a girl?” demanded Josh. “We didn’t say that,” said my husband, “but that kind of dating will probably be the exception, not the norm. We’d like you to get to know a young lady through group outings and by spending time together with your family.”
“I have to bring the girl to meet you?” asked Josh.
“Josh, we’re simply saying if there is a girl you want to spend time with, we’ll want to meet her, and we’d like you to do some of your socializing with her in our home or on outings with us,” I explained. “We won’t be difficult about this. You can have her over to play games, visit on the back porch, or watch a movie together . . . when one of us is here, of course.”
The discussion was difficult, but we got through it. And six months later when Josh asked if he could invite a “friend” over for pizza and games, he seemed eager to comply with our rules. Ready or not, your children will eventually want to spend time with someone of the opposite sex. Will you allow traditional dating? Do you prefer group outings? Will you require them to introduce their friends to you and to spend time with your family? Before you answer, consider what you want this time in your child’s life to accomplish. Pray about your decision, talk with other wise Christian parents, and look for Christian books on the subject. Then discuss your standards with your children and be willing to listen while remaining true to your convictions.