Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk about love. Teenage love. When do you let your kids date? When do they get to have a boyfriend? Are those the same things? Are they different? Can they meet a boy somewhere? Can you even control any of that? Or should you? It’s so overwhelming. I have my own opinions about dating that are based on my experiences as a teenager and then a couple like Janae and Jason comes along and blows that all out of the water. There is a shockingly high percentage of couples in our Sunday school class that dated in high school…and they’re still happily married. Mind blown!
I was recently talking to a friend about our rule that our kids cannot date until they are 16. It seems so simple. No dating until age 16, but she brought up some good questions. Does that mean they can’t have a “boyfriend?” Does that mean they can’t meet boys at the movie theater? Do we really have a say in any of this? I mean really unless we plan to go everywhere with them, we won’t have any idea what’s going on.
We have worked really hard at raising our kids. We’ve put in the hard years of constant discipline and correction. I feel like we are reaping the benefits right now. The girls are at a magical age where they can do things on their own and they want to please us…for now. How do we maintain that desire, but allow them to grow up and think for themselves and make mistakes? A wise friend told me that she tells her daughter that she wants to have some really tough conversations with her now because when it comes down to it the choice is hers and she wants her to have all of the information. That’s hard for me to think about when it comes to love because the consequences are real. And they can be life long. And I know how stupid I was as a teenager.
Love is so important! It is what God created us for. I want my kids to experience that in a healthy way. In a way that lifts them up instead of tears them down. I pray that they feel God’s unconditional love so that they don’t base their worth on the love they get from someone else. Loving another person and being loved is an amazing feeling that should be cherished, but I need them to know that you can love someone without giving yourself completely to them (emotionally and physically). That kind of love should be reserved for God and for marriage. My plan for that is to try to keep the lines of communication open as they get older. No, I don’t want to be their best friends. What I do want is for them is to respect me enough and value my opinion enough to seek out my advice when they are making tough decisions. I know there are some of you mothers with grown children that are laughing right now, but I promise you I have seen this done effectively. And it is amazing!
So as you can see I have more questions here than answers. I am hoping some of you can shed some light on the subject. What were the rules for you as a kid? What do you plan to do with your children? Did your children talk to you when they were teenagers? How in the world did you make that happen?