Sunday, June 3, 2012
Why My Teens Do Not Date
It's a controversial subject, that is for sure. Teens and dating are common place in today's society. It's a right of passage, a step towards adulthood, an important part of growing up and socializing, right?
Or maybe not.
When I tell people outside my most immediate social circle that we do not allow dating, I get strange looks and sometime a challenge to our way of parenting.
I have been told that not allowing the kids date undermines their self confidence, robs them of the socialization process, neglects their ability to experience life and that they are going to date anyway....behind my back.
I suppose there are some teens who sneak out of the house and disobey their parent's rules about dating, but I suspect those families have disciplinary issues that are far beyond the house rule of no dating.
I can honestly say that my teens know that they will not be dating and they are OK with it. They understand the reasons why and they are not sneaking out of the house at night. The rules have been consistent and started when they were very young. Boyfriends and girlfriends and those little relationships that 5 year olds strike up have never been allowed. It's not cute. It's not age appropriate, and it sets the stage of the thinking that boys and girls cannot be friends but should be a couple.
Here is the general rule in a nutshell and the reason for it:
We date primarily so that we can find the type of person we might wish to marry.
We marry so that we can raise a family, have children.
If you are not ready to have children then you are not ready to marry. If you are not ready to marry, then there is no reason to date.
It's that simple. There are no ways around it with group dates, etc. Having friends with the same beliefs makes it even better. It's normal and accepted. It is also gaining in trend, especially among home school families.
To the people who have accepted dating as a right of passage for all teens, I usually must chime in with more details. Perhaps their kids would never accept this simple rule because "everyone at school is dating!"
This alone should show a parent how strong peer pressure can be for their teens, and yet parents are still blindly accepting the lie that teens should be allowed to date, and the magic age seems to be 16.
1. Dating requires maturity. It is an important stage in life, but it comes with hormones and emotions and decisions that are constantly being brought to the surface. Teens are not equipped. I don't care how mature they are or how good they are in school, they are not mature enough to handle these situations like an adult. Yes, I know there are people who met in high school and are still together after 20+ years, but they are the exception.
2. Dating as a teen does not help as far as picking a future spouse. In fact, dating as a teen only reinforces the idea of if it doesn't work out, break it off. There is a lot of drama amongst teens who date because of the breaking up and getting back together scenarios that occur. You do not have to be a genius to see that this is not improving relationships or marriages later in life. The extremely high divorce rate in the country is proof!
3. Teens who date tend to allow dating to impede other activities in their lives that are far more important for their age. Education is one such activity that tends to get the short end of the stick. Many people like to argue that dating was a large part of their high school years and many of their memories were made by dating. My response is, "Exactly!!!" Call me old fashioned, but education and life skills and work ethic are far more important for a teen than a boyfriend/ girlfriend.
4. There are laws that limit who can drive, vote and drink. Sure a teen can drive, but they cannot vote or drink alcohol. A romantic relationship can have just a drastic effect on a teen's young life, and yet parents allow it freely as if it were a human right. I say no! Dating is an adult activity because it can have very adult consequences. I happen to also think my daughters are extremely precious blessings that have been given to me to raise and care for. I refuse to allow them to waste their important teen years battling the turmoil and roller coaster drama that accompanies teen dating. When they are ready to date, they will be ready and mature and confident in their choices. Until that time, they have friends that are boys and girls. They are truly friends, with no pressures of "relationships."
A friend stated that her husband told one of their teen boys that they couldn't date until they could offer a girl something more than just his good looks and charms.
I agree. I agree because I want more than just good looks and charm for my daughters and I also want my sons to provide more as well.
It's really simple.
**** I was honored to be nominated in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom of Teens! I would love it if you would hop over there and give me a vote. You can vote once a day and voting ends June 20th! Thanks!