Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why My Teens Do Not Date

                                  *My sixteen year old, Journee*

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."
                             *My niece and my daughter Quinn, both 14. Always having fun(without boyfriends)*

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.
 Really.

**** 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!

VOTE HERE!!!!!





40 comments:

  1. oh my gosh, your life seems amazing! (minus the bees - i'm allergic) keep up the good work, mama!

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    1. Thank you Joy! Sorry you are allergic to bees!...they are wonderful little creatures!

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  2. I love number 4. Good point about the driving, voting, etc.

    My oldest son did not date and neither did his fiancee, until they met. At the time they met he was living on his own, building up his new business. He is a farrier (age 20 now), just bought a house, and owns his own vehicle, specialty cap, etc. debt free (except for the house). His lovely young lady manages a large equestrian facility (she never dated either) and they are getting married in three weeks. They both felt like dating before you were capable of supporting yourself (and a spouse in his case) was a waste of time and money. Both had plenty of friends and were not anti-social. Now they will be joining their lives knowing they are the each the special one the Lord prepared for them...I highly recommend the idea of not dating until you are mature enough to support yourself and know who God wants you to be and be with. Marriage is too important to play around with. Kudos to you for teaching your daughters well!

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    1. I am glad you understand! One never can tell when a romance might lead to a want of marriage, but if the couple are both ready financialy and emotionally then it's OK!!!!!

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    2. i think are an idiot for not letting them be teens and date. guess you were deprived of dating and now want to do the same to your teens. your a sick person

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    3. Haha! I think you are ignorant. I am always amazed too that the really negative and hateful comments come from people who stay "anonymous." Coward.

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  3. Our family spend alot of time talking to one another and something we like to talk a lot about are morals. My son will be fifteen later this year and hasn't dated, not because I've set a rule but because he understands he's not ready. I think taking the time to talk to our children is the key to much of their ability to understanding why people behave the way they do. We are not religious, we do have very high moral standards. I'm sure you too have taken the time to explain all these things to your children which is why they happily accept your rules, it's the children that just have the rules set and no disscussion who are the ones that rebel.

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    1. I think many of the dating problems can be headed off IF parents talk about these things, like you do!

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  4. Our oldest child is a 6 years old. We jokingly tell her that she can't "date" till she's 18, but if she finds that special someone and wants to get married earlier, and we feel she and he are ready, then we'd let her. It's kind of a joke (about getting married younger), and yet kind of not. We too believe that you shouldn't date until you are ready to get married and all that entails. And we believe it's important to set the rules early and let the children grown up used to them so they seem normal. It's great to read of a family who have implemented this and who's kids are already in the teenage years and see that it really does work! :)

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    1. My dad always told me (jokingly) that I couldn't date until I was 30:-)

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree! However, this is definitely a topic that families have to be in agreement on. Our 18yo son has had a girlfriend for almost a year, and my husband and her parents don't see anything wrong with it. Obviously, I'm outnumbered in my opinions :-( I've pled my case about the benefits of waiting to date, but it was to no avail. I wish more people could recognize that the negatives of dating far outweigh the positives!

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    1. Sometimes the lessons must be learned the hard way, but I wish your family and son happy success! There are many couples who meet in high school and stay together for the long haul!!!!

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  6. I agree with Maridy, except that I don't like the number 18, either. There's that age over 18 when girls are most vulnerable, because no one will protect them. The Bible makes it clear that girls are to be protected before their first marriage. Hopefully, that will be their last marriage. But if her husband dies, the Bible says she can marry whomever she wants. That's so interesting to me that there is a distinction. We want our daughters to be virgins and therefore innocent and ignorant of some things when they marry. What if they marry when they are 25 or something? Should they be all alone in their naive choices between age 18 and age 25? Will they be prey for bad men's attitudes? How can they be expected to smell a rat? There are so many failed marriages nowadays that it seems to prove that young women cannot smell a rat when they meet one. We need to do further work on making the system for meeting and marrying that includes a continued teemwork between all members of the family, AFTER age 18 as well as before. It doesn't say anything about age 18 in the Bible.

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    1. I know what you mean. I was was just talking with my 8 year old daughter the other day about marriage. (Her uncle is soon to be married this summer.) I asked her if she trusted Daddy and I to help her pick out her husband some day. Without skipping a beat, she said, "Of course!" I said, "Don't you want to pick him out yourself?" She in all her 8 year old wisdom said, "I don't know which guys would make a good husband, but you have a husband, and Daddy is a husband, so you guys would know a lot about that." I'm not saying that we intend to have an arranged marriage, but I hope that when our daughter is ready for marriage, we will carefully pray over it and try to find someone for her. Until then, I hope she is content to just focus on being the woman God is growing her to be.

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    2. I somehow missed writing "with her." We intend to help her find a good man when she is ready. I hope that we will continue to have the relationship of trust where she desires our help in the process, and we have our ears open to her heart's desire.

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    3. I once heard Mike Farris give a talk at a home school conference on Courting and how he implemented it into their family. He discussed differences in his kids and how he adjusted rules to fit their circumstances and maturity, etc. Best talk I have ever heard about courtship!

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  7. Beautiful! For many years, I accepted dating as part of life. My son is now 18 and is forever damaged by some of his prior relationships. When my daughters (7 and 9 years younger) were in early elementary, we started talking to them about dating. They are both content at 10 and 12 to wait until marriage to kiss. They don't even want to discuss dating with anyone until the boy is ready to provide for their family. I love it. I pray that my girls will be provided for and kept safe until their husbands take that role from us.
    Thanks for writing such a clear piece.

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    1. Thank you for the nice complement! I think discussing it when they are young is so important and makes a huge difference in how they accept it!

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    2. J_Stone: But what if your daughters do not want to marry at all? What if they want to become doctors or lawyers or ballet dancers or teachers or accountants or any number of other professions & want to provide for themselves rather than depend upon a man to provide for them? You are limiting their horizons. That is what bothers me about so much of the responses here. There seems to be an assumption that a woman will want to marry & will want to be supported by a man. But that is very sexist, very patriarchal, very limiting for both women & men. You should tell your daughters that they should study hard so that their horizons are not limited. If they don't date, it should be because they are focusing on getting good enough grades so that any career choice is open to them. If they choose to marry, if they choose to have children, if they choose to have one spouse support the other, that can be an option but not the only option.

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  8. You may want to read "Hold On To Your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld. Right up your alley. All about our peer-oriented, horizontal culture and how we need to grow a parent-oriented, vertical culture. Excellent read.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I will look the book up!

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  9. I think a lot of thought & prayer needs to go into do families continue to guide & protect their young people who go to college away from home. The young men need this as well.

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  10. not "do" but "how" Sorry, tired fingers.

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  11. Sam, great article! We feel the same way about this. Love your blog!

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    1. Thanks Kim! I hope we see you all at a movie this summer!

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  12. Such a great post and a topic we too have started discussing....so happy for your blog being nominated- very well deserved!!

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    1. Hi Michelle! It's a topic worth discussing, for sure! Hope your summer is going well!

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  13. I agree with you except on these two points:
    "We date primarily so that we can find the type of person we might wish to marry. If you are not ready to marry, then there is no reason to date."
    Yes, and that might take some time. Some people may need to date for awhile, and have a few relationships, before finding the person they want to marry. You make it sound as if, once a boy or girl is grown up & ready to marry, they will marry the first person they are attracted to. That would, in most cases, be a mistake. Relationships can cause heartache, of course, but they can also be useful experience, part of growing up & maturing. Having a romance when you are studying abroad, for example, that doesn't turn into a long-term relationship or a marriage once you return home, can be a delicious adventure that you look back on fondly, long after you are settled.

    I agree that teens waste too much time & energy on dating, that could be more productively applied to their academic work, to friendships, etc. But it seems like there has to be a happy medium between wasting time and marrying with no experience of relationships. Now, if you say, let them have as many relationships as they choose but don't let them start so young, I am 100% with you there. 18 is plenty young to begin.

    "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."

    This is simply not true. Plenty of people marry who choose not to have children. Wanting children, or being ready to have them even if you may want them later, is not a prerequisite for marriage. Nor is wanting to marry a prerequisite for dating. I have known plenty of people, men and women, who never wanted to marry or have children, but they are certainly not remaining celibate or lonely. They date, they have relationships, they are just upfront that marriage and children are not going to happen. You can't box everyone in to wanting the same thing. Some of your children may choose not to have children or marry. Some may choose to travel, to have adventures that include romance. They won't necessarily follow a neat plan of marrying young & having children immediately. Some may want to do that, but some may want to establish themselves in a career first. You can't assume everyone wants to marry or have children, nor can you assume that those who do not will live celibate lives, devoid of romantic relationships.

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    1. you obviously don't get the point.

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    2. What point would that be?

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  14. Can I get some advice in helping my 15 year old daughter see it this way....after I already let her have a boyfriend in 8th grade.... that is still intact.

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  15. My parents didn't believe in dating as a teen either, so I didn't date when I was in high school. They thought I should focus on academics and a girlfriend would be a distraction. They were also against school dances for similar reasons. When I got to college, having a girlfriend didn't mean anything to me, so I didn't date there either. In college and in my early 20s, it seemed like most women wanted guys who were loud, in your face types, who spent every weekend partying and drinking, things that never interested a quiet and reserved guy like me. I didn't go on my first date until I was 29 and 4 years later married her. I'm not sure if my experience is the way it should be for everyone and in some ways, I think I may have done my self a disservice, but on the other hand, I never met anyone I wanted to spend time with before then and didn't have to deal with the drama some people I knew were dealing with. Many happy years of marriage later, sometimes I'm still conflicted over it. Thoughts?

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    1. I am glad you are happily married but I think you must have hung around a rough crowd in college if the only women you met were partying types. I, too, didn't date much because I was focused on my studies, but I am an atheist, so no religious restrictions on dating. All of my friends were studious. None of us drank or partied at all. & we all would have enjoyed dating a serious, quiet, reserved guy who took his work seriously, as we did. I knew plenty of women who did not party & had NO interest in the frat boy-types who did.

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  16. If you lined up 100 psychotherapist they would all agree that you are projecting your fears and experiences on to your children. You certainly mean well and you are not unintelligent. The side effects of what you are doing can be life long for your kids. Including,staying in bad and abusive relationships, severe sexual addiction and an inability to cope with basic marital problems. It pretty common of people with sex problems and relationship issues to not have been allowed to date or have relationships as a teen. It can create a sense of shame and cause kids to go wild the minute they hit college (ask any college councilor about the repressed kids who get into big trouble (pregnant, sexual assault, drug addiction) in the freshman year. I really do understand that you think you are protecting your kids but you are in fact doing the opposite. Please seek some help and reach to get some professional knowledge in this area.

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    1. I laughed at this comment and then realized you were being serious. I read it again. I am still laughing! Haha

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  17. " Teens and dating are common place in today's society. "
    As far as statistics are concerned, this actually less common today than at any point in the last 30 years. It is far from a new thing, and I'm surprised that you think it's recent; I'm sorry you grew up that way.


    "Here is the general rule in a nutshell and the reason for it:
    We buy groceries primarily so that we can find the type of food we might want to eat regularly.
    We eat regular meals so that we can remain alive, and defecate.
    If you are not ready to defecate, you are not ready to cook a staple meal. If you are not ready to cook a staple meal, then there is no reason to buy groceries."

    Gaining experience with relationships is the basis of any social success. It is considered necessary in any business education to conduct some business relationships. Similarly, people who have experienced romantic relationships will have a better idea of what they want, and what they don't. Instead of being blind to an unhealthy or abusive relationship, they will know to avoid them; through observing their friends and sometimes themselves entering these relationships.


    I know from watching my sister grow up that it can be hard to let a girl make social mistakes; but if they never try, they will not know what they're doing.
    Maybe your marriage (if it is intact or indeed ever happened) worked out, but many do not; and a lot of the time it is because people don't know what they need.

    I personally think that this is ill-advised, and I worry for your daughters; please examine this decision again to make sure that you're doing the right thing.

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