The ideal time for discussing these issues is before your daughter even begins dating, but even if it is too late for that, these conversations are worth having. Here are some ideas to get you started. Talk with your daughter about what the make-or-break character traits in a man are so that she can accurately assess potential boyfriends—and eventually a potential spouse.
I believe both Mom and Dad will have distinct ideas in this area; so input from both parents will be invaluable. My wife and I have tried to teach our daughters that in order for a boy to be worthy of their interest, he must have certain character traits. Even as I was trying to stop Jackie from dating, it was my hope that when she did start to date she would have strong standards for a boy. In the years since, I have asked my daughters what they are looking for in a boy and to write up a list. There is, of course, no guarantee that our kids will take our advice into account.
But even so, I think that encouraging teens to think about the qualities they are looking for in a date and to write down their answers will also help them think more logically about the people they get involved with romantically. They usually ask me what I am looking for in a guy I want to date and what I am looking for in a husband—and then make some of their own suggestions.
You might prime the pump by asking your daughter questions such as: What qualities does your dream guy have? Is he a Christian? What would you like his family structure to look like? How does he treat his family? Would you be happy if he had been in lots of relationships before? What are the three most important personality traits that you think he needs to have? What kinds of school activities do you want him to be involved in?
Does he get good grades? Then, encourage her to measure every potential suitor by her list. This will help her suss out what she is looking for. When I am interested in a guy, my parents ask me these same sets of questions to help make sure that the choice I am making is a smart one.
For my oldest sister this same type of moment came early in her relationship with her future husband. While they were driving down the freeway during a terrible ice storm, a car in front of them lost control and crashed. In that moment her boyfriend was unfazed. In that moment he acted with strength and unflappability and his character confirmed this was a fella for her.
They have been married for thirty-four years. Our daughters need to hear us tell them over and over not to spend one more minute, emotion, or tear on a boy who demonstrates that he is not worthy of their love. How do you guide her to date smart then? Like so many dilemmas in parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
However, unless she has brought home a boy who is an immediate and serious threat to her, you may need to let the situation play out a bit. Be wary of taking a hard-line approach.
Help, My Teen Wants to Date!
To a certain degree your daughter cannot help what she is feeling. You may not be happy with her choice, but the more you push against her, the more she may lean into the boyfriend. Instead, I recommend that you closely monitor the relationship and be ready to take drastic action if it is needed. You and your daughter should be conversant with the terms lust , attraction , and attachment. As parents we need to remember that if a girl has been in a relationship for just a few months, her feelings for her boyfriend are likely the strongest emotions she has ever felt in her life. If she does not know the difference between attraction and attachment , she is likely to begin making choices and actions based on the idea that she is in love.
Help her understand what real love is, and that sacrifice not stupid sacrifice is very much the heart of love.
Help Your Teen Daughter Get Smart About Dating
If your daughter is in a relationship, she should ask herself a few questions: Does he open doors for me? Does he ask me my preference on dates? Is he willing to make time for me even though he may have a busy schedule? Does he often put my needs ahead of his own? These are all ways in which a teen boy can demonstrate a willingness to be sacrificial. From the earliest stages of a relationship, our daughters need to know that if a boy is not sacrificial toward her, then he is not worthy of her.
Too many young girls stick around with jerky, selfish boys because they do not understand that attraction and attachment are different. That's not as true today in America as it once was," Piper said.
Is it OK for Christian teenagers to start dating or should they wait until they are older?
He noted that many people in his generation typically married at a much younger age and that his own parents were 19 and 20 when they were wed. But he knows many people in his generation who also advise not pairing off in dating relationships while in high school. Even if godly people you know married early, dating early is not necessarily a good idea, he said.
And the Bible is clear that sexual relations are for the marriage covenant, he added, referencing the Apostle Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7: This perspective stands in stark contrast to our modern, media-saturated society where the prevailing sexual ethic is that sex outside of marriage is fine as long as it's consensual. Sexual desire, "one of the most powerful forces in human life is the awakening of a peculiar happiness and desire that comes from being liked by a person of the opposite sex," the theologian explained.
It's as if every switch on the mainframe of their moral life gets turned off while one massive desire button is alive and well. While "dating" is the current term — in Piper's day it was "going steady" — he thinks it is important questions like "What is dating? When teenagers date and do things together a feeling of "specialness" arises in the relationship which usually precipitates a sequence of events that leads to engagement and then marriage.