T-Minus 2 “Relationship Management”


In the previous months we have discussed the topic of dating in great detail.  As we look at our final checklist for launching our children into adulthood this area needs to be addressed again.  There are several issues with dating that can come up for the college student if they have not been trained how to process through them before hand.

We need to help our kids learn how to properly balance relationships.   Some teens really struggle with the concept that relationships are only one aspect of their lives.   When they become all consumed by a relationship the other areas of their lives begin to suffer.  If teens do not learn how to balance relationships  there can be drastic consequences as adults.

A second area that we need to help our kids with before they leave our home is knowing boundaries with the opposite sex.  Again like we have talked about in great detail in past months, the consequences for casual sex in today’s culture can be devastating.   Because of this we need to spend lots of time with our kids on this area so that by the time they leave our house they are well prepared.

T-Minus 2 “Relationship Management”2010-07-29T21:07:43-04:00

Sticking to the Plan


Yesterday we discussed the importance keeping the lines of communication with your teen open.  One of the things to discuss with your teen is the importance of sticking to a plan.   There needs to be a plan in place for who to date, as well as, what to do on a date.

In talking with many teens today it is surprising that many will “go out” with almost anyone who asks.  This is why it is important to have that previously discussed “spouse list”.  A teen can then easily see who fits their criteria.  It is very important to have standards as to who is datable.  Sadly one of those standards is for the basic reason of safety.  Girls especially need to be very careful who they choose to go out with.  The date rape statistics on college campuses is staggering.  We need to be training our teens about safety on dates beginning with who they choose to go out with.

Then regardless of how safe the potential date appears to be on paper, sticking to a plan on a date is something that will help with safety.  Teens need to go into a date with a plan of what will happen.  This is where our four important questions, who, what, where and when, come into play.  Girls need to be asking these questions to the guys they go out with. They also need to have an “escape plan” if the date begins to change.  This is where we as parents need to be a safety net for our teens.  We need to be available for picking them up, even late at night, if the plan changes and they need to come home.  We need to constantly communicate that we are there for them through this process.  WE also need to affirm the fact that our teens a far too special not to be asking the “Who, What, Where and When Questions.” We can communicate, “Honey, if someone invited me to spend an evening socially with them, these are the questions even I would ask.”

Sticking to the Plan2010-05-24T21:54:53-04:00

Creating Open Communication…On Dating


We have mentioned it many times before … communication is an important key to training.  In order for you to be a safe place for your kids to come for accountability, there must be constant communication about the topic of dating.  Many parents are scared to discuss their teen’s relationships because everything looks so different today.  Many parents may also have a hard time getting their teen to open up about this topic.  Especially if you are trying to create this open atmosphere late in the game, it may be difficult.  We must consistently pursue our kids.  This is where the concept of “dating” our children is very helpful.  Going out to eat, coffee, or somewhere that is not your house may help to open the doors of communication in a neutral environment.  One parent with one child…. like on a date.  Setting this time up with your child weekly will help build the communication routine.  If it’s not on the calendar it won’t happen.  Make sure that you don’t go into these times with an “agenda.”  This is a time just to be with and talk to your child. Communication about what is going on will come out with time.  You can’t force it.

Creating Open Communication…On Dating2010-05-24T21:51:48-04:00

Dating By Example


There are many ways parents can lead by example.  Oddly the issue of dating is one of those.  For those parents that are married we can set an example in our own relationships.  Our relationship with our spouse should be something that our children want to copy.  Whether we realize it or not there are always eyes watching how we treat each other.  Ask yourself, “Is our marriage something that would make our children want to be married?”

For those who are single parents, you have an amazing opportunity to lead by example in a difficult area. If you do date, are you doing it the way you want your children to date?  In a way that would honor God? It is an awesome opportunity to open the doors of communication as you journey through this stage with your kids.  This is one of the few areas you can help to hold each other accountable.

Dating By Example2010-05-24T21:49:22-04:00

Importance of a Curfew


Many people have jokingly said that nothing good can happen at such and such an hour of the morning.  Ironically, in many cases that statement is very true.  That is why it is so important to give your child a curfew.  By giving this curfew you set up a boundary, set your child up for accountability and communicate that your child still reports to you even in this area.

It is amazing how many parents either do not give their child a curfew or an unbelievably late curfew.  We need to remember that we are to set our child up for success and not failure.

Start small. Give an early curfew in the beginning so that as your child is successful at meeting the curfew you can make it later.  Also keep in mind that the state has given most teenage drivers a curfew already.

Another benefit for a curfew is that you can wait up to meet your child.  You must be able to do this to help hold your child accountable. This is also a great time to open the doors of communication.  As they are coming off the emotion of the date you can be there to debrief them.  This can really help to set you up as the go to person when they need help or have questions in their relationships.

Importance of a Curfew2010-05-16T20:59:54-04:00

Setting Up Parameters


It can’t be said enough, communication is so important to the success of this dating training.  We can no longer have the one time “birds and the bees” talk with our children and expect to be done.  It must be an open and constant dialog.

Before your child begins the dating process you must help them set up parameters and boundaries for themselves sexually.  You cannot just tell them “no sex before marriage” and expect that to be the end of the conversation.  Help them to understand that their bodies were designed for sex.  They need to set up parameters for themselves so they don’t allow themselves to get into a compromising situation.  Help them set up a list of  “I won’t dos” and a list of “I will dos.”  For instance, “I won’t be alone in a house with someone of the opposite sex.  If this happens, I will immediately call you to come get me.”  Help your teen think through possible compromising situations and how to get out of them if they present themselves.

Another issue to discuss here is dress.  It is very important to discuss with your daughter what they are communicating by how they dress.  Many teenage girls are simply trying to look stylish and have no idea what they are communicating to the males around them.  We as the adults have the responsibility to help our teens process this whole arena before they are thrown into it!

Setting Up Parameters2010-05-16T20:56:15-04:00

A Spouse List


The thought of approaching dating with your child can be overwhelming.  As with so many aspects of parenting, it is important to decide your boundaries ahead of time so you can communicate them with your child.  This is very difficult to communicate if there isn’t any open line of communication with your teen.  Your child needs to feel very comfortable talking to you as a parent about this topic because you will be holding them accountable.  Open lines of communication often means getting duct tape and taping your own moth closed.  Let them talk.  Don’t cut them off in mid sentence.  Find topics to discuss and even read together about this topic.

One of the steps for preparation that will help open the doors of communication is to help your child create and discuss a spouse list.  Do this as early as 12 or 13, because it will begin to open up dialog.  A spouse list communicates the reason behind dating, to find a spouse, and begins to communicate that this is not something to be taken lightly.

You can sit down with your child, or go out to dinner, and help them create a list of things that they want in the person they marry.   They will probably be superficial but that is where you can help to guide your child to think through important characteristics.  You can have your child number them in order of importance and highlight the things that they will not bend on.  It is a good idea to get the list out regularly and help your child keep revamping it as they mature.

As your child begins to date you can help them hold up their boyfriends/girlfriends to this list to see if they measure up.  This helps your child set standards for themselves and hold themselves to these standards.

A Spouse List2010-05-16T20:51:34-04:00

Dating Today


Dating today doesn’t look at all like it did when we were teens.  On some levels it appears very casual and on others very serious.  The communication age has allowed for people in relationships to be in constant communication.  This communication however, tends to be brief snippets through texting and IM.  This means it is actually more difficult to truly get to know someone.

However, even in this casual, distance relationship era, sexual activity is rampant and very casual.  “Hooking up” sexually is something that can happen for just a day with no relationship “necessary”.  Casual sex is something that is pushed by media, schools and peers.  This is why it is so important that we as parents get involved in this area of our kids lives.  We have to help guide their decisions and be constantly aware of what is going on in this area.  The destructive pattern of today’s teen dating can have emotional, physical and spiritual consequences.   We absolutely must help our teens by discussing standards We also need to help them think through boundaries before they have to make those boundary decisions.  Have discussions about the “what if this were to happen” scenarios. The next few days will be spent discussing how to set up standards and boundaries with your child.

Dating Today2010-05-16T20:46:37-04:00



For the next two weeks we will be discussing dating.  There are some today who do not agree with allowing your teenager to “date”. For our purposes we would like to define what we mean by dating.  Dating should never be a “casual” activity.  When it is approached as so, it can lead to hurt and heartache on many levels.  People tend to marry a person that they date, for this reason, dating needs to be taken seriously.  With this being the case, we need to be training our children so they are prepared to date.

When the proper training and boundaries are in place for the dating process there is also an opportunity for your teen’s personal growth.   You would never allow a sixteen year old first time driver to get behind the wheel of a car and drive across the country.  Dating needs to be trained for and treated the same way.  There are many steps that need to be made ahead of time.  Like we have said before, you don’t want your child stepping out onto a college campus not having had this preparation!