Navigating through the dating years well starts with cultivating a relationship that’s open and honest.
It’s not about having the perfect answers or all the right rules in place.
Do you find yourself dreading that stage with your middle schooler? It’s a touchy subject and one that most moms struggle to navigate through with grace and consistency.
Yet I fully believe it doesn’t have to be that way.
We talked about dating “on our way,” much like how it’s described to teach the principles of Scripture in Deuteronomy 6.
The goal was to get my daughter thinking long-term, base on her maturity level at the moment, as I asked her questions like these: By the close of her ninth grade, the season of “dating” was becoming something of a reality for her peer group — which is late compared to some of the girls I’ve mentored.
In the months that followed, our daughter took us up on our policy and brought home Mr. In the weeks to follow, he spent more and more time with us, and their longing to date increased as their friendship developed.
When my oldest approached middle school, I’d began to talk with her about what to look for in a guy, especially in a future husband and how to prepare herself for that time.
I’d bring up Ephesians 5 — looking at the attributes of a godly husband and wife, and considered how that might manifest in a teen guy and what she might ought to focus on more purposefully in her own development.
It’s about coming alongside your tween and teen with questions that enable them to take ownership in the process so that you make the dating decisions together.
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And so, my husband and I tossed a new expectation into the dialogue, which is what I call “our dating policy”: After 15 plus years of working with teenagers, we realized that dating isn’t about being a certain age or in a certain grade.
Rather the “right time” depends upon a child’s personality, their willingness to be open to parental (and other adult) accountability, and whether they are in a place of maturity that’s necessary for ups and downs dating.