He had prayed for an opportunity to talk to her alone—without her three brothers around. “Oh, okay,” Julie replied, in cryptic teenage fashion. “Have you thought through how far you are going to go, physically, with the opposite sex? They wanted to encourage her to make the right ones. He knew his wife always got the mail, but Julie was acting like a basketball team ahead by one point in the fourth quarter, hoping the clock would run out. Our teens do not go out on a date every Friday and Saturday night.She looked nonchalantly out her window as their car crossed a small bridge. “I would like to ask you a very personal question and give you the freedom not to answer if you don’t want to.” He paused, waiting for her reply. Our junior high and high school age teens don’t date anyone exclusively.He smiled as he thought about all those after-school trips over the last few years: dance classes, piano practices, the unending cycle of softball games and tournaments.
These parents are involved in their children’s lives, seeking to protect their innocence and purity for marriage.That’s why it’s so important for our teens to wait to date.Spiritual and emotional maturity can only come with time.“Your mom and I just want to make sure you know what you stand for as you get old enough to date. We’re trying to train them to protect their emotions and not to send romantic signals to boys.And when a young man sends romantic signals to one of our daughters, we’ve talked with him and tried to keep the relationship on a friendship level.Usually Bill and his daughter made small talk on their brief ride home. Bill was concerned about the growing emotional distance between them. for now.” A tense silence filled the car as it eased forward and stopped in the driveway.* Bill is definitely a courageous dad, pressing into a relational hot spot where most parents fear to tread.Sure, he knew this gap was normal for teenagers and their parents. “Okay,” he replied, “I’ll take that for an answer . Although it’s uncomfortable, he’s definitely on the right track.It’s not that our teens were not interested in dates beyond a friendship, but we had talked through the few pros and the many cons of exclusive dating enough that they felt changing the relationship from friendship to romance might ruin the friendship.Our teenagers would all say that their prom dates were a lot of fun. Many of the parents were involved with before-dance dinners, chaperoning the dance, and hosting after-dance activities at homes or rented facilities.Bill smiled and probed: “You know, your mom and I have been talking about you and all those boys who call on the phone.” Julie squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. Instead, we are encouraging our girls who are still home to focus on the friendship side of their relationships with boys.Realizing now where this conversation was headed, she rolled her eyes. When our girls do spend time with a boy, it’s in a group, not one on one.