What we have is a youth culture with far too many liberties and not nearly enough parental involvement and boundaries. Perhaps the best way to help corral your ideas on what to do about your child’s interaction with the opposite sex is to write out your family’s dating policy. Will you allow them to date another person exclusively? Too many parents today allow their children to develop exclusive guy-girl relationships at 13 or 14 because that’s what everyone else does. They can’t go out in a car alone.” But the pattern of romance and emotional involvement gets established.

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And that, in turn, results in a number of problems: We think it's time for parents to take a long, hard look at the dating game.

There's no doubt that adolescents need to begin learning how to relate to the opposite sex.

But that doesn't mean we need to let them follow the same path we did when we were young. The truth is that we didn't have our convictions in place when dating caught us by surprise as our oldest daughter, Ashley, turned twelve. We didn't want our daughter starting a dating career at age twelve. So we talked with her and had several healthy discussions.

Like so many parents, we thought we had plenty of time to talk about this—later. But it occurred around something Ashley was already experiencing. Four Guidelines In forming our own convictions as parents about dating, it’s not good enough for us to just back off a step or two from what the world says is acceptable.

But then Ashley took a walk with a boy at a Christian conference to go get a Coke. It would have been much better if we had discussed these issues with her prior to her encounter with the young man. We believe there are four convictions regarding dating that all parents should consider and uphold: Because our culture tells parents to stay out of the dating lives of our teenagers, we realize this may not be an easy conviction to embrace.

We’re told that our teens are old enough to begin making their own decisions, that parents who do get involved are old-fashioned, intrusive, and “patriarchal.” To us, it seems, very few parents of teens are involved enough in their children’s dating relationships.

That’s why you need to be involved—because other parents aren’t!

When they first talk, incredible sparks fly between them, and they resolve to meet again.

Over the next few days, they spend more and more time together.