This question has presented itself over and over in recent years as Kevin and I are raising our three daughters. When our girls were younger we noticed many people; people whom we looked up to, had taken the approach of no dating in high school. When our girls were little we thought – Yes! that is the best answer, but we quickly observed that this might not be the approach we really wanted to stick with.
As we began to experience the beginning of crushes that were turning into something a little more, we began with the whole – “You’re not dating till you’re out of high school” route. Then we got caught up in a situation of sneaking behind mom and dad’s back to try things out anyway. This caused us to really rethink our approach; was this really the way we wanted to go? If we didn’t help our girls through their first experiences with boys – how would they learn how God wanted them to interact with them and eventually with their future husbands?
Did we really want to send them off to college never experiencing how to properly date? Or how to handle themselves if they were in a bad situation? What about understanding the importance of setting up guidelines and the reasons behind them?
Why wouldn’t I want to walk beside my daughter in her beginning searches for the man she was going to marry. Why wouldn’t I want to be close at hand to observe her interactions, to lend an encouraging or discouraging ear – as in maybe I see something that maybe she can’t about the young man she is giving her time, energy and possibly her heart to?
I don’t know about you, but I want my girls to have the best times finding the guys God intends them to be married to – with NO regrets. The only way I know how to do this is to walk beside them on this journey, not behind them hoping they know how to do it God’s way and not the world’s way.
Dating – does that mean letting them go off and do whatever they want, when they want? Not in our book!! We have several guidelines for our daughters as they begin exploring deeper friendships with boys – several that help weed out the creepers from the keepers.
In thinking about our guidelines, it’s interesting because some are set in stone and others vary depending on the daughter, her age and level of interest.
Here are a few that are set in stone…
The boy must ask and receive permission from dad to begin calling and even then it’s with a time limit and must be within hearing distance of others – no closed doors.
Dates are always with family – at least mom and dad, but usually a family dinner and game or movie night. These might also include his family and ours getting together. Having everyone in the family participate in the ‘dating event’ allows for more observation and feedback.
NO physical contact – if you want to hold our daughter’s hand -, you must ask permission from dad – who has said “Don’t even bother to ask until you graduate!”
Some of you may be thinking – Wow! those are pretty strict and what guys are going to want to date your daughters? Well, ones that think she’s worth the respect these guidelines uphold. Or I guess you could ask the guys they are dating or even engaged too and see what they say?
We place these and other guidelines in our daughter’s’ lives in hopes they will live a life that honors the God they worship and serve; that they eventually enter into a Holy, God honoring marriage with no regrets!
There is so much more I could share on this subject and will at a later date, but my hope is this small insight into why we allow our daughters to date in high school might be helpful to you.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.