If you have children, the time will come when they are ready for dating. This time will vary from family to family but even if your teen does not date until he or she leaves home, it’s your job as the parent to prepare them for when dating does happen. Yet many parents are just not sure how they are supposed to go about this.

There is a great deal of pressure on young people today. They have pressure from peers, from the media and Christian teens also have pressure from their church, their parents or their religious beliefs. It can be very difficult for a young person to face these challenges alone. This is why as a parent, you can teach your teen the right way and then give her the tools needed to make the right decisions when the time comes.

Define What Dating is

A good first step is to take some time to define what dating is. You should talk to your teen about what you consider dating to be and ask for his opinion on what dating is. Then you should take some time to discuss what peers and the media call dating. Explain how as a Christian, you may not feel the same way that non-Christians do about dating and discuss these differences.

Dating within the same faith is always preferred because the end goal is that your teen will end up marrying someone from this group and marriages where people share the same faith usually perform much better because the couple will agree on these very important issues and points.

Set the Rules

God created us to live with others and be peaceful and happy. When we follow God’s plan for us, this is easy to achieve. When we ignore the guidelines He sets forth for us, we can cause pain for ourselves and others. Parents get to set the rules for when teens get to date and what is allowed on a date.

What many teens do not understand is that dating does not have to be romantic or sexual in nature. This is an opportunity to get to know more people so you can determine who you might be compatible with. Group dating is a great way to do this. Sometimes teens have a knack for meeting one person and thinking that is the only person for them. When dating solo and spending all their time with this one person, they believe they are right for one another and may never give other more suitable dates a chance.

Determine when your teen can date and under what conditions. Also take time to set rules on acceptable dating venues. Where can they go? Must an adult be present? These are all things to work out before dating time comes.

Talk about Boundaries

You should spend some time talking with your teen about boundaries. What is ok and what is not ok on a date or when alone with a member of the opposite sex? Your teen needs to know the boundaries and be comfortable with them as well as comfortable saying no if someone tries to cross those boundaries.

You should also be sure your teen has an emergency plan should things go wrong on a date. Talk about safety like date rape, drugs and alcohol and other issues. Never assume that just because he or she is going out with other Christians they are safe and these things won’t happen. While they are typically less likely to happen, the sad truth of the matter is that they can still happen.

Understanding Maturity

In addition to all of these practical tips, another way to prepare your Christian teen for dating is to understand their maturity. Some young people are ready sooner and understand these more easily. Others need more time. Dating should be based on age as well as maturity of the teen. You also need to talk to your teen about the maturity of others she is hanging out with. Everyone might not be on the same page and what one friend is ready for, another might not be. Great communication helps with this.

Summing It All Up

God created man to have a desire for woman and to seek the companionship of a woman. He created the bond of marriage and intends for each of us to have this pleasure on earth. However, the Bible says there are certain ways in which this should be done. The purpose of our partnership is to become married and have children. It’s not all about pro-creating, however. It’s also about companionship and having a close friend like no other. In marriage, the other half is literally your partner and should be your partner in all areas of life and spirituality.

But in order to find that spouse, you often need to date. With these guidelines, you can help prepare your teen for dating and the difficult decisions she might have to make along the way to maintain her purity and find Mr. Right.