Dating…Barnes and Noble could stock themselves fully just with all the relationship guidebooks that deal with ‘Dating’.
Parents and Teens alike have endless advice from James Dobson, Gary Smalley, Josh Harris…and the list could go on forever.
Yet, the idea of dating remains an uncomfortable or controversial topic for so many families.
Let me offer these observations and recommendations from living in the MySpace World your teenager lives in:
1) Embarrassment is the fast track to future problems. I have watched on too many occasions parents come down on their teenagers in public(in front of their friends, youth leaders teachers etc.), hoping the public ridicule would promote better behavior. It does the exact opposite. The most fragile component to your teen is their perceived public image. You wouldn’t fix the engine miss fire in your ’62 mint condition Corvette by scrapping the hood with a screw driver – it would only damage, not repair.
2) Time well spent is the best investment you can make. Recently I was counseling one of the Godliest teenage girls I have ever known regarding her relationship with her parents. I distinctly remember these powerful words: “I just don’t see why I have to do what he(Dad) says when he is NEVER here.” SHE wanted more than all the money in the universe to spend time with her father. I was FAR from perfect as a teenager, but I was inclined to respect and obey my father, not because he was cool, but because he spent time with me.
3) Get rid of the blankets. Unique children require unique understanding. It is important to treat all kids equally, but never all kids the same. No two brothers could have ever been more different than Jess and me. Dad and Mom needed different approaches to get us to the same goal. Jess could watch Old Yeller 3 times in a day, I couldn’t get through 1 cartoon without needing some other entertainment. I hate Math, Jess doesn’t need a calculator until the fifth digit or so. The point is we are different, so one blanket parental plan didn’t work. Be creative, for their sake.
* The is the first installment of a series on Parent Sources on relationships.