Dating, as a rule, is prohibited in the Miller Household. Boy/girl group outings are permitted and open communication is encouraged. We are willing to listen and perhaps adapt for extenuating circumstances. For instance, prom attendance is allowed with a date, but not until junior year of high school. I realize that to some, our perspective may seem antiqued. But I pose the question, particularly to Christian families, why do we allow our teenagers to date?
My husband and I decided early in our marriage that our children would not participate in cyclic dating. Having experienced dating heartbreaks in our teenage years, our first thoughts were motivated by a desire to protect our children from that devastation. From the time our children were small, we talked to them about dating and why we felt it was not a good idea. Of course a ten year old who is fine with the concept may not be so accommodating once they enter the teen years. I will not pretend that navigating the teen years with this rule in place has been easy, there have been some tears shed, both by us and our children. However, just because life gets uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean we should stray from our values to adopt something more user friendly.
One child has had a bit more difficulty than the other two. During an emotional discussion, the frustrated child said, “You guys are the only parents who don’t allow dating, even my Christian friends can date.” We gently reiterated our perspective and pointed out that modern dating is not found anywhere in the Bible. This child quickly grabbed a student Bible, opened to the concordance and pointed out a section entitled, “Dating”. Unfortunately, this child had never bothered to look up the scriptures or he/she would have discovered that none of the scriptures actually mentioned dating at all. Apparently neither did the misguided editor. But, the statement caught my attention. Sadly, the child was right, his/her Christian friends date, and I have to wonder why that is. Why do we seem to be the only parents with this perspective?
In the Bible marriages were arranged by families. I do not necessarily believe we should adopt that practice, but we should be involved in our children’s opposite sex relationships. What does dating teach our children? That breaking up/divorce is the answer when difficult situations arise? That physical attraction rather than friendship is the framework a relationship is built on? That casual sex with multiple partners is acceptable? I do not see where modern dating teaches our children anything of value. Don’t think me naïve either. I am well aware that children sneak around and do things they ought not when they think we aren’t looking. Fortunately though, the Holy Spirit is a tattletale and whispers gently to us when our children go astray.
I do not claim to have all the answers on this subject nor do I presume to cast judgment on those with a different perspective. My sole motivation here is to ask the question, “Why do we allow our children to date?”