The hard preparation will be worthy of a celebration. Don't: Put your teen's dates through the third degree. Don't: Call your teen three times during the date to check up. Don't: Grill your teen with a 1,000 questions about the evening. Do: Know exactly where your teen will be during the evening. Do: Host game nights, dinners, and after-church activities to get to know your teen's date. Don't: Force your teen to join a convent after a bad dating experience. When a teen starts to date, a parent's prayer life doubles.As the first date approaches, discuss specific guidelines your family will honor. Do: Establish a general curfew for weekends and school nights. Don't: Insist that every date take place in your living room with you and your spouse. Dating is a completely new phase of life that must be learned. Trust God to protect your child and your influence in her life.Do: Pray with your teen before the date arrives, if possible. Years of guiding your teen spiritually, emotionally, and relationally will pay off in the dating season.In your teen's world, getting "asked out" may mean cementing an exclusive relationship after weeks of "talking" online, texting, or Facebooking.Teenagers still flirt, date, and fall in love - but with a whole new set of rules.Long before the first date, teach your child about dating.In the early preteen years, help her to build a godly foundation for relationships. When your preteen seeks God, the world of dating (and your role as a parent) is a lot less stressful.You can't totally shield her from destructive dating images. After you've created a dating foundation, proceed to discussions about relationships. Sometimes it's hard for parents to know when to hold fast and when to relax the rules.
Thankfully, God is still stronger than the world, and He wants to protect your teen in the midst of temptation.Good news: Your teenager can maintain healthy, God-honoring relationships. You have the power to redefine dating for your teenager, using strategies that can help you and your teen to navigate relational waters.