Christian Family and Dating
As adolescents grow, they finally begin to notice the opposite sex. As parents and Christian Counselors, we should not shun this natural progression of life, but we must guide it. It must be nurtured and kept within the natural limits of God’s plan or it will become overcome with lust and distorted by the evil one. In this regard, Christian dating is essential to preserving purity and taming lust. Religious counseling is very important during these teen years.
Christian Spiritual Counseling should avoid extremes in this natural curiosity of the other gender. Sex should not be
painted as evil but it should not be illustrated either as a viable option before marriage. A strong moral theology should be taught to children in the pre-adolescent years that avoids vivid detail but simultaneously presents a sacred view of sex, marriage and the other gender. Unfortunately, modern society is very counter-productive to the good work of parents via television, internet and movies. The occasion of sin is strong and parents must be as vigilant as ever. It is during these formative years that children need to be not only taught about morality but also must be shielded from impure influences. Parents should not allow their children to become to comfortable with the other sex in play and visits. Natural barriers of awkwardness between boys and girls are good things especially prior to the explosion of hormones during puberty.
During the early stages of one’s teen, parents should allow more freedom but only at a limited basis. If your child is between 13 and 16, interaction with the other sex should be limited to group functions and supervised studying only. It is also extremely important to become aware of who are the friends at these functions. Parents should also monitor dress as to avoid impurities of mind when their children attend these events. Finally, a parent should be on the looking out for the signs of smoking, drugs and alcohol.
During the later years of High school, parents should relinquish some of the chains and pray that their moral teachings have given root. This does not mean that full freedom should be granted but 17 to 18 yr olds should be permitted to date alone without supervision. While this is debated, I feel one needs to eventually trust a young adult. However, time frames and rules should be laid down that require prohibitions on drinking, hours beyond midnight and checking in times.
For adults beyond the parental reins one should consider a few things for choosing a mate. While many people focus first on physical looks and financial means, the most important element that sustains the relationship is faith. If dating is only leading one towards sexual occasions of sins, then maybe the person should consider a new relationship with another person that may bear good fruits. This is not to dismiss physical attraction and falling in love but in one’s early adult phase, it is only to easy to become acquainted with multiple “friends” and become sexually promiscuous.
Christian Counseling can only lay the seeds for pure relations. As a parent we can control much in the formative years but not everything. Ultimately it is the hope and goal that our children are raised with the faith and have the morals to make good decisions in the later teens and early twenties that will last them a life time. This is the goal of any Christian Counselor or parent when it comes to dating and the eventual consummation of dating into marriage.
If you are interested in the Online Christian Counseling Certification Program, please review it.
By Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C