Teenage Dating Should Not Be Taken Lightly
by Dan Blankenship
We’ve all heard the expression hindsight is 20/20. Well I would like to take that a step further and say that hindsight can actually be X-ray vision. It was not until a few years after I entered the workforce that I realized how badly I squandered away my high school education. It’s not that I didn’t graduate; I did that. But I never took my primary education seriously, mostly because I had another topic on my mind – girls. In my case, the only subject I wanted an A in was Dating-101. I would advise current and future students to not follow my example.
Now I am sure there are some who just read my first paragraph and have labeled me a prude, but I challenge readers to give me a few more lines to state my case.
I doubt many would argue with the fact that dating in high school (not to mention some children who are allowed to date in middle school) is a serious topic, worthy of serious discussion, yet I just don’t see the topic being talked about. Or should I say, I don’t see the subject being discussed in a matter that seriously addresses the option of not dating during a child’s most important educational years. The parents and teenagers I’ve talked to rarely consider the option of no dating as a serious possibility. It seems no one wants to talk about the fact that dating can be an emotional roller-coaster ride, often leading to more stress and discouragement for students already burdened by an ever-increasing workload.
Can anyone deny that there are parents who spend more time deciding which cell phone plan to purchase than whether or not they should support their child’s resolution to be a dating student?
Just before I started writing this column, I performed a Google search under “teenage dating”. The first two sites that popped up were one concerning “dating horror stories” and one talking about “teen date violence”. A Google search of “cell phones” turned up no such negative results.
Today’s parents, as with yesterday’s parents, are too busy to research the facts concerning teenage dating. Yet, we are not too busy to check out all of the facts about the cars we are considering purchasing. We are not too busy to examine all of the features our new widescreen televisions. Can we afford to be lax when discussing (or not discussing) the dangers of dating with our children. Not only can teenage dating distract a student from maintaining an acceptable GPA, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association, “almost 1 in 5 female high-school students said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence in a dating relationship.” (1)
I believe most parents and students would not get on an airplane if there were statistics showing 1 in 5 airplanes were destined to hit major turbulence and thrash the passengers about like rag dolls. Are we doing any better when we ignore the facts concerning dating?
We have laws that limit the age a person can drive a car, vote, and drink a beer, yet we allow children (at just about any age) to put themselves into relationships that can result in irreparable damage to their academic, physical, and emotional well-being. Even children who manage to date and avoid the dangerous statistics need to realize what could happen in a relationship.
For me, dating in school was something I was not mature enough to deal with. I learned my lesson after the damage was done. It is my sincere hope that this column starts some real discussion on the issue of teen dating.
(1) Silverman, J.G., Raj, A., Mucci, L.A., & Hathaway, J.E. 2001. Dating violence against adolescent girls and associated substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidality. Journal of the American Medical Association, 286, 572-579.
Read more articles by Dan Blankenship or search for articles on the same topic or others.
This article was very instructive to me as teenager.....may the lord Jesus give you more wisdom and insight as a writer Amen!...
As a teenager, i grew up wiv the mentality that dating @ this age was necessary because it serves as a form of practise for marriage...(reaaly dumb mentality right)...but i thank God for people like you,and my mum...i'll appreciate this....n would love to get more of instructive articles like this on teenage dating...
This is a very good article, and seems very well written. I can give you more reasons why parents should not allow teens to date during the Jr. high & high school years besides grades and date violence. What about the younger they are the more likely that they have sex outside of marriage, and also the more likely to have an unexpected, unintended pregnancy. I have been told that statistics show that if they start dating at 13 or 14 that they are very likely, at 16 they are somewhat likely, but if they weight until they are 18 that statistics show they almost always weight until they are married. I wish I could remember where I received the information from, and the exact statistics. But I don't remember.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience so that others may take heed and benefit! I am a mother of teenage daughters, encouraging them to put off dating until they are older. I will share your article with them.
It is a serious topic and I believe it's time to broach the subject, I can't believe that some parents would allow their pre-teens to begin dating. It's important to examine the consequences of dating without being informed and brought up on sound Godly principals.
I haven't had the chance to be on Faith Writer's for a while. Just checking out articles, and I wanted to comment on this one.
Very nicely written. And so true! Most teens take dating way too seriously. They seem to confuse "true love" with infatuation. I hope many teens read this.
Job well done, point taken. Hope to read more of your work soon.
You are so right! When my daughter was still preteen, I was fortunate enough to have a friend loan me a copy of Joshua Harris' book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye." It was such a novel concept for me, and initially I thought way too extreme. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. He gives the analogy of a fellow showing up at the wedding altar ready to take his vows when an old girlfriend and then another come and stand with him. The basic idea was that he had given pieces of his heart away that could never be retrieved, and then could not present his bride with a complete heart. (I hope I am doing justice to this summary!) What can be done with a "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" that you can't do with just a group of friends except for the hormone rush that accompanies those arrangements? My daughter ended up reading the book, committed herself to waiting till she was old enough to look for a spouse before dating, and ended up marrying the first and only love of her life. No messy heartbreaks, no complications, and so much easier on my husband and I! Perhaps being faithful to your spouse means starting living faithfully ahead of time!
You have mentioned some good food for thought here Dan. It is nice to see you are bold to speak out on this issue. I agree, dating should not be taken lightly. Having four grown children where three out of four are married, I understand how I should have been more strict in my rules and other areas where open communication, wisdom and prayer helped my third child wait until she was married (mind you she dated for over six years before marrying)before being physically intimate with her spouse, and he waited for her because of their commitment to God and to eachother as well as the rules that governed their relationship.
I do hope teens reading this posting think about why a grown adult who is no their parent, cares enough to send warnings about dating. Nice read!
I like your persuasive tone, and it is a very convincing essay. I'd love to have you do some research and follow-up with this on the topic of group dating. Also, a break-out of why it is important to receive a good education would be good as well. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Very good points you made. I'm a 15 year old girl... and personally I've decided not to date before I'm ready for marriage. Am very thankful for Christian parents who've definitely done a big part in influencing me to make that decision.
Interesting article. I aslo would like to hear more concerning this topic as well as other areas concerning a youth generation headed for trouble if they are not careful. In the mean time Parents should pray.
I'm a fourteen year-old-girl just starting to see all my friends fall into the dating trap. Fortunatly, my parents have always been present in my life, talking about everything with me. They were proactive and made me write a list of standards and convictions for my life for my thirteenth birthday. I'm so glad they care that much.
Very well written article, Brother. I pray the readers take heed. With my own 15 yr old son in high school, I pray for guidance and divine intervention so that I might know how to do and say the right things to keep him focused through these very fragile years. Thank you so much for sharing with us. In His blessed embrace, Treava