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Flashback: Teen Dating Dos and Don'ts

Flashback: Teen Dating Dos and Don'ts


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Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Your Kids an Allowance

What are the most important do’s and don’ts when it comes to giving your kids an allowance?

Communicate Clear Expectations for Spending, Saving, and Giving

It’s important to communicate clear expectations for what your kids are supposed to do with their allowance. Experts agree that if you want to teach your kids about the value of money and also encourage them to become caring human beings then require them to divide the allowance into three parts: spending, saving, and giving. “This is an excellent way to expose them to the three most important things they can do with their money,” says personal finance expert Brad Munson, “and it’s a lesson that can last a lifetime.”

Come to a mutual agreement about how much money they are allowed to spend, how much they are supposed to save, and find a charity that they truly care about. As Susan Borowski, the author of “Money Crashers” puts it, having kids “choose the charity of their choice will make them more likely to set aside the money. Just like we give to charities that matter to us, children also need to give to a charity that matters to them, or they won’t be motivated to do it.”

Use The Allowance To Inspire Regular Conversations About Money Management

Think of the allowance not primarily as a means of making money available to your kids, but rather as a way to inspire regular conversations with them about money management. Kimberly Palmer, the author of “Smart Mom, Rich Mom,” says to “worry less about how much you give than that you use the allowance as a chance to talk to your children about money.” “The whole point,” says Mrs. Palmer, “is to get them used to handling and talking about money so it’s not so much the amount as the conversation around it” that matters.” Personal finance expert Neale Godfrey, the author of more than two dozen books on financial literary, puts it well: “Talking to your kids about allowance and money is just as important as giving it.” Mr. Godfrey is right: research shows that the more kids discuss money management with their parents as they grow up, the better they become at managing their own finances as adults.

Be Consistent – But Regularly Review Your Allowance Policies

However you decide that your kids should allocate their allowance, be consistent about your allowance policies and only change them if you have very good reasons to do so, like if you simply can’t afford the current amount or your kids are not spending it in the agreed-upon ways. As child psychologist Dr. Mary Kelly Blakeslee says, “nothing bothers kids more than unfairness. If you change the rules without a good reason, you’re reneging on a contract. While children need to learn that life isn’t always fair, you can still respect your children’s feelings by explaining why you have to decrease their allowance or postpone payment and let them know you can understand their annoyance or disappointment” Mr. Munson agrees: Consistency “builds trust, reduces bargaining, and encourages planning for the future.”

Don’t Use The Allowance As Punishment Or Reward

An allowance should be used to teach kids money management and not as punishment or reward. An allowance, says Mr. Munson, “is supposed to develop greater trust and better communication and cooperation, so using it as an unexpected disciplinary tool will just make you look cruel and arbitrary in the eyes of your children (no matter how much they might seem to deserve it). Find another way to make your point while living up to the original bargain.” Financial planner Nevin Martell agrees: Using money “as a yo-yo – ‘I don’t like this or I don’t like that, so I’m going to cut your allowance’ – is not going to help them form a healthy relationship with money.”

Similarly, don’t use the allowance to reward your kids for unrelated accomplishments. “Giving your kids money as a reward,” says certified financial planner Joseph Hogue, “establishes the mentality that you only need to do things if you’re getting paid.” Instead, suggests Mr. Hogue, “let them pick the family outing for the week or just tell them how proud you are of their accomplishment.”

Don’t Tie The Allowance To The Performance Of Regular Household Chores

Finally, don’t tie the allowance to regular household chores. Doing so is wrong for several reasons: 1) it defeats the very idea that being part of a family entails that one has certain responsibilities, 2) it encourages your kids to bargain every time you ask them to do something around the house, and 3) your kids may even stop doing their chores once they feel they have enough money.

Experts say to only offer your kids extra money for tasks you otherwise would have paid someone else to do like, say, mowing the lawn or painting the house. Mr. Godfrey suggests that parents carefully distinguish between what he calls “”citizen-of-the-household chores,” for which they shouldn’t get paid, and “work-for-pay chores,” for which it makes sense to give them some extra money.

Editor’s Note: Click here for introspection on why an allowance might help your children learn how to manage their money and gain financial savvy.


Do’s and Don’ts for Dating a Non-Catholic

When I was a senior in high school, I dated a Protestant girl. One unfortunate side effect of this was the occasional fear that dating her was against the rules for some reason. People would make sweeping declarations like “never date a non-Catholic!” So, whenever I clicked on a blog or video about that, I would immediately worry that I was about to find out I was doing something wrong.

So, fear not. This is not one of those articles.

Dating a non-Catholic is not, in fact, against the rules. That said, there are some pitfalls you need to avoid. So, I’d like to give you a list of practical Do’s and Don’ts from what I learned dating a non-Catholic.


Girls Advice to Guys

Dial the digits. If you like a girl in your class you've probably already figured out if you have a chance with her. This is usually done via your friend who talked to her friend who talked to her, etc. If it looks like she's interested, don't leave her hanging. Call her up and ask her out. Unfortunately, it's usually up to you to make the first move. If the girl is way-cool and asks you out first, you lucked out. But if she doesn't, you've got two choices: ask her out or spend the entire year staring at her like a dork and going to movies by yourself.

Keep her interests in mind. Do something that you'll both be comfortable and interested in doing. For example, if you decide to go to a movie, ask her what she's interested in seeing, don't just pick the flick on your own. There has got to be a compromise between a mushy Freddie Prinze Jr. romance and a Steven Seagal blood bath.

Don't diss her. So you had a great time and you really dig this girl, then don't pretend she doesn't exist when you're with your buds or ignore her at school. If you're mature enough to date, you're mature enough to have a conversation with her in public. Even if things don't go as planned, and you decide this chick ain't for you, don't diss her in front of your buds. She's got buds too and you may not get another date with anyone until college.


Dating Do's and Don'ts

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In this chapter we're going to look at the godly way to find a husband or wife. We'll contrast the modern dating culture with godly dating practices. We'll share with you some frank answers about the consequences of premarital sex and popular myths about sex. And finally, we'll share some advice given by people who have committed their lives to godly dating.

God said, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version× ) and that finding a wife is "a good thing" (Proverbs 18:22 Proverbs 18:22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the LORD.
American King James Version× ). The same principle holds true for women who find loving and responsible husbands. Marriage is good for us!

Marriages are not only a basis for happiness, they offer us longer and better-quality lives. They are also the building blocks of communities, societies and, ultimately, civilizations. A society is only as strong as its marriages and families.

The foundation for a good marriage is laid long before the wedding ceremony. It is established when two people begin dating.

Dating: Preparation for marriage

As we grow up, "When can I begin dating?" is a question we commonly ask our parents. Though the Bible gives no specific age when dating is appropriate, wise parents will teach their maturing children sound biblical principles that will help them follow God's standards of behavior.

Parents should determine when their children are ready to date based on their maturity and readiness to accept responsibility for their actions. Before parents allow dating, they should teach and encourage their children to follow biblical standards rather than turning them loose to do whatever comes naturally.

When we first begin dating, it should be for the purpose of social development-that is, learning about the opposite sex and the many differences in human personality, values and temperament. When we have our educations and an established career, we are ready to date more seriously toward marriage.

Of course, even dating for marriage often begins on a social basis of getting to know another person. It then may proceed to the next level if both individuals are prepared and willing. Let's begin with young people who are ready to start dating socially.

Teaching young people God's standards before allowing them to date may sound terribly old-fashioned and restrictive. But look at it this way: Most governments do not allow people to drive automobiles until they demonstrate the knowledge and ability to do so in a safe manner. No responsible parent would put his or her adolescent child in an automobile in the middle of a busy highway without having given that child instruction on how to drive.

Dating in our world is not without its dangers either. Without proper instruction, too many youth become promiscuous, contract sexually transmissible diseases, experience unwanted pregnancies and choose wrong paths that seem enjoyable and okay at the time but lead to untold anguish (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version× Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version× ). Youth need instruction early as to why and how biblical values can protect them from such suffering.

Without this instruction, many young people make mistakes that hinder their potential for having a happy marriage. Loving parents would never wish misery on their children, but leaving them ignorant is a sure path to heartache. A thorough understanding of God's standards for dating and marriage is one of the greatest blessings children can receive from their parents.

Some people, however, are far past that point, having already reached adulthood, married and divorced. Teaching young people proper behavior for dating is obviously ideal. But what about adults? Do the principles change? Because adults are older, does that give them license for more liberties than adolescents may take? Are all things appropriate for consenting adults?

The Bible teaches that God's standards for dating apply to people of all ages. He does not have two sets of guidelines, one for adults and one for youth. Following the biblical laws is important regardless of one's age. And breaking God's laws is disastrous for people of all ages.

Modern standards of dating

To understand the difference between God's way and the world's, consider the dating practices common in Western countries.

Many assume that when people are dating, sexual intercourse is an appropriate demonstration of affection and a way to determine whether they are compatible. They believe that sex is simply a natural expression of love between two people and therefore the normal thing to do when individuals are "going together" or living together in an exclusive relationship. If the couple breaks up and the two start dating others, the common assumption is that they are then free to have sexual relations with their new partners.

This practice of serial monogamy-being sexually active with only one other person at a time-is widely considered to be a suitable way to date and find a future spouse.

In the United States, by the mid-1990s about two thirds of married women in their 20s had lived with their future spouses before getting married (Robert Moeller, "America's Morality Report Card," Christian Reader, November-December 1995, pp. 97-100). This dubious practice is followed by all too many young adults in the Western world. Sadly, most don't know the price they will pay for such conduct.

One of the first penalties of serial monogamy is emotional suffering. The sexual act creates an emotional bond between a man and a woman. When a couple breaks up after having had sexual relations, there is inevitable pain because of the severing of this bond. To ease that pain, the young man and woman typically move quickly to establish a similar relationship with a new partner-repeating the same mistake.

As people move on to one sexual relationship after another, not only do they have to deal with the pain of these broken bonds, they establish the habit of short-term sexual relationships-a way of thinking that is more often than not carried over into marriage. No wonder those who have sex prior to marriage have more divorces than those who don't.

Of course, most of those who have sex prior to marriage say their partners should disclose any sexually transmissible diseases (STDs) before intercourse so appropriate protection can be employed. By using contraceptives to help avoid disease and unwanted pregnancies (something that doesn't always work), couples believe that they are practicing "safe sex." These practices are so widely accepted that many educational systems, from middle school through university level, provide free contraceptives to students, no questions asked.

Although this approach may appear to be logical, it doesn't measure up to God's standards-which when practiced are always safe. The truth is that these so-called "safe sex" practices are not working very well at all.

Even though young people are receiving much education about sex, this education is not producing "safe sex." Instead, many young people are contracting STDs, some of which will be with them for the rest of their lives. The epidemic is so bad that in the United States, one in four sexually active teens contracts an STD every year (Stenzel, p. 67).

Paying the price for passion

When we fail to follow God's laws regarding sexual activity, we always pay a penalty. The physical penalties are well documented.

Today more than 25 sexually transmissible diseases afflict people around the world, a number that is steadily growing. Some STDs are caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics-if they are detected. Others, like AIDS, are caused by viruses-meaning there is no cure for the disease.

Those who contract a viral STD such as human papillomavirus (HPV), commonly known as genital warts, will have it for life. This is the most common STD in America. Over a third of all sexually active unmarried people are infected with it, many of them unaware that they carry the virus.

Sadly, most Americans don't take the threat of STDs seriously. The Centers for Disease Control reports: "Despite the fact that a great deal of progress has been made in STD prevention over the past four decades, the United States has the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world. The rates of STDs are 50-100 times higher in the US than in other industrial nations, even though rates of gonorrhea and syphilis have recently been brought to historic lows.

"In the United States alone, an estimated 15.3 million new cases of STDs are reported each year. Despite the fact that STDs are extremely widespread and add billions of dollars to the nation's healthcare costs each year, most people in the United States remain unaware of the risk and consequences of all but the most prominent STD-HIV, the virus that causes AIDS" (CDC National Prevention Information Network).

To help people understand just how likely it is to get an STD in the United States, Pam Stenzel writes: "Have you ever heard of Russian Roulette? It's a 'game' where one bullet is loaded into a multi-chambered gun. One holds the gun to one's head, pulls the trigger, and hopes to walk away alive.

"Compare playing Russian Roulette with a six-shooter to having sex. You're more likely to contract an STD from sexual contact than you would be to kill yourself with the gun. If someone said to you, 'Hey, how about joining us for a round of Russian Roulette?' I bet you'd say, 'Are you crazy!? Not even an idiot would do something that stupid.' And yet teens continue to have sex, thinking that if they can avoid pregnancy and AIDS, they'll be fine" (Stenzel, p. 68).

Bad decisions not limited to teens

Of course, it's not just teens that are making stupid decisions. Adults are too.

While some do beat the odds in the sense that they have sex outside of marriage and don't contract an STD, these people can still suffer emotional pain for doing so. People who have had premarital or extramarital sex report a host of consequences including worry that they will be caught, worry that they will get an STD, worry that pregnancy will result and guilt.

In addition to these things, there is always that first sexual experience when one ceases to be a virgin. Who better to have this first experience with than one's husband or wife for life?

One's virginity can only be given away once. Once given, it can't be taken back. After marriage, limiting all sexual activity to one's spouse also helps a husband and wife cherish each other. Sex outside of marriage destroys or badly hurts the relationship.

These consequences are the modern fulfillment of the scripture that says: "Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
American King James Version× , New American Bible).

What people seem to forget is that there is no need for anyone to experience these consequences! The way we can be absolutely guaranteed to not contract an STD or suffer emotional anguish is for marriage partners to have avoided all sex before marriage and, once married, to have sex with only each other-no one else. This formula works perfectly- every time!

History repeats itself

Historical records from the ancient city of Corinth reveal that in the heart of the Roman Empire, the most technologically advanced civilization of its day, the sexual values of the first century were similar to modern concepts of dating today. Standards were so skewed that sexual relations with temple prostitutes were not looked upon as scandalous but considered an appropriate form of worship.

Through the apostle Paul, God taught the Corinthians a much better way. After saying that sexual immorality is a sin against our own bodies, Paul said: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 [19] What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? [20] For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
American King James Version× ).

How could Paul dare to address others' private behavior? He was bold because he understood that God approves sexual relations only within the marriage relationship (Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version× Hebrews 13:4 Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
American King James Version× ). Sexual relations in any other situation were and are immoral.

Writing to Church members in Thessalonica, Paul addressed relationships between members of the opposite sex even more directly. Urging the brethren to live their lives in a way pleasing to God (1 Thessalonians 4:1 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more.
American King James Version× ), he wrote: "This is the will of God, that you should be holy: you must abstain from fornication each one of you must learn to gain mastery over his body, to hallow and honour it, not giving way to lust like the pagans who know nothing of God no one must do his fellow-Christian wrong in this matter, or infringe his rights.

"As we impressed on you before, the Lord punishes all such offenses. For God called us to holiness, not to impurity. Anyone therefore who flouts these rules is flouting not man but the God who bestows on you his Holy Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 [3] For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication: [4] That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor [5] Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: [6] That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. [7] For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. [8] He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who has also given to us his holy Spirit.
American King James Version× , Revised English Bible).

The custom and practice of dating-which leads to marriage-should be conducted with honor. It should not be devalued into an excuse for sexual gratification. God expects us to enter marriage as virgins. This approach shows respect for God, our bodies, our future spouse and the divine institution of marriage.

God's way is the best for making marriage work. Sociologists have found that God's standard for dating is the one that produces marriages that last.

According to the Journal of Marriage and the Family: "After analyzing cohabitation and marriage patterns among some 13,000 adults, . . . sociologists have concluded that couples who live together before marriage experience higher levels of marital conflict and do not communicate as well. Such couples were less committed to marriage and saw divorce as more likely than those who had not cohabited prior to marriage" (Vol. 54, 1992).

Dating for sociability

How can concerned parents counteract pressure on their children to take part in immoral dating practices?

The first step, as noted earlier, is to teach them godly principles of dating and friendship. When their teens are ready, many families have found group dating (three or more people attending an activity together) to be a good way for youths to enter this stage of life.

Since teenagers are generally not ready for marriage-because of immaturity and the need for educational and occupational training-some of the pressures and temptations of one-on-one dating can be avoided through group dates. Social development and learning to have fun in the company of the opposite sex in a safe environment can be healthy experiences for teens.

Dating for marriage

When two mature people begin dating each other with an eye toward marriage, they must consider many things. What values does the other person hold? Does he believe in God? Does she obey God? What is this person's background, personal standards and values? What are his preferences, dislikes, character and personality? Will this person be a complementary match? Can I love and respect her?

Often in modern dating little thought is given to a potential partner for life-other than whether the two enjoy their sexual activity. Yet when two people refrain from the emotionally charged arena of sexual relations as God instructs, they can much more rationally consider the values and traits of a potential mate.

Finding a mate with similar religious values is an especially important consideration. The ancient nation of Israel repeatedly lost its spiritual moorings when its citizens intermarried with people with different religious convictions and practices (Numbers 25:1-3 Numbers 25:1-3 [1] And Israel stayed in Shittim, and the people began to commit prostitution with the daughters of Moab. [2] And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. [3] And Israel joined himself to Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
American King James Version× Nehemiah 13:23-26 Nehemiah 13:23-26 [23] In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: [24] And their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. [25] And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons, or for yourselves. [26] Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
American King James Version× ). Marrying within one's faith is still just as important.

Ideally children should have two parents who believe, practice and teach the same religious principles. When children have parents with different values, they are confused. Even if children are not involved, clashes between two competing value systems can be painful.

Through bitter experience, many wish that when they were dating they had followed the apostle Paul's advice against being "unequally yoked together" with an unbeliever or someone of different religious beliefs (2 Corinthians 6:14 2 Corinthians 6:14 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?
American King James Version× compare 1 Corinthians 7:39 1 Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will only in the Lord.
American King James Version× ). There is wisdom in selecting a mate who is compatible in the religious, philosophical and ethnic dimensions, among others. Of course, God is always pleased to give us the wisdom we need when we ask (James 1:5 James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not and it shall be given him.
American King James Version× ).

As two people consider marriage, if they are wise they will also seek premarital counseling. Such counsel can help couples understand their strengths, weaknesses and differences before marriage. In addition to an objective review, they can learn communication and relationship skills that will help them in the future.

Although the decision to marry is a personal one, this kind of information can help couples make wiser choices about whom they marry. For those who choose to proceed with marriage, insights gained through premarital counseling can lay a foundation for a relationship that will last.

Physical contact before marriage

Biologically, God created us to respond to skin-to-skin contact with someone to whom we are attracted. Holding hands, hugging, kissing or other similar contact can be exciting.

But is such contact good, upright and moral? Is it in our best interest to engage in these practices before marriage?

How does one decide? For those who have adopted the standards of behavior endorsed by so much of today's popular culture, these are stupid questions. In fact, they are nonquestions-meaning they just aren't asked. When people believe it is okay to have any kind of sex with any other person before or outside of marriage, a little (or a lot of) touching doesn't really mean anything.

Consider the blockbuster movie Titanic. In this movie, two young people meet, fall in love and then slip away to a private place to have sex-ignoring the uncomfortable fact that one of them is engaged to someone else.

Even though current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that the majority of high school students in the United States don't have sex, many movies present scenes like this as the norm for young people. The way it unfolds is true to life. It all starts with physical contact-touching, hugging and kissing. And then comes full sexual intercourse. But this goes against what the Bible teaches.

As we've already seen in Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version× , God explains how and when a sexual union between a man and a woman should take place: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

"One flesh" means to have sexual intercourse (see 1 Corinthians 6:16 1 Corinthians 6:16 What? know you not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, said he, shall be one flesh.
American King James Version× ) and, according to God's instructions, this is to take place after a man and woman have been joined together in marriage. Having sex prior to marriage is immoral, and according to God's Word, we are supposed to "flee sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
American King James Version× ). Flee means to run away from or avoid. So we're supposed to run away from premarital sex and things that could entice us to be immoral.

An important point to note in God's instruction is that abstinence doesn't have to be forever. We simply must wait until we are married. Then, God says, sex is good (Hebrews 13:4 Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
American King James Version× ). Because abstinence has been described in such negative terms, some educators are now choosing to use the word postponement to describe the process of delaying sex until marriage.

How to decide

Many of you reading this have already decided to wait to have sex until you are married. Some have also decided that they are going to stop having sex prior to marriage. That's great! These are good decisions. But what about touching? Are you going to hug, kiss, hold hands or more?

While the Bible doesn't specifically address these areas, it does clearly say that we aren't to have sex before marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
American King James Version× ) or to even lust after another person (Matthew 5:28 Matthew 5:28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
American King James Version× ). Love should not be stirred up or awakened until the appropriate time (Song Of Solomon 2:7 Song Of Solomon 2:7 I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that you stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
American King James Version× , New Revised Standard Version).

Years of human experience show that these types of touch often lead to lustful desire and sex. Regrettably, many young people have engaged in these forms of physical contact and then lost their virginity because their emotions overwhelmed their sense of judgment. They just couldn't stop because it felt too good. Of course, adults are similarly affected by physical contact.

So how can we decide what we will do? Some have asked, "Just how far can a Christian go without sinning?" The time to make decisions about physical contact is before we get in a touchy situation. Making a decision on the fly with no forethought is a recipe for going too far.

Planning for sexual happiness

As individuals, we choose whether we will live sexually pure lives or whether we will ignore the instructions that lead to happiness and satisfaction. Making a commitment to parents, friends and God to be sexually pure in word, thought and deed is an important first step in living a full, complete, sexually happy life.

We can determine that we will not use filthy language of any kind-including the type that degrades sex. We can also determine that we will not watch movies with inappropriate sexual content or listen to songs with sexually explicit lyrics (because they can and do influence us).

We can determine that we won't bow to peer pressure to go along with those who disrespect sex. We can determine that we are willing to be mocked for our beliefs and that we won't succumb. We can choose to associate primarily with friends who share our convictions. And we can make it our daily practice to pray to God for strength to honor Him in the way we live our lives. All of these things will help us live an abundant life (John 10:10 John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
American King James Version× ).

As we've seen, God intends for dating and marriage to be high-class, honorable experiences. Treat sex as God's honorable gift to be awakened only in marriage, and you can reap the sweet reward of a happy, godly life.


Teen Dating: The Dos and Don’ts

Navigating the dating world can be intimidating and scary for both parents and teens. Many questions come to mind on how parents can best support their child and foster open communication.

How do we keep our teens safe? Understanding some of the “dos” and “don’ts” for parents will help make the dating process smoother and safer.

Here are some of the “DOs”:

  • Talk to your child about what a healthy relationship looks like. Your teen is more likely to make safer and smarter decisions when choosing a partner and maintaining a relationship when the expectations and definition of a healthy relationship are clear. Keep in mind, dating information for many teens comes from what is portrayed in the media, which is meant for entertainment purposes and may not be realistic.
  • Have a two-way conversation with your teen about dating. When teens feel they have a voice and are heard, they are more likely to abide by the guidelines everyone has agreed upon. Some good topics to discuss are curfew, group dating, private dating, meeting their date, and how to keep parents informed on their whereabouts and well-being.
  • Talk about safe sex. This includes the choice of remaining abstinent, using birth control, and understanding the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. This is also a good time to speak with your teen about sexting. Establishing ground rules for using smart phones and social media is another way to keep your child safe and protected.
  • Discuss what to do when they are feeling unsafe. You and your child need to have a plan in place to help when they are feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. Have a texting code between you and your teen to help them get out of the situation they are in if needed. Your teen should never meet up with anyone they’ve only met online and have not physically met in person.
  • Keep a watchful eye out for danger signs in your dating teenager. It is important to recognize the signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Some key signs to look for are jealousy, possessiveness, anxiety, bruising, low self-esteem, and depression.

Here are some “DON’Ts”:

  • Don’t stop talking to your teen about their relationships after dating starts. Continue to be invested in your teen’s dating life. Not all relationships are the same and they will need to have continued support.
  • Don’t be overprotective or too “hands off.” Being too overprotective can be harmful to your relationship and your teen may no longer feel comfortable confiding in you. Being too “hands off” allows your teen to be less monitored and can lead to poor decision making. Try to find a healthy balance between the two.
  • Don’t be too afraid to “VETO.” Sometimes interfering and vetoing a toxic or dangerous relationship is necessary. Your teen may be upset with you at the time, but their safety and wellbeing is the utmost priority.

Dating should be a fun time in your teen’s life, but it is also a learning process. Like any life experience, your teen will make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Your support and involvement in your teenager’s dating life will help your child make smarter and safer decisions.


Don’t: Give all your Attention to Grades

    • A single grade will not make or break you.
    • My last year in Algebra I received an F on two tests in a row. However, I ended the semester with a B. If you get an F, remember that you still have an entire semester to raise your GPA.
    • As for GPA, you don’t want to not give any effort – but a 3.5 never hurt anyone. Dedication to extracurriculars like clubs and teams is also an important factor.

    Do: Manage your Time and Workload

      • I am working towards graduation next year, so I can officially say I now know how to manage my time.
      • This year’s plate includes joining clubs, playing tennis, begin volunteering, trying to find a job.
      • Some additional tips: Do all assignments as soon as you receive them whiteboard calendars are better than planners and Saturdays and Sundays are perfect for balancing physical things, social life, and fun.

      Lunch Do’s and Don’ts

        • Last school year I sat with the same group of people everyday. However, this year I usually sit by myself. If this sounds like you, I have some tips.
        • Eat outside or with talkative people.
          • Eating in the corner may get attention off of you but it can also make you feel lonely.
          • Reading is a good way to secure your space while keeping you entertained.
          • Eating with a teacher might sound embarrassing, but there is no shame in it! The best teachers are those who develop friendships with their students. Think of it as your own personal mentor.

          Do: Make Friends

            • Joining clubs is how I made a lot of my friends.
            • Speak up in class even if you don’t talk to anyone in particular. Speaking up could spark a conversation and lead to a great friendship!
            • Partner projects seem terrifying, but it’s a great way to meet someone new.

            Don’t: Ignore your Physical and Mental Health

              • Get Physical. Although it is tempting to lie down and do nothing, a simply moving for an hour everyday has many great benefits – for school and life in general!
              • Take a Break: It is unnecessary to miss out on sleep to cram for a test or rush to complete an assignment. If you need extra time, just talk to your teacher about it. A simple day off can do wonders for your mind.
              • Cut the Crap. From candy and soda to bad friends, cut out anything in life that isn’t positive.

              My Top 2 Tips

              Do: Not Stress

                • If you’re spending four years in high school, you have 1,460 days to improve! Single grades mean nothing compared to the bigger picture and your memories mean more than a letter.

                Don’t Procrastinate

                  • Getting it over with makes life so much easier. If you have a week to do an essay, doing a rough draft in three days then editing the other 2 days, will save you plenty of stress and long nights.

                  Liana Mozee

                  I am currently a sophomore, but plan to graduate early. Ihave been vegan currently for 1 year! When i graduate high school I either want to go to college to be an interior designer or a veterinarian. A fun fact about me is that I love horror movies!


                  Suggestions for Further Reading

                  Rachel Biale's Women and Jewish Law (Paperback) (Kindle) contains many sections dealing with sexual issues, focusing on the woman's perspective. It addresses the laws of marital relations, sexuality outside of marriage, procreation and contraception, abortion and rape.

                  Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (known for his Shalom in the Home reality TV series) has a book coincidentally named Kosher Sex (Paperback) (and let me just say in my own defense: I was using that page title years before his book came out!). The book talks about sex in the context of a committed, loving relationship, trying to find a proper balance between deep friendship and passionate lovemaking, within the context of Jewish Law.

                  © Copyright 5756-5780 (1995-2020), Tracey R Rich
                  If you appreciate the many years of work I have put into this site, show your appreciation by linking to this page, not copying it to your site. I can't correct my mistakes or add new material if it's on your site. Click Here for more details.


                  Center for Adolescent Health Blog

                  What is the first thing you think of when you hear teen dating violence? You may think of physical and/or psychological manipulation and exploitation. You might think of the statistics and information that you were told in high school. Like that 1 in 3 of young adults were in an abusive relationship by the age of 24. Or that roughly 58% of college students have been in an abusive relationship. You might have been surprised that the amount of boys who are victims of dating abuse is almost as high as the amount of girls. However, most of us know that facts, but are not quite sure how to help. For anyone who knows someone who was or is being abused, you have to be there for them. You have to be a no judgment zone, and you have to make them feel safe. Here are a few suggestions on how to help a young person who may be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship.

                  I think my friend is in an unhealthy relationship. What should I do?

                  If you find out that one your friends’ is in an abusive relationship, what are you going to do? Tell them that you have too and it is a normal part of teenage relationships? NO! You want to be able to help them while in the relationship, and hopefully out of the relationship. Consider this list of Dos and Don’ts when trying to help your friend:

                  • DO help your friend to recognize the abuse
                  • DO NOT let them blame themselves
                  • DO connect them with resources
                  • DO NOT focus on the abuser, focus on your friend
                  • DO help them develop a safety plan
                  • DO be supportive and caring, even if it does not feel like much
                  • DO NOT directly accuse the abuser face-to-face or online, this can affect your friend negatively as the abuser may take it out on them
                  • DO continue to support them after the relationship, this is very important
                  • DO thank them for their trust (because it can take a lot to tell/talk to people about abuse)

                  My child just told me that they are in an unhealthy relationship. How can I help them?

                  Parents will likely have a much harder time dealing with dating violence involving their child. While over 82% of parents are positive that they could spot abuse, over half (58%) were unable to notice it. In fact, roughly 81% of parents did not see dating abuse as a problem, or did not know that it is a problem for teenagers. That fact within itself is a problem. However, if you see that your child is being abused, here are a few dos and don’ts to follow:

                  • DO show acceptance
                  • DO show concern
                  • DO NOT directly talk about the person, but DO talk about their actions
                  • DO NOT give ultimatums to your child
                  • DO give them support
                  • DO be prepared
                  • DO make decisions with your child, NOT for them
                  • DO NOT be judgmental of your child
                  • DO be there for them when they need you

                  What should I do if I may be a perpetrator?

                  The first thing that you can do is to be aware of what you are doing and know why it is wrong. Next you should focus on altering your brain from that way of thinking. Sometimes perpetrators of abuse do not know that what they are doing is wrong. They might not know because of many reasons. One could be the normalization of unhealthy relationships in society today. Another could be due to their upbringing or the relationships that they have been in before. It could also be because the perpetrator is abusing drugs or alcohol, which can impair their thinking. Sadly, another reason may be because they like doing it or they like the control that it gives them. This, however, does not forgive those actions, but it does mean that the abuser can know when they are being abusive and modify their behavior to exclude those abusive actions. Here is what perpetrators of abuse can do: get more specific info:

                  • DO recognize what you are doing
                  • DO do research on abuse and what exactly it means
                  • DO get help, whether from a therapist or a family member
                  • YOU CAN talk to your partner about the abuse in a safe setting for both of you
                  • YOU CAN go to the websites below to get professional help from people specially trained to help perpetrators of violence
                  • DO NOT refuse to get help and continue to harm your current and/or future partners

                  You can go to these websites for more external help:

                  Here are some additional resources that anyone can use to get more information on dating violence and ways to get external help:

                  Ellen Nikirk attends Garrison Forest High School. As a participant in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program, she is working with and learning from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health.


                  Look, we know that you've been investigating this guy online since you learned his last name. (We don't blame you, and chances are he's done the same to you.) But if you start in on his alma mater, favorite bands and how his hair looked in 2004 (that was found thanks to your mad skills at image searching), you are going to creep him out. Big-time.—Daniel Holloway and Dorothy Robinson, authors of Dating Makes You Want to Die (But You Have to Do It Anyway)

                  One glass of wine is fine. Two or more could lead to sudden, instant and otherwise immediate death of a potential relationship. My friend Katherine is a smart and beautiful girl, but whenever she has a few drinks, she starts swearing like a sailor. If she were not a little tipsy, she would never talk so trashy. Guys are instantly turned off by her behavior, and she often wonders why first dates never turn into seconds.*—Jess McCann, author of You Lost Him at Hello *



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