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I must admit that I have been brainwashing my children against dating since they were very young. At times, I think there is really very little any parent can do when it comes to this sort of thing, but then again, that is what the enemy would have me believe—he would have me believe that I have no influence on my child, that my relationship with my child will end as these years approach, and that I can do very little about it. But no! That is simply not true. One of the ways I have de-emphasized dating is in drawing a picture for my kids, when they were little, of what their teenage years would look like. I didn’t talk about dating as the most important part of those years. Instead, I described how they could do anything, explaining, “When you’re a teenager, you’ll be old enough to really explore different careers and life skills and see in what direction God has you aimed.” I would speak ruefully about my teen days spent mostly on the phone or watching television. Oh, what wasted time! But then, smiling, I would add, “But look what you can do! You’ll have time to pursue the desires of your heart!”
At fourteen, Anu was using her time to learn and pursue research, which she already knew she loved. She was on a mission to find a cure for cancer. And no one was telling her she couldn’t (or shouldn't) do it. I remember taking that article and showing it to my daughter, just delighting over this teenager who was doing something besides pursuing a social life! Over and over I would tell my kids, “What do you want to do when you’re a teenager? Daddy and I will be paying your bills. You don’t have to worry about a family or a roof over your head. You can do whatever you want to do, and we will help you.” The catch here is that you have to mean it.
Protect Purity When You Downplay Dating
Provide your tweens with present-day examples.
Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose by Rebecca Ingram Powell.
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