In the fading twilight, the headlights of an approaching car reminded Bill to reach for the dashboard and turn on his lights.

And it was a good opportunity for them to practice their manners and learn how to behave in formal clothes. A teenager going on a first date at 17 is certainly not the norm in our culture.

But many experts agree that early dating is not a good idea.

These external behaviors can be a reflection of good parental training.

It takes time to discover those qualities about a person and even more time to see if they are enduring or just a pretense.

But he wasn’t ready yet to surrender his role as a parent. Just what role should parents play to steer a child away from the traps in the most popular sport for many teens—the dating game? For us, dating or courting is a small part of the overall process of determining God’s will for discovering your life partner in marriage.

He hoped the conversation he was about to initiate would help close that gap. ” he asked, struggling to disguise the wobble he felt in his voice. Bill gripped the steering wheel and shot a glance into her eyes. Bill and his wife had talked before with Julie about God’s standards about sex, but soon she would be dating and making moral choices on her own. They were just a block from home, so gently but firmly, Bill pressed the final question: “Well then, would you mind telling me how far you intend to go? ” He stopped the car a few feet short of the driveway and feigned a look into the mailbox. If he had waited for a month, he wouldn’t have been ready for what she said. In our family the focus has not been on dating, but more on training our teens in their character and in how to develop a relationship with the opposite sex.

When a child can date Giving a child the privilege of spending time with a member of the opposite sex is a freedom that is based upon our judgment of how responsible we deem this child to be. Is he strong enough to withstand peer pressure in a boy-girl situation?

In light of our reformatted definition of dating, we have the following very general age guidelines for spending time with a friend of the opposite sex (these are for our children still living at home).

Whom they should date As a starting point, we believe our teens should develop friendships with and eventually date only other Christians (2 Corinthians -16).