One of the hardest questions that a parent of a preteen or teenager may face is the age-old, “when am I allowed to date?” As parents, deciding if your child is allowed to be dating in high school or not, is challenging. It is one of the moments that might have you scrambling for an easy “how to raise teenagers” book for Christians.
Yet, we know this is not how life works, and in fact, it is not how the Bible works. Parenting is not about being given the rules for to navigating your teenager’s life. Rather, it is learning to trust the Lord to guide you as you learn to shepherd and care for your teenager. This applies to knowing how to discern whether your teenager should be dating or not.
God’s Heart for Teens
By now, you likely know that each child is different. Each child has a unique personality and different maturity level. That’s why a hard and fast rule on the Christian dating age will not serve and love your student well. Instead, learn your child’s heart. Learn how to ask questions and to help them see that God’s heart for them is not a list of rules. As you are discerning and having these conversations about your student dating (in high school or at any age), here are some questions that might be helpful:
- Is my student discerning and mature enough to handle a relationship?
- Does my student understand the purpose of dating?
- What is the character of the person my student wants to date?
- Is my student willing to openly talk about this relationship with me?
These questions will not solve every issue that arises. They will not give you the ultimate understanding to make a decision regarding whether your teenager should be dating or not. Yet, these questions will give you a foundation upon which you can better know and understand the state of your student’s heart.
Dating in High School: What Does the Bible Say?
There is no verse in the Bible that explicitly says, “you and your children’s children should start dating when they turn ___.” At the same time, the Bible is clear on the purpose of marriage and the heart attitude that we should have towards one another in the context of relationship. That’s why these types of questions are so helpful.
Parenting is hard. But as we are constantly reminded, hard is hard; hard is not bad. As you figure out how to love your child well and raise them in the way of the Lord, rest in the promises of God’s Word. “If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask and it will be given to him” (James 2:2). May you continually be seeking for the wisdom of the Lord as you parent your teenagers.