By Ade D’Almeida
These days, Godly relationships seem as extinct as dinosaurs. Every time your teenager turns on the television or reads a magazine, they are inundated with the latest celebrity relationship news. These secular influences treat dating like a hobby, and during the impressionable teen years, it is important to help your teenager realize that it is possible to have a Godly relationship.
Be direct, but don’t lecture. Teenagers mature at a much faster rate than they did 20 years ago. When you talk to your teenager about the importance of developing Godly relationships, don’t sugar coat things and talk to them like they’re an infant, but at the same time, don’t lecture them. Give some of your real life experience about how you benefited from Godly relationships or about how you wish you would have put God at the centre of your relationships. When teenagers realize that you used to deal with the same struggles they face, they will feel like you instantly have something in common and be more receptive to your advice.
Set a good example. The very best way for you to convey the importance of a Godly relationship to you teen is to show them. If they see that God is at the centre of your marriage, they will be able to see first hand how important a Godly relationship can be.
Don’t be unequally yoked. 1 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” It is a good idea to make sure your teenager understands the importance of dating a fellow Christian that shares the same belief system. If they get into the habit of dating Christians while they are young, they will be more likely to marry a fellow Christian when they are older.
Encourage your teen to seek God on their own. As parents, we want to help our kids do everything and if we could, we would hold their hand through life to make sure that they are on the right track. However, there comes a time where they need to start to develop spiritually on their own. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in their Spiritual life at all, but you don’t have to try and live their life for them. Encourage them to read the Bible on their own and pray about things so that they will be able to carry those habits into their relationships.
Don’t set them up to fail. Although you want to let your teen know that you trust them, even the most responsible teens can succumb to temptation and get involved in pre-marital sex. Be sure you know where your teenager is, and who they are with. Get to know their friends and their friend’s parents. Encourage your teen to group date with other responsible teenagers and to avoid being in a situation that they might end up regretting. Enforcing curfews and staying in touch with your teen will help them to know that they can’t get away with sneaking around behind your back.
Don’t pressure your teenager. Sometimes parents try to re-live their own high school years through their teenagers, and they end up pressuring them to be in a relationship. Make sure you tell your teen that they don’t have to be in a relationship to feel fulfilled. Teach them that God is the only One who can fill the void in their life and that He will never leave or forsake them. This will help them to not rush into things and hopefully keep them from being a serial dater.
The sooner your teenager learns about how to develop healthy, Godly relationships, the better their life will be. Make sure they know that they can always talk to you, and don’t overreact when they tell you details of their life. If you make a big deal about everything, they will be hesitant to share things with you in the future.
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