How to Prepare Your Children for Dating

by | May 12, 2019 | Dating Perspectives | 0 comments

Question

As I watch family members and friends marry off children, I wonder if there’s anything I can do to prepare my children for this complex and often daunting stage of life. What values, ideas, and viewpoints can I instill in them now to better prepare them for the most important decision and relationship of their lives?

Answer

What a wonderful parent you are! I wish more parents would be so forward thinking and willing to do the work today that will powerfully affect their children’s relationship future.

Here are six points to consider:

  • The Family Unit Crisis: More than a singles crisis, we have a breakdown of the family unit crisis. When children have been raised in a dissolved, toxic, or stressed marriage, they will likely have handicaps in communication, conflict resolution, dating, and social skills. They’re often drawn to recreate the familiar yet unhealthy relationship they saw at home. At times they are in so much pain that the very thought of marriage has awful connotations. Though they might be actively dating, they’re internally blocked to the possibility of sharing a life with someone else. The most important thing you can do for your children is to invest daily in a stable, loving, and supportive marriage!
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  • Children Do As We Do, Not As We Say: If we are not inherently honest, kind, slow to anger, and caring, our children won’t act that way just because we tell them to. We must constantly focus on our character development and personal growth. This will ensure positive patterning of the skills our children will rely on for all their relationships, and especially their marriages.
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  • Mindset: You can determine our child’s relationship mindset. What are you communicating? That marriage comes easy or that it’s worth heavy investment? Is career primary or is marriage/family most important? Do maturity and responsibility determine marriage readiness or is it a function of societal pressure?  Is rejection acceptable? Mindsets are never cast, rather molded from early childhood and on.

More than a singles crisis, we have a breakdown of the family unit crisis. Children are often drawn to recreate the familiar yet unhealthy relationship they saw at home.

  • Be Present: Children grow up fast. There is a slim window of about 20 years that will determine whether you have any influence over your precious cuties for the rest of their lives. Whenever you can be there for them, be there! Be present in the moment with a listening ear, non-judgmental words, and hugs. Create the supportive space your child needs to feel accepted and loved. Not only does this contribute to their growth and emotional development, it ensures you’ll continue to play a supportive role in their future.
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  • Marriage is not a hospital: If your child suffers from mental illness, social or emotional challenges, psychological stressors, or special educational needs, please get them the help they need! Marriage is most successful with two healthy, well-adjusted, and functioning adults. It will solve only one thing: singlehood. If you don’t deal with these issues early on, you run the risk of irreparably harming not just one, but two or more people.
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  • Prayer/Tefillah: My mother’s father was selected for death with roughly 100 other laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp. With nothing to lose, he marched himself to the front of the line and in flawless German respectfully suggested to the commanding Nazi officer that there was a mistake. He and the other prisoners were not useless, merely weakened by starvation. With an extra slice of bread and a bowl of soup they could do whatever work was demanded of them. Miraculously, that request saved his life and those of the entire work detail. The lesson he always taught us was, “If you don’t ask you don’t get!” (In a wild twist of Divine Providence, one of the men he saved would give birth to my father, his future son-in-law, soon after the war!) Our society puts little stock in the power of prayer. If for you it’s a reality and a part of your daily living, so will it be for you children.
  • I pray that as parents we are all blessed with the wisdom, foresight and strength to model, teach, and guide our children along the shortest route to their longest relationship.

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