They Grow Up too Fast

One of the topics that seems to come up when I talk to young people about relationships is sexual activity. Having sex is of course on the minds of teens and young adults. In fact, most young people think about sex daily. When the topic comes up, invariably, the pressure to have sex comes riding in behind it. Being pressured to have sex in a dating relationship is more common than most people think. In a recent survey I read, 61% of all teenage girls said they have felt pressured to have sex. Though not as many, some guys are also pressured to have sex with their girlfriends. Naturally, this results in some staggering statistics. According to the Kaiser foundation in 2013 survey, “Nearly half (47%) of all high school students report having had sexual intercourse.” As a mother and a Christian, my message to young people is simple. The only way to truly avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems, is to abstain from sexual activity before marriage. Abstinence is our family standard. Furthermore, a faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only way to have a successful marriage.

Although all this is true, how do we as parents get our sons and daughters to the marriage altar pure? The odds just seem to be stacked against young people these days. It’s easy to tell our children not to have sex before marriage and even scare them with the threat of teen pregnancy, but how do we prepare them to face sexual temptation?

During the teenage years, I believe that our children should be avoiding exclusive dating relationships. If teenagers go out on dates, they should go out in groups. Young people need to be aware of the consequences of sexual activity and be protected from unnecessary emotional trauma. Following these simple rules has helped the members of my family during their teenage years. I know they will work for you. But what about post high school?

Once you cross the finish line and your baby graduates from high school, you may think that you’re done protecting them from dating and relationship challenges. We always say that they grow up too fast, and our children do. This can be an exciting time of life, but these can also be challenging years in terms of relationships. In my opinion, the temptations in the post high school years are even harder to overcome. Young adults face more temptations and they have more freedom. Here are a few foundational truths that I’ve shared with my son and daughters.

Establish friendships with the the opposite sex. The basis of a good marriage is a solid friendship. Always start with friendship when dating.

Know yourself and have confidence in how God made you. Understand that you're an important person to your Heavenly Father and that He has a plan for your life. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;  my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:4

See dating as a step toward marriage. This will eliminate the pressure you may feel to date for social status and keep you from engaging in casual sex.

Avoid the mentality that you have to live with a person and try them out before getting married.

Show respect to dating partners by not putting them in compromising situations. 1 Corinthians 6:18, says,  “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

Establish ground rules for dating with your partner. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.”

Establish relationships with people that will hold you accountable. One of the best ways to make great relationship decisions is to first bounce ideas off of close friends of the same gender. A good friend can also help you steer clear of temptations.