Friday, March 28, 2008

Parenting Teens

The topic of parenting teenagers seems to be a hot one on the Christian mothering board right now. Here's my response to whether or not I'd let my teen date someone who is not a Christian:

"In general, I think forbidding teens to do anything is a bad idea. We just had this conversation in our house in relation to music. Vespera has some music that she enjoys because of the *music.* Mango & I have trouble with the lyrics. Forbidding her to listen to it would only make her angry & probably make her *want* to listen to it more, though chances are that she would respect us enough to not listen to it. That's just her personality. So, what did we do? We talked in general about how negative lyrics can really affect your attitude. We used some humor. And then Mango went & downloaded some similar music (same style, better lyrics) into her itunes and played it for her on the way to school. She LOVES the stuff he picked out & started playing it for her friends.

Ok, so that was a tangent. On the dating question, I wouldn't expressly forbid dating someone of another faith. I would absolutely talk with her about her values and what she wants from a dating relationship, what matters to her and what doesn't. At this point, I see my job as helping her clarify her own values and live by them. I tell her I'm concerned when I'm concerned. I sometimes start a conversation with, "Can I tell you what I think about this?" or, "Do you want to know what I would do?" She's very open to hearing what I have to say as long as it's not a lecture or a bunch of rules. Honestly, I know she *wants* some guidance, but she wants it in a way that respects her as a person & allows her to make her own decisions."

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