Spiritual Messages and Teachings for LDS Youth and Youth Leaders

Establishing Dating Standards

By: Allan K. Burgess

“I should be home at eleven-thirty. I should make sure I always have a quarter, and if something happens I am to call home. If my date wants to do something immoral, I’m to tell him to call my dad. If my dad says it’s okay, then it’s okay. (My dad is very strong in the Church.)” (Teenage girl.)

Teenagers want to be clean and pure. They want to marry in the temple. Most of them know what is best for them—at least until they become emotionally involved. This was indicated recently when seminary students were asked two interesting questions. The first question was, “If you were a parent and had a fifteen-year-old son or daughter, what would you do to ensure that he or she stayed morally clean?” Here are the most frequent responses:

1. I wouldn’t let them date until they were sixteen.

2. I wouldn’t let them steady date.

3. I would make them be home at an early hour.

4. I would hold personal interviews with them.

5. I would teach them the importance of chastity.

6. I wouldn’t let them go to R-rated movies.

7. I would set a good example for them.

8. I would teach them while they were young.

9. I would keep them involved in church.

10. I would listen to them.

11. I would encourage double dating.

12. I would teach them that their body is a temple.

13. I would show them that I love them.

The second question was, “Your future mate is probably dating someone right now. How do you want him or her to handle the dating years?” The students gave very conservative answers, and almost all of them gave the same answers:

I want my future mate during his or her dating years to:

1. Be in by midnight at the latest or just a few minutes after the activity is over. (Some said their future mate should be in by ten o’clock.)

2. Only double date.

3. Never go further than a good-night kiss.

4. Not date until sixteen.

5. Definitely never go steady.

6. Never park.

These answers demonstrate that most teenagers really do know what is best for them. But they need our help. As a matter of fact, although they don’t always act like it, they want our help. They face some temptations that are stronger and more subtle than they are prepared to handle. We need to work with our teenagers in establishing rules and guidelines that will help them stay morally clean. The rules we establish need to be reasonable ones that really do fulfill a needed purpose. Here are some rules that young people indicated have helped them:

1. Don’t stay in the car anywhere.

2. Date a wide variety of people.

3. Double date and group date.

4. Parents have to meet dates and talk with them.

5. Date LDS people with same values.

6. Go to planned activities.

7. Be home at a definite time.

8. Date someone of a similar age.

9. Never be alone with a date at a home.

10. Don’t date until age sixteen.

11. Can’t own a personal car but can use the family car.

12. Pray alone and with parents before dates.

13. Set guidelines on kissing.

14. Cannot date on school nights—only on weekends.

15. Date other people between dates with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

As we establish our own family rules, we should discuss them with our children and try to share with them the reasons for each rule. They may not totally understand or agree, but they can feel our concern and know that we are establishing the rules to help them reach their spiritual goals.

Sometimes rules can give our children an excuse to use with their friends and on dates that will help them save face and still do what is right. One girl has arranged a signal with her mother, and when she doesn’t want to go somewhere, she flashes this signal. If a boy calls on the phone and she doesn’t want to date him, her mother will yell out, “You’re not going anywhere—you’ve been gone too much already!” The boy thinks the mother is a real dragon, but the girl is off the hook. If her friends come by and ask her to go someplace questionable, she flashes the signal and her mother steps in.

Established rules can also give our children a good excuse for avoiding bad situations. They can say that their parents have a rule that they must be in by eleven o’clock or that they are not allowed to date until they are sixteen. This allows them to save face with their friends and helps them avoid the powerful influence of social pressure.

Although some teenagers argue about dating guidelines, indications are that most teenagers appreciate them, even if they don’t always show it.

The following responses from teenagers can give us numerous ideas for worthwhile dating guidelines. Notice how positive the teenagers are about their family rules. You can almost feel their gratitude as they share their feelings. They are responding to the question “What are some of the dating guidelines your parents have established that have helped you stay morally clean?”

1. They ask me before every date, “Where are you going?” I am supposed to reply, “The celestial kingdom!”

2. They act like they trust me. They set a curfew, are interested in the who, where, how, and what of my dates, and let me use the family car.

3. They didn’t let me date until I was sixteen, and I am to bring the girl home in the same shape that I took her out.

4. Be home by a certain time, never be alone with your date in a car or home, no low-lit lights. Be with others as much as you can and not be alone so much.

5. They make sure that they meet the guy before I go out and make sure that I know that he is to treat me right, and I make sure that he does.

6. Be in by twelve o’clock. Don’t kiss a guy on the first date. Be selective about who you date and where you are going.

7. Do not date guys too far out of my age range.

8. Date LDS people, those with the same values. Have planned activities, not including parking. Don’t stay out after midnight unless it’s a special occasion like a dance. Just hold hands as long as possible.

9. I have to double date, and my mother always talks to my dates before we go out. She lets them know that she expects them to show respect for me and me the same with them.

10. I should be home at eleven-thirty. I should make sure I always have a dime, and if something happens I am to call home. If my date wants to do something immoral, I’m to tell him to call my dad. If my dad says it’s okay, then it’s okay. (My dad is very strong in the Church.)

11. Treat the girl like you would want your mother or sister to be treated.

12. Wait until sixteen to date and always double date.

13. Date one night during the week and once on the weekend.

14. Be home about twelve o’clock, dress modestly, date Church members, go on group dates, and know something about the guy and his reputation.

4715. Choose friends wisely and date the people I would marry.

16. Date in groups with friends. Report to both parents what we are doing and when we will be back. Be back before one o’clock. (That means the girl is home by twelve-thirty.) Be a gentleman and mind my manners. Be happy and enjoy ourselves while on the date. (Boredom can lead to trouble.) Respect our dates and those we are with.

17. Weekend dating only. Can’t see boyfriend on school nights.

18. I must tell my parents what I am going to do and when I will be home, and I must call them if I make any changes in my plans.

19. I need to be in by twelve o’clock, not date older guys, and my parents need to meet my date.

20. Always pray before going on a date. My parents have told me that I don’t have to kiss the guy for anything.

21. Don’t stay in the car anywhere (driveway, parking lot, streetside, etc.). Midnight curfew. Date a wide variety of girls, not just one. Don’t get too intimate. Don’t try something thinking that you know when to stop.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>