My niece has told me about these parents who are idealistically strict with their teenage children’s romantic interest. As my niece tells me a few of the details I think, Oh no…the Joshua Harris movement…Is that still a thing?
Apparently these parents have made some unspoken but guessable mistakes earlier in their life and in their pursuit of romance, sex, and other things good Christians don’t talk about. There’s an obvious amount of shame still present there, or else I don’t think they’d be so strict with their kids. Especially since this strictness isn’t something they understand in experiential or self-disciplinary, one might guess from their overcompensating ways.
I want kids to have their innocents for as long as possible, afterall you can’t get it back once it’s gone. I agree to that. However I can’t agree that this approach of choosing how your children choose is really the way to bring up healthy teenage kids in today’s society. What happens when they leave home and get to do whatever the hell they want? umm.. hell happens, I’m guessing.
These parents mystify me. I feel sure I understand where they’re coming from and yet I still don’t agree with the conclusion they make. If these parents had made past mistakes which they regretted and they now strictly believe in a sort of holiness living, then what happened to “She loves much because she’s forgiven much”?
Why does shame seem to be the dominate factor? Why are the children paying for the sins of the fathers? Why don’t they trust that they’ve raised their children better and more comprehensively than their parents were able to do for them?
Why is love and romance about dominance in the Christian world?
I don’t know anything about parenting. I only know about being a kid and being an adult. I also have the privilege to know about choosing for myself.
As a teenager I had some good adults around who gave good advice and reasonable tips. I had good brothers who reasonable friends who told me more than I wanted to know… but for the most part it was good advice. I had questions and I people I could ask. There was a conversation that was available to me.
Yeah… so my parents weren’t those people either, you know, the ones you can talk to as a teenager about relationships, love, and what happens after holding hands. But I did have people to talk to. I read Christian books (much to my dissatisfaction), I looked in the Bible, I asked myself questions, I questioned what it was all worth. …and in the end you know what made a difference?
I had this one camp counselor who said this crazy but interesting thing when it was just the girls sitting around talking. She said something like, If the first time I ever got kiss was at my wedding I’d be like ‘Woah do it again!’. We all laughed at her description and she giggled too, but the fact was she was already engaged. She had already been kissed. But I hadn’t. …and I wondered…. how close to true was that statement.
Was kissing something that’s incredible regardless of time or age?
It seemed to me there was this big rush or push to date, to kiss, to make out, to “do the deed”, then …then what?
I wondered if these things were all something to get pass like a mile-marker, then what’s the point? What’s all the talk about?
But if they’re something in themselves, and they don’t lose value over time then that… that sounded interesting to me.
I’m a rare person who got to choose my own sexual fate, and I got to do that as an adult. I know not everyone gets to choose what happens to them in regards to sexual experiences. There at things that are stolen, there are things that are coerced, there are deceptions and lying-promises that are made and broken, and because of that, not everybody gets to choose for themselves.
So there’s an accomplishment here. If these previously mentioned parents have been able to keep their kids safe this far, and to teach them truth about what’s valuable, and how to be considerate others and not use people to get to your mile makers, then as someone who was formerly a kid, I have to say trust your kids! Let them choose.
IF you raised your kids right, then they should be able to continue in right on their own. And that trust you place in your kids might just go a long way into building a relationship between you and them.
If you think you raised your kids right, but just in case you think it’s better to “protect them from trouble” then, truth is they’ll find a way to get into trouble anyhow.
Teach your kids trust, not dominance.
Teach your kids how to make good choice so that they can become better people. Keeping them ignorant to choices will only work for limited amount of time, then it won’t work at all. Help your kids to make better choice than you made, but don’t force them to pay for your regrets.
Eventually your kids are going to taste freedom, eventually your kids will do something stupid, eventually your kids will be adults. For now, teach them from love and not from fear. Let them choose, let them grow up, and teach them to do that in healthy way.