I was recently sent a copy of Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate…What Works? This is a DVD teaching program from Parenting Made Practical.
With three teenage boys, I have wondered about how to talk to them about dating. Sure we’ve had the birds and bees discussion, but what about actual dating? What would be expected? What would we allow? Of course, I like to joke and say they can’t date until they’re 25. But that’s not practical.
Remembering back to my teenage years, dating can be hard. There are so many different feelings involved. I was never given advice about dating.
So how do we talk to our teens about dating? That’s where Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate…What Works? comes in. The DVD and accompanying workbook discuss what you need to do to help your teens make informed decisions.
Joey and Carla feel it needs to start earlier than the teen years. They actually suggest starting as early as the 4th or 5th grade. Tell your kids that crushes are normal and have them write down traits of what they like about someone. They aren’t saying to tell them everything at that age, but to talk about things, and pass on advice little by little.
Also, Joey and Carla go through the two main categories of dating that are popular these days: cultural dating and courtship dating. They mention the differences between the two and typical examples. But they don’t suggest either of these. They have come up with “Friendship Dating.” I had never heard of this before, so I was intrigued.
Fundamentally it breaks down into four main areas that should be involved when dating: mental, physical, spiritual, and social. All four of these need to be balanced to have a healthy relationship, otherwise, it will be lopsided.
And there are four different levels of dating:
- Potential: want to spend time together and get to know one another
- Possible: possibly be marriage material
- Probable: probably the “one”
- Proposal: this is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with
Joey and Carla have a great way of breaking it down and using a graphic to discuss the different areas as well as levels involved. This is all explained in the first video on the DVD.
The second video dives into specifics. Joey and Carla mention that these should be used as suggestions and are not necessarily what your teen needs. It is up to you and your teen to come up with the boundaries they want to have in place before they start dating.
They strongly encourage you to guide your teen to:
- uphold biblical standards
- not compromise conscience
- not compromise beliefs
In the workbook, they mention that dating can be like making a lasagna. There are different layers involved, and each layer is important, just like in lasagna. They discuss the different ingredients, like trust, honesty, and integrity (as well as others). I thought this was a great metaphor.
In the second teaching, each of the four main areas of dating (mental, physical, spiritual, and social) are discussed. Joey and Carla give suggestions of what types of things are appropriate in each area, broken down by the different levels (potential, possible, probable, proposal).
In the mental area, they talk about temperaments. Everyone is unique, but there are four basic types of temperaments: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholy. This is an area I’m not very familiar with. I’m glad there are suggested books listed in the workbook because I will probably pick something up to learn a little more about the different temperaments.
The physical area discusses appropriate boundaries that should be considered before dating. Joey and Carla use 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 as an example and provide five key points. Then they present a Physical Intimacy Graph where your teen can put when (or what level) they think specific physical acts should be allowed. They discuss actions like holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc. But they don’t tell you where these go on the graph. That is up to you and your teen to decide.
The spiritual area discusses how important it is to know each other spiritually. If a couple each has a different level of spirituality, it can cause problems. Joey and Carla did have a strong warning for this area. Couples shouldn’t hold hands while praying together. It sounds innocent enough, but the intimate nature of praying could lead to more physical interaction too early in a relationship.
The last area discussed was social. Your teen needs to consider the other’s family and friends. You don’t just marry the person; you marry their family as well. Your teen needs to know that they can interact with other people. This is also a good opportunity for family members to get to know the date. They might see something that the teen has missed.
It is a lot of information to absorb. That’s 16 different areas that need to be reviewed and discussed with your teen. But they have done a great job of presenting the information in an easy to use format. It may even be beneficial to have your teen watch the DVD with you and then discuss it.
Joey and Carla end with suggesting when your teen may be ready to start a “Friendship Dating Relationship” and how to implement all the teaching they provided.
The final portion of the workbook gives testimonies from different parents and couples that have gone through the teachings. These show that the friendship dating relationship can work and is a good choice.
I learned a lot of things from this DVD teaching. This is a course I am probably going to need to watch again because there is so much material given. I really liked how they broke down the different areas and levels and talked about how important it was to have each in balance.
It was nice to have a workbook to go along with the DVD. It would have been difficult to take notes on all of the information given. I liked how they added extra information into the workbook and had it noted in italics so you would know it was different.
Joey and Carla did an excellent job of giving examples. I like how they interspersed stories of their three kids into the conversation. It lets you know that they’ve been through this. They know what they are talking about.
I wish there had been more room for notes in certain sections of the workbook.
There were also a few things that were included in the workbook that weren’t mentioned in the DVD. It sometimes made it difficult to follow along.
There was a lot of information presented in the second section of the DVD, and it went fast. I think I need to watch some of those parts again to be able to absorb everything.
This was a great resource for how to teach teens about dating. Joey and Carla have provided a lot of useful content, especially for a DVD that is less than 2 hours. I feel more comfortable talking to my boys now about what they should be considering when they decide they want to date.