119. Our parents think we are not ready to date
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(The following discussion took place between two teens and Dr. Smith)

Teen 1:  Doc, all our friends have boyfriends yet our parents think that we are not ready for dating.

Teen 2:  They think the reason we are not doing well in school, is because we are talking to boys, and that has nothing to do with it.

Dr. Smith: Tell me why you both think you are ready to be dating.

Teen 2:  We are the only ones of our friend who are not dating.

Dr. Smith:  So you think because your friends are dating you should too.

Teen 1: More or less, it’s the cool thing to do, what’s wrong with that?

Dr. Smith:  Lets talk about dating and where you start.

Teen 2:  Cool.

Dr. Smith:  Dating is a stage in a relationship when you are getting to know each other for the purpose of selecting a mate.  Firstly, you should know yourself:
•    Know who you are and what are your strengths
•    Know what are your personal and professional goals
•    How do you feel about yourself?
•    Do you view yourself as an emotionally healthy person?
•    In essence, what is your level of self-esteem?

Secondly, no student that is not doing well in school should be even addressing the subject of dating. If you do, your priorities are badly mixed up. Prior to dating, your learning skills must be develop and your academic progress successful. One of the signs of maturity for dating is that you are educationally successful.

Thirdly, you need to ask yourself, what is mature love and am I ready for it?

Teen 2:  What do you mean by mature love? Isn’t love, love?

Dr. Smith: There is a difference between matured love and infatuation.
Mature love is:
•    Sensitive and respectful
•    Will wait on marriage to engage in sex 
•    Kind, patient and loyal
•    Honest and trustworthy
•    Values and builds you up
•    A decision you make after considering your priorities
Infatuation on the other hand is:
•    Jealous and suspicious
•    Controlling and possessive
•    Insecure and conditional
•    Risky and irresponsible
•    Unforgiving and impulsive
•    Selfish and inconsiderate
•    Indulges in sex and other forms of lovemaking

Teen 1:  Wow! So then, is there an age when you are ready to date?

Teen 2:  Maybe when we are Fifty!

Dr. Smith: With what is happening to young people these days, and the mess they get themselves into, maybe that’s not a bad idea. However, teenagers between the ages of 13-16 should not be dating. They should be making good grades in school and just have friends. Dating should start when you are matured enough to relate to the opposite sex with the goal of getting to know this person who is a potential mate.  You should start dating when you have the skills to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. In other words when you are in college or have a career and you are emotionally ready to deal with the challenges of relationships.

Teen 2:  Definitely we are not half ready for that.

Teen 1: I see many of my friends get hurt over a relationship and they don’t know how to handle the pain, so they begin to talk about suicide and all that stuff. Actually two of my friends committed suicide in the past three years because of broken relationships.

Dr. Smith: That’s why I am saying that young people should be emotionally ready to deal with the challenges of relationships before getting into one. And by the way, no matter what happen to you in a relationship, suicide is never an option. Suicide resolves and accomplishes nothing. The only looser in the drama is the one that commits the suicide. Parents and friends will grieve, but they will eventually get over their grief. But your death is irreversible. You are the biggest looser. Therefore, suicide is never an option.

Teen 2: And this thing about “sexting” I am not into that, I am not taking any nude picture of myself and send it to anyone. I think that’s nasty. But the kids at school are into that stuff, its kind a weird though, don’t you think?

Dr. Smith: Of course it is, as a matter of fact that’s Child Pornography, and that is illegal. Besides, you have to respect yourself first before someone will respect you. Many young people, who took compromised pictures of themselves and send it to friends, live to regret their actions. It came back to haunt them at the wrong time, for example, after winning the Miss America Beauty Pageant, they have to give up the crown because of lewd pictures of themselves surfacing.

Teen 1: I see why this is so complicated. I guess our parents are right. I was not thinking about marriage, or any of that stuff, I just wanted to be loved.

Teen 2: This stuff is not for us we need to spend more time on our homework.

Dr. Smith: Most definitely, you see dating has its place and time, right now you both need to stay focus make good grades and enjoy your youth. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13 that love is patient and kind. You need to be kind to yourself and be patient with your life. As you grow, do what the Psalmist says, “trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your way acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”. (Ps 127:1)

Teens:  Thanks Doc for clearing up this matter for us, we appreciate your time.

Dr. Smith:  You are welcome. God bless, and remember, stay focus, enjoy your youth, your future is still in front of you, don’t spoil it today.
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