The most common question I hear from kids is “What can I do?” They really don’t want to know what they can’t do, they want to know what they can do. In my book I talk about this in more detail but here is a brief thought for parents to process through.
Most kids from even the strongest families will eventually wonder, how far is too far? If you are raising your children in a faith based home you do have the Bible to lean into on this topic. But, I will be honest. I wish the Scripture contained more specific words. Within the faith based community there are a lot of different opinions about physical affection outside of marriage. Some say that a man and a woman shouldn’t even kiss until their wedding day. Others have different thoughts of what is healthy, and God-honoring.
The few points I think we can all agree on is that when it comes to setting this standard your son or daughter needs to be on board, part of the conversation, and it needs to take place before the dating stage of life begins.
As the parent, it’s important to find the time to intentionally discuss the potential dangers, pitfalls, and experiences that go along with the physical components of a relationship. During my parent training I discuss this in great detail and provide some specific hints on how to have this conversation. Part of this discussion needs to include the differences between guys and girls – and how males and females approach sexuality in a very different way.
I think it is very appropriate and necessary to also talk about back rubs and massages, tickling and teasing, as well as lying down together to watch movies. Often time’s, young girls especially, just want to be close to their boyfriends, which often leads to compromising one’s values and boundaries. It seemed innocent and sincere at the time, but now there is regret.
As parents we often put a lot of time and energy into dealing with homework hassles, hauling our kids around town for their sports events, and other things that are important. But none of these things are as important as helping our kids build character into their lives, character like self-control. This form of character training is pertinent in reference to healthy relationship standards and boundary setting.
As a parent, how are you doing? Have you had this type of conversation with your teen son or daughter? If you were to ask your son or daughter today how far is too far, what would their response be?