My oldest daughter just turned 15. Which means in California she can get a drivers permit in 6 months.  And in the George home it means she can date in 15 years. Just kidding. Sort of.

What’s funny to me is that she doesn’t have a great interest in driving. I couldn’t wait to get my license, she is content to have us drive her around everywhere.  And when it comes to dating, she doesn’t have a great desire to start that yet either.  #grateful.  I was not that way. My parents told me I had to wait till 16 to date, so I had a date scheduled on my 16th birthday.  I took a lovely young lady to a Michael J. Fox movie, and then afterwards she had me drop her off at another date.  True story. 

I heard on a podcast recently that our kids today have boundary-less lives.  Since social media is all up in their business 24/7, none of them have any secrets or things to learn about each other.  Dating and driving once represented freedom and the chance at falling in love, but with so much being shared online and through texting, many of the boundaries we parents grew up with are not the reality our kids are experiencing. Perhaps the primary job of a parent today is to provide some fences in their wild, wild west culture.

So with the possibility of my daughter wanting to date in the near future, here are a few boundaries to help her.

1. Group dates are best.

There will be time for the dinner and a movie and being a grown up. But for now, have friends. Date in groups.  Get to know how people interact with others before you’re alone over candle light and you can barely see that cute boy’s acne. This age is filled with raging emotions, curiosity, and a desire to move too quick too fast. Plus as science tells us, our teenagers literally have lost 1/3 of their cerebral cortex.  Friends around can help bring sanity while we wait for our brain to catch up with our heart.

2. Play the dad card.

When someone does ask you out, tell them we have a rule in our home… they have to ask me first.  This will allow you to fend off the ones not worth it, and will help me tell them “no” if you’d rather not.  Blame it on me.  I can take it.

3.Minimize regrets.

When you one day get married, the last thing you want is a bunch of bad date memories haunting your marriage and intimacy.  All the horror stories of pictures that end up online, reputations ruined and date rape are someone’s reality.  Stay out of situations you’ll regret.  Nothing good happens after midnight. No one makes good decisions after a few drinks.  And if you’ve decided to “Netflix and Chill” in an empty house with your date… of course you’re going to get tempted! And just because he talks about God doesn’t mean he’s godly.  So steer clear.

4. Danger: Heartbreaks ahead.

Take a look around at your friends who have had their hearts broken and are drowning their sorrow in Katy Perry songs and social media rants.  Are you ready for that?  You’ve got school and friends and college choices… careful before you add a broken heart. It happens to all of us eventually.

5. Nothing can change what your mom and I… and God think about you.

Even if you disregard all of this advice, even if you cross every boundary that we give you, remember… we love you. God loves you. We want what is best for you and while these next few years of your life will seem like an eternity, the time will go quick, but your choices can last a life time.  Just know, if you make a mistake… you are loved so much more than you’ll ever know. You always are safe at home.

Well that about does it… those are the boundaries. 

But here are the rules:  No dating till I’m dead.

Much love,

Your Father.

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