She’s Noticing Boys!
Over the years, I have had conversations with young moms who express that they are fearful of what it will be like when their children get older. They are especially concerned about how they will deal with their children when they start showing interest in the opposite sex. I remember feeling that way, wondering how we would get through those years. Now that I find myself walking alongside two young adult children, I am finding it to be more enjoyable than I imagined!
Over the years, much of what I did as a parent was motivated by fear. God has been so faithful to show me (and He continues to remind me) that ultimately He is the one who works in our children’s hearts and draws them to Himself. All of our best efforts as parents cannot do a work in their heart. It is a work of the Holy Spirit alone. He draws, He opens eyes, He transforms. Remembering that takes the burden off my shoulders and throws it on our faithful God.
My husband and I have attempted to begin preparing our children for when they would begin noticing the opposite sex, for as long as I can remember. We were determined to teach them how to interact in a godly way. When it came to my daughter in particular, as she got older I discovered that she had begun to feel guilty for noticing guys. She was so afraid of being flirtatious that she wouldn’t talk to them! As I became aware of this, I began to see that a change in approach was necessary.
One thing I have observed is that if we approach this particular issue with fear in our hearts, and with nothing but a bunch of rules, it will many times have the opposite result a parent desires. We don’t want them to feel guilty for having natural, God given attractions, or for noticing the opposite sex! Its what they do with the attraction and noticing that is important.
Thankfully, God began to show me how to begin an ongoing dialogue with my daughter. We would talk about what she finds attractive in a guy, and then I would direct the conversation. I would draw her out, find out she was thinking, and not become shocked at normal attractions. I saw that I didn’t want her to think she was doing something wrong by noticing guys!
God also continues to remind me that we need to be so careful when we see other young people who may be struggling and making poor choices in this area. We should not judge them and their parents, because that is another way our kids may get the message that noticing guys is a negative thing. Point out positive examples of teens. If you see teens who are going down a sinful path, make it a teaching opportunity by praying for them, reminding yourself and your kids that all of us are sinful and we could all choose the wrong path!
There are a lot of excellent resources that we can refer to, but ultimately we need to be on our knees and praying. Each child is different, and when it comes to dating there really isn’t much found in Scripture about the subject. But there is a lot that can be found about how to relate to and view our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We need to listen to our children and tune in, remembering that each child is different and will mature at different rates. Create an atmosphere of grace so that they know we will love them no matter what choices they make. Cling to God and ask for wisdom. It’s a daily process. We don’t need to be afraid! We can walk in the relief that God is the One who does the work.
“Teach them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 11:19 .
Tools for Parents of Teens: