All but gone are the days when an invite to a movie came by way of a phone call or a shy, in-person meeting.

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Sure, he knew this gap was normal for teenagers and their parents. “Okay,” he replied, “I’ll take that for an answer . Although it’s uncomfortable, he’s definitely on the right track.

But he wasn’t ready yet to surrender his role as a parent. Just what role should parents play to steer a child away from the traps in the most popular sport for many teens—the dating game? For us, dating or courting is a small part of the overall process of determining God’s will for discovering your life partner in marriage.

Kauffman's advice: Before worrying about your kids and dating, teach your teens to have high self-esteem and give them opportunities to get to know other kids in socially safe environments (5 Tips for Choosing a Teen Camp is a good place to start! For more information about raising teenagers, see Taking the Angst out of Raising Teens.

Tell us what age you think is appropriate for your kids to start dating in the comments below.

For one, group dating is more popular than ever (not to be confused with double dating, this is when girls and boys hang out en masse, usually at a mall or a restaurant).

As a result, fewer boys are actually asking girls out on one-on-one dates.But moms who've already been through this stage say it needn't be cause for stress; the key is to figure out whether your particular child is truly ready to begin dating. Nichole N., a mom of five, spaning from age 6 to 25, believes that it "depends on the maturity of the child." And Angie B.adds that "The age for dating is different [in] every family," and that much depends on a particular child's level of preparedeness.She suggests parents sit down with their pre-teens to discuss the issue calmly, before it even comes up.This conversation will help you figure out if your child is ready.He hoped the conversation he was about to initiate would help close that gap. ” he asked, struggling to disguise the wobble he felt in his voice. Bill gripped the steering wheel and shot a glance into her eyes. Bill and his wife had talked before with Julie about God’s standards about sex, but soon she would be dating and making moral choices on her own. They were just a block from home, so gently but firmly, Bill pressed the final question: “Well then, would you mind telling me how far you intend to go? ” He stopped the car a few feet short of the driveway and feigned a look into the mailbox. If he had waited for a month, he wouldn’t have been ready for what she said. In our family the focus has not been on dating, but more on training our teens in their character and in how to develop a relationship with the opposite sex.