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Teaching Your Teen to Treat the Opposite Sex With Dignity

We often tell our teenagers, “When you go out with someone, you’re going out with either your future mate or someone else’s future mate.” It helps our children treat the opposite sex with dignity and honor. There are a few other specifics they need to learn:

What a girl needs to know about boys

First, boys are stimulated by sight and by touch.

Second, girls must be prepared to set the physical boundaries in the dating relationship. Few boys have been taught and trained by their parents to set limits; they are naturally the aggressors. In her book, Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot stridently challenges young women: “A woman holds the key to the situation where a man’s passions are involved. He will be as much of a gentleman as she requires and, when the chips are down, probably no more, even if he has strict standards of his own.”

Third, girls should allow a young man to assume the initiative in a relationship. Yes, this runs counter to the culture, but it is a key lesson to learn if she wants to form a successful marriage union in the future. Your daughter should be supportive as a boy does show initiative and moral leadership in the relationship.

What a boy needs to know about girls

First, our sons need to be taught to be moral leaders and draw boundaries for behavior on dates ahead of time. From the first date, the girl should know what her date will and will not do (physically speaking) in the relationship. Daniel 1:8 says, “Daniel made up his mind in advance that he was not going to defile himself with the king’s food.” His convictions were in place; his courage was solidifying ahead of time. These verbalized convictions keep a young man out of the trap.

He must also be warned and prepared to deal with girls who will come after him sexually and emotionally. The rules of sexual conduct between male and female have changed in our culture from the biblical model. Your son needs to be on guard and protect his heart as he relates to girls. And he must understand that it is inappropriate to discuss matters of sexual intimacy with a girlfriend.

Second, he needs to know that girls are stimulated sexually differently than he is. Sight and touch stimulate men. Relationship, words, or kindness generally stimulate women.

Third, some girls today are hungering for affection they are not receiving from their fathers. A young man needs to understand that if a girl is snuggling up to him and being overly affectionate, she may be subconsciously trying to fill some empty gaps in her heart.

Fourth, a young man must treat a young lady with dignity. This starts with common courtesies—opening doors, paying for dates, etc. My sons know what I ask a young man who is taking their sister out, and they know they are accountable to me for treating a young lady the same way.

Adapted from Parenting Today’s Adolescent. Copyright 1998 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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