Young Love And The Role Of Parents – Hope 103.2

Young Love And The Role Of Parents

By Clare BruceWednesday 30 Sep 2015Open House with Stephen O'Doherty

Listen: Dr Allan Meyer chats to Sheridan Voysey about the role of parents in their childrens’ love lives.

Part 4 of 7 in ‘The Search For Intimacy’ Series

 

If you’re a parent of teens or young adults, you have a crucial role to play in helping to guide their love life.

That’s the view of Dr Allan Meyer, the author of several Christian-based relationships courses, and psychologist and parenting blogger Collett Smart.

Both believe that parents shouldn’t be shy of giving their advice when it comes to matters of the heart.

Dr Meyer says parents can help to prevent heartache, whether their children are teenagers or young adults. His belief is based in Biblical principles and in his own life experiences.

It’s OK To Protect Your Childrens’ Hearts

Red heart shape on a wooden background

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Dr Meyer believes the serial-dating approach can cause broken hearts, and recommends brotherly-sisterly friendships as a better way for young men and women to get to know each other before entering a romance.

He taught his own children to approach love in this way. In an interview with Hope Media’s Sheridan Voysey, he describes how he stepped in when he felt one young man was inappropriate in his intentions for his young daughter.

“I remember the first time a young guy came to my house to want to date my daughter [when] she was 15 years of age,” he recalled. “I said to him, “well before we go there, let’s talk”. And for 40 minutes I explained to him the value I had on her, the sense that I knew that for her to get engaging in romantic exercises that didn’t lead anywhere would be damaging to her, and as a result, as a Dad I was intending to guard her.

“And so until such time as I was aware that not only his intentions were honourable, but his intentions actually had a future, he wasn’t getting one-on-one time with my daughter.

“The funny thing was, he never came back. There was an attitude there, that it’s all about his own personal pleasure and responding to the excitement of the moment — rather than the dignity of another human life, and the value of a human life, and treating that life with real care.”

Friendship Is Best For Young Teenagers

Legs and sneakers of teenage boys and girls sitting on the sidewalk

Pyschologist and parenting writer Collett Smart agrees that young teens should stick to friendships rather than serious dating.

“14 yr olds do not need to have intense boyfriends or girlfriends,” she said. “Group dates with a bunch of girls and guys to public places or homes, supervised by an adult, helps teens to get to know what they like in a girl/guy, learn about the opposite sex and become comfortable being themselves.”

She says parents should have respectful conversations with their teens, as they start to develop an interest in the opposite sex.

“It is naïve of parents to think that their young teen doesn’t develop feelings for a boy or girl at various times in their high school years,” she said.

“These feelings change quickly and often, but it is important not to put them down as ‘silly’ or childish. It is a normal part of growing up and becoming a teenager.”

As Your Teen Matures Into An Adult

Young adult couple smiling at each other

Parents with young adults, or teens who are 18 and independent, should still share their opinion about their dating choices, but take care to stay respectful.

“Telling a young adult that he/she cannot see someone or engaging in constant nagging about the person can sometimes drive secrecy or outright rebellion,” she said.

“If you are too oppressive and restrictive you will be guaranteed distance,” she said. ”If you always keep the door open for discussions, your teen will be more likely to come to you with questions or problems.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Share Your Thoughts With Your Teen

Mum and teenage daughter chatting on the lounge

Dr Meyer said his own sister landed in a very painful, destructive marriage and then divorce — which may have been prevented if their father had voiced his opinion.

“My father, in his heart, felt like he was the wrong man for her, but he never felt like he had the right to speak up,” he said.

“My sister told me only a year or so ago, that when she was in the car on the way to the [wedding], she only wished my father would have said to her “Margaret, you don’t have to do this”, and she would’ve turned the car around and gone home.

“If only my dad had felt like he had the right to say to my big sister, “Margaret, I think he’s the wrong guy for you, I don’t think this is the right man”, and that’s all it would’ve taken, and she would never have gone down that pathway.”

Helping A Daughter Make The Right Choice

Teenage couple in love drawing hearts

Dr Meyer intervened a second time in the love life of his own daughter, with positive outcomes.

“She fell in love with the wrong guy,” he said. “I knew he was not the right guy for her. And the amazing thing was that she actually listened to me. I’ll never forget the night she came down to my bedroom with tears running down her face, and she said to me “daddy are you sure?”

“And I said to her “sweetheart, just trust me. He’s not the right guy for you.

“Well, she spent six months crying and sad about that, but at the end of that six months, God brought the right guy into her life. And the day I spoke to him, I knew “this is the right guy for my daughter”.

“He came and said, “could I court your daughter?”

“We met together and talked, and I know this will scare people, but 14 days later, they were engaged. It wasn’t that they didn’t know each other, they’d just never courted each other. They were kind of in each other’s worlds, but then God opened his eyes.

“It’s like God did the introduction, and I could just say “sweetheart, he’s the guy for you, he’ll be good for you”.

A Brave Parent, A Happy Outcome

Mum and teenage son chatting in kitchen

Dr Meyer shares a similar story about a girl in a church youth group that he led.

“A girl in my youth group was dating a guy for 18 months,” he said. “She came to her dad with a desire to get engaged, and he said, “sweetheart, please don’t do this because I don’t think he’s the right guy for you”.

“So just because she honoured her dad – he didn’t demand this of her – she broke off the relationship.

“I’m so grateful for a man like that. I thought, “dad, you’re her hero”, because her father had the courage to say to her, “in my heart, I think he’s not the guy for you”.”

While onlookers criticised the father for interfering, the result was a happy one, as the girl later married a quieter young man who had watched her from afar. They are happily married to this day.

More On ‘The Search For Intimacy’

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