"My son and daughter are of high school age. What instruction should I give them regarding dating and the modern custom of 'going steady'? I know they need the benefits of social contact with those of the opposite sex for their personality development. But I don't want to give them the wrong guidance. What should I teach my son and daughter?"
This is a vital question neglected by too many parents today. Many modern-day parents are afraid to discourage going steady. They're afraid of what other people might say! Parents, teachers and ministers are in confusion about moral standards! Teen-agers ask where they can go for the truth for guidance "along the way to marital happiness. Almost no one, it seems, has considered that the one who does know is the God who created us male and female the God who set all laws in motion, and who revealed them to us in the Bible. Perhaps you never have thought of the Bible as the foundation of all knowledge. Where else could one go for the TRUTH about social behavior before, during and after marriage! God intended young people to become acquainted with one another through right "dating" practices. Most boys and girls start dating today as soon as they enter their teens and many start before. This means their childhood is shortened with early dating, which leads to "going steady," and often pregnancy and early marriage. How early do American youngsters begin dating? Dr. Carlfred B. Broderick, professor of family relationships at Penn State University, has said, in an issue of Newsweek. "We may have to go down to the second grade to find a (dateless' class. Ten years ago dating was considered an adventurous and unusual activity for a 12-year-old. Today teachers in many communities across the nation report that some 9year-olds are beginning to date and 12-year-olds are going steady. In one middle-class school district that we studied, 40 percent of the fifth graders (mostly 10- and 11- year-old children) had started to date. Children should never begin dating so early in life. "Without knowing what they are doing, or why, or what trouble they are headed for, too many American subteens are rushing and being rushed into growing lip too fast and too soon... Going steady, engaged in constant campaigns to captivate each other or be captured, the young boys and girls are involved in subteen romances, complete with wrap. around dancing and necking," warned an editor of LIFE magazine. Parents who promote early dating or who agree to the practice, fearful of bringing on a family war, are directly responsible for this situation! But what about "going steady"? Teen-agers assume the term "going steady" automatically means they can have more freedom in physical intimacy! A couple going steady assumes they are free to do all the kissing and necking they wish and even '(go all the way" without a second thought. That is sin. The apostle Paul plainly said: "FLEE FORNICATION. Every [other] sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" ( I Cor. 6:18). And verses 9 and 10 of this same chapter say, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." The Commandment forbidding adultery and all illicit sex relations was given to man to protect marriage and the family. When an individual member of a family suffers dishonor or disgrace, ALL are wounded and hurt! When a man marries a girl, he not only joins his life to hers, but, in a broader sense, to her parents, brothers and sisters! She in turn brings her life into the family circle of his blood relatives. So, premarital relations can involve not only the couple, but her family and his. In a national poll on teen-agers going steady, 72% of the girls and 74% of the boys admitted that dating only one person leads to more physical intimacy than dating more than one. A good principle: don't go steady unless you are prepared for marriage and are planning to get married in the near future. Date a number of girls (or boys) and broaden your horizon in dealing with the opposite sex. Going steady opens the way to fornication or to an early marriage with the wrong person. More than 20,000 boys and girls between 12 and 15 are married in the United States! Teen-age marriage hits hardest at those who have been going steady the longest, who come from unhappy homes, or who have no plans for education beyond the 12th grade. Divorces occur six times more often among those who marry under the age of 21 than among the 21-plus brides and grooms. Statistics indicate 53% of all teen-age weddings are forced by pregnancy. When should young people get married? In the December, 1968 PLAIN TRUTH, Me. Armstrong said: "Based on actual experience, my judgment and I think it is sound judgment guided and approved by God is that until out of the 'teens' a boyar girl is too young to marry! And it is also my judgment and I think it is sound and approved by God based on lifelong experience counselling on marriage problems of hundreds of people that even 20 is too young to be the best age for marriage. "The best age for a man to marry is around 24 to 26, after he has devoted those top aptitude years between 16 and 25 for mature education, experience, and preparation after he has acquired the knowledge, preparation and preliminary experience to assume adult responsibilities after he is able to assume the responsibility of supporting a wife and family! And the best age for a girl to marry is between 23 and 25, when she has utilized those top aptitude years for preparation, and is prepared to assume the duties of wifehood and motherhood the responsibilities of planning, decorating, arranging a home, keeping it, and being a help and inspiration to her husband." (From "Did She Marry Too Young?" The kind of dating done nowadays commonly leads to situations sought by those who have nothing on their minds but kissing, necking, petting, and committing fornication. Most teen-agers go out twice a week and the most popular activities are going for a drive, dancing, getting together for a party or going to the movies, There is usually no place for the old-fashioned chaperone. They are left to themselves to do as they please. God commands all: Flee fornication! Stay away from places and people that will lead to "loving it up." Develop the art of dating as it should be of going to educational events and places, taking part in sporting activities, and going on outings with parents Or other adults. Youth needs to learn the true values of life that breaking the laws of God will exact a terrible penalty.' PROMISCUITY DOESN'T PA Y! It doesn't lead to happiness in life. It only breaks down the character traits of trust, responsibility and honesty! Youthful LUST and VANITY can completely DESTROY young lives! What a fearsome thing it is to see mere teenagers sobbing out their hideous problems of PREGNANCY, a VILE DISEASE a wretched, miserable, BROKEN life, even before it's really begun! It's time PARENTS KNOW WHAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE DOING. It's time YOU PARENTS began to live by the laws of God yourselves, and teach your children the great values of a CLEAN CONSCIENCE, a WHOLESOME life a future of true freedom! God's laws are GOOD. They are HOLY. They are designed to bring us happy lives, healthy minds and bodies, and real success! It's time we were far more righteously indignant at the VILE practices of a generation of God-defying, degenerate, FRUSTRATED humans who do not know the way to true peace and happiness! For further information, our booklet, Dating - Key to Success or Failure in Marriage.