My oldest is almost 13, so we’re definitely in that stage where we’re having to think about and discuss things like dating and setting some boundaries. We were sent a copy of the DVD of Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? by Parenting Made Practical and now I feel like we at least have a more organized starting point for making up our own family guidelines and expectations.
When I received the DVD and the accompanying workbook, I didn’t know what to expect. To be quite honest, when I saw that it was a Christian resource for helping parents guide their children into young adulthood, I was expecting it to encourage strict, rigid guidelines across the board. I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the 2 segments.
Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?
On the DVD, there are 2 pre-recorded sessions of Joy and Carla Link talking to a crowd about the topic of dating and courting. They call these sessions “A Parent’s Night Out,” but in the audience there were many preteen and teen kids there with their parents. At some point, I will watch this with my own older children, likely individually and not together, to encourage the discussions with them so we can be open and communicate about this tricky topic. Session 1 is Developing Your Dating Philosophy (50 minutes) and Session 2 is How to Make It Work (58 minutes).
In addition to the DVD, I received the workbook that goes with it. It’s like a really thick booklet with 56 pages and contains thorough notes, key points, scripture, advice, questions to answer, several fill in the blank areas to keep the viewer engaged in the material and notes, testimonies from people who have used this program before, and a bio on the Links.
I like that this program dissects traditional dating, courtships, and the concept that they bring up, which is friendship dating. Using a chart, which is also included on page 15 in the workbook, they talk about where a couple might be mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially at different stages of cultural dating and courtship dating. I would like to point out that they do bring up the point that no one really has a clear-cut definition of courtship. If you say that phrase to a dozen different people, each person will spew out a different explanation. For the examples in the lecture, he’s using the most sensible generalization of what most people would agree is part of courtship, such as not getting physical at all until the wedding, including holding hands and kissing.
The Links also describe what the mental, physical, spiritual, and social corners of growth would look like in a Friendship Dating scenario. I really like how they broke this down, including breaking this kind of dating into stages of Potential, Possible, Probable, and Proposal as far as how to come up with concrete and logical mutual expectations at different times during the relationship. This allows the couple, initially with the help of their parents, to break this down into sensible chunks so the couple can deal with only the stage they are in and not have to worry about something like marriage while they’re just getting to know their new friend that may one day be more. There’s a lot less “future pressure” this way for both parties.
This is definitely a worthwhile program to check out. It encourages parents to work with their preteen and teen children to come up with standards that they’d like to see in dating relationships, re-evaluating at each stage of the relationship all the way to the altar. It breaks it down so that young tweens aren’t worried about planning for their weddings when they’re not even close to ready for that kind of level of thinking. It gives them an age and developmentally appropriate way to look at dating in a more pure way, guided by their parents for a time. As the young adults get older, the reigns are handed over and the young couples headed toward marriage are able to take on the task of making boundaries and preparing themselves for that level of commitment. The great part is that, by that point in time, they’ve been given the tools needed to make mature decisions that aren’t emotion and hormone-based!
I love that this program empowers families to tackle the whole can of worms that is dating. Each set of parents and each child can individually come up with their own expectations and standards, so it is very customization for each individual person and relationship. The DVD workshop gives you everything you need to come up with a game plan that is agreeable to everyone.
See what other families thought of this program, and many others offered by Parenting Made Practical by clicking the banner below. The Crew reviewed another product that looks good for this same age group (around ages 8 or 9 and up) and their parents called Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think. There’s a book and DVD as part of that one. Check out the whole range of products. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!