This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Discussing Dating with Homeschool Teens, Interview with Melanie Wilson. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Discussing Dating with Homeschool Teens, Interview with Melanie Wilson
We are excited to have our friend, Dr. Melanie Wilson from Homeschool Sanity Podcast, join us for a discussion on a challenging subject: Dating!
As most of you know, Melanie is a “psychologist turned homeschool mom of six”. (In fact, that is the name of her website: Psychowithsix.com.) Because Melanie has training in psychology, homeschools and has LOTS of kids, we thought she would be a wonderful resource for discussing dating.
The history of homeschooling and dating
Dating can be a touchy subject (no pun intended) in the homeschool community. Back in the early days of homeschooling, courtship had become a popular idea. (If you are not familiar with that movement, parents chose a spouse for their young person. Then the two were allowed to “court” to get to know each other- always under parental supervision until the wedding day.) Some folks from that generation may remember the popular book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (now debunked by the author, Joshua Harris).
In those days 7Sisters Vicki and Marilyn were in leadership in their local homeschool organization so created quite the stirs when they shared concerns about the wisdom and emotional health of courtship models of relationships. They proposed, instead, that teens should be raised to develop self-government, wisdom and relationship skills so that they could make good marriage decisions for themselves.
Melanie understands the problems with dating in our modern culture, so she understands where courting came from. (Not only that, but courtship was an “old-fashioned idea” and “old-fashioned” was hip in those days.) However, Melanie points out that the problem she has seen with her clients are often in “casual dating or sexual dating” situations. Melanie also remembers a young man that she knew who attempted suicide when his girlfriend ended their relationship. The heartbreak was too difficult for him.
Melanie’s suggestions for dating
Melanie’s oldest homeschoolers came into their teen years with a mom who was leaning towards the “safety” of well-supervised relationships, if not following the courtship model. She was hoping she could keep her teens from experiencing broken hearts, unwanted pregnancies or sexually-transmitted diseases in this way.
However, God gave her an oldest son who was a strong-willed young man. Her desires for dating had to be set aside when dealing with such a strong-willed young man. That is because he wanted to date…and he was persistent!
Taking into consideration the current pressures of dating and the overreactions of the homeschool community in the past, Melanie has some suggestions that have been working for her family:
- Discuss dating with your homeschool high schoolers
- Advise them not to date unless they want to have a serious relationship (no “playing the field”)
- If they have someone they would like to date, ask them to explain what that means to them and what they will do to protect and respect the person they are dating.
- This is because it is the teen’s responsibility to make healthy choices.
- Then it is the parent’s responsibility to present the pros and cons of dating at that particular time.
- In other words, the parent becomes an educator about dating.
The next opportunity that Melanie had the opportunity to deal with, was her next son met someone at his high school job. He came to her and asked her permission to ask a girl at work out on a date.
- She said, “Absolutely!” That is because Melanie had observed her son’s maturity and wisdom.
Have open and frank discussions about sex and safety with all your teens (male and female).
- Melanie points out some current statistics for sexual activity in teens:
- The risk of giving or receiving a sexually transmitted infection is one in four of sexually active adolescents, according to the National Institutes of Health
- Occasionally, the CDC says that these STI can cause infertility in women
- Melanie points out that God says “don’t do it outside marriage”
- Melanie recommends the book Sex Has a Price Tag: Discussions about Sexuality, Spirituality and Self-Respect by Pam Stenzel
Lastly and most importantly, before and after discussing dating with your homeschool teens:
- Pray for your teens, no one can pray like a Mama!
The number one key to discussing dating with homeschool teens is relationship between mom and teen
The relationship with your homeschoolers are foundational for helping them prepare for dating or managing dating situations.
- For teens who do make a mistake, teach them about forgiveness (and model forgiveness yourself). Never let them think about you as being the one that says, “I’m SO disappointed with you!” Let them know you will ALWAYS love them.
- Teens who feel loved by their parents and who have nonjudgemental communication with their parents are the ones who will talk to their parents about the pros and cons, ups and downs of dating. Therefore, spend LOTS of time discussing dating with your homeschool teens.
More about Dr. Melanie Wilson
- Melanie has designed some really helpful book with accompanying planners: The Organized Homeschool Life
- Also, you do not want to miss her guide: A Year of Living Productively (where you learn your own personal formula for being more productive)
- Not only that, elementary students will LOVE her Grammar Galaxy curriculum
- Also, check out this interview with Melanie Wilson about handling screen time with teens.
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