Q: All the girls around me have been dating boys since like kindergarten. But my parents said I can’t date until I am 18, and even then I have to double-date! Can you believe it? Who in the world does not date in high school?! I really like this guy, and he is soooooo perfect in every way possible. I don’t want to date him behind their backs, but their rules feel so unfair. I don’t know what to do!

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Funny thing: The question I got right before yours was from another girl whose parents have the same no-dating-till-you’re-18 rule for her. Maybe your parents are in some sort of conspiracy together!? (Stranger things have happened.)

You’re definitely not the only girl who feels her parents’ rules about relationships are less than fair. You might be surprised by how many parents—particularly Christian parents—are giving their daughters stricter relationship boundaries. There are lots of reasons why, I think, but the bottom line is that your parents care about you and want you to have the best shot at a beautiful love story. A lasting love story. So even though you may never agree with your parents’ rules, I hope you realize that they do love you. And it can also help to know you’re not the only one living under relationship lock-down—even though I know it can feel like that at school, where it seems like EVERYone else is dating. But the truth is, there are a lot of girls who won’t date in high school (because their parent’s won’t let them, they choose not to, or because no one asks them out).

Where do you go from here? Well, let’s think this through. At this point, I see two choices:

  1. You can stick to the rules your parents are giving you (no dating for now).
  2. You can disobey your parents and date behind their backs.

If you want my advice (which I’m assuming you do, since you asked me the question!), I’d stick to the first option, as hard as that might sound. Can I share why? The Bible promises that you’ll please God and life will go better for you if you obey your parents, even if (especially if) you don’t think their rules are fair (see Exodus 20:12Ephesians 6:1, and Colossians 3:20). And having God’s blessing on your life is way, way, WAY better and cool and satisfying than the temporary pleasure of a boyfriend. God’s blessings will make your heart rich, and won’t have a bitter aftertaste like sin does (see Proverbs 10:22). Even though your crush seems perfect, if you’d have to go against your parents to date him, then he’s not God’s “perfect” for you right now.

On the bright side, as extreme as your parents’ no-dating rule sounds, it will most definitely save you a heck of a lot of heartache! Unlike your friends, you’ll have no regrets, no broken heart when that high school relationship ends (in like three months), no drama from having classes with your ex, and no shame from physical sin. And when you do meet your Mr. (Im)perfect, you’ll be older and have a much better chance of making the relationship work long-term.

So… I hear ya, sis. I really do. There were times when my parents said no to things that I thought were just fine, and it caused a lot of tension in our relationship. And my bad attitude sure didn’t change their mind. So my advice is to try your best to trust that God is using their decision to protect you, strengthen you and grow you into the young woman God wants you to be. Will your path look different from the girls’ around you? Probably. But—honestly?—with how many girls are emotionally scarred because of bad relationships in high school, “being different” might not be such a terrible thing after all. 😉 And—who knows?—maybe as they see you make wise decisions in the years ahead, they’ll invite you to have some input in their dating rules.

Love,

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