So turn from your youthful desires; pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace -- along with those who call on the Lord with purity of heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
Question 1: When should teens begin dating?
Answer: If we look at dating as finding someone to marry, then what is the purpose for teenagers who are not ready to get married to start dating seriously? Most young people are not ready for marriage or even thinking about marriage. In fact, most young boys and girls are trying to figure out what the opposite sex is all about — and this is not an easy job. During this teenage period, it is important for them to understand the opposite sex because in doing so they will discern the type of spouse they will want to marry.
This is why, for young teenagers, it doesn’t make sense to have what we call one-on-one dating. And the reason for this is that they are not ready to “commit” themselves to one person. Teenagers would be wiser to consider group “dating” at this stage of their lives. It is a time to develop a great many friends of both sexes and to spend time together as a group. In this way, they can get to know a large segment of the opposite sex in an informal way without any pressure. Living chaste and virtuously must be encouraged.
Question 2: What should I warn my children about intimacy during dates?
Answer: You should warn your children to set limits of intimacy when they are about to start dating. The Church teaches that sexual intimacy is only for married couples —that is between one man and one woman. Dating is not a time to experiment with sex and one should know when going too far is too far. There are a lot of steps between kissing and sex — and this is where the word “NO” comes into play. Teach your children to be pure and to learn to say no to premarital sex acts, which are sins against the Sixth Commandment (a form of adultery).
Question 3: What should I tell my children about abortion and homosexuality?
Answer: You should make it very clear to your children that abortion is wrong because it is wrong to kill an unborn child — very wrong. Also, after a woman has an abortion, her life is never ever the same. Abortion can leave a woman with guilt, regret, and depression, sometimes leading to drug use and suicide. An abortion can also hurt your chances of having a baby later due to uterine scarring or weakened cervical muscles, which can make it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term.
Homosexual Lifestyle: "... females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper... Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you . . . (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Answer: In the case of talking to your teens about alcohol and drugs, it is crucial to show that these substances when mishandled and misused can wreck one’s life. Alcohol and drugs have wrecked more lives and families, especially when they have become an addiction. It is also important to mention that there are 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), etc. which do work with those that have problems with alcohol and drugs. The reality that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we need to care for them is a good image to present to teenagers.
Every friend declares his friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only (Sirach 37:1).
Answer: In order to avoid the wrong types of peer pressure, young teens need to form a group of friends who accept and support their belief system -- friends who have the same Christian values. Find people who belong to a church youth group or a faithful scouting group. Steer clear of groups whose values go against your Christian values and morality. The litmus test for this is that true friends will be there when things get rough by steering clear of temptations.