WT 149: Teens & Dating with Karen and Greg Stubbs


Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Parenting Together

Karen’s 2019 Speaking Engagements

Premarital Mentoring - WinShape Marriage Retreats

Today Greg Stubbs joins Karen in the studio to talk about how they navigated dating relationships during their children's teenage years. They discuss the boundaries they set for their kids during the dating years, how they handled boyfriends and girlfriends they didn't like, and how they kept the lines of communication open during these important years. 

Question 1: Did you have dating rules for your kids? When did you lay those out for your kids or how did you let them know what your expectations/standards for dating were?

Karen’s Answer: We had a few rules: date at 16 years old, be home by 11:00, we had to meet any boy taking our girls out and the boys needed to walk the girls to the door and/or pick them up at the house (not honk the horn so they’d come running out). We told the girls these rules when they entered high school, before anyone ever asked them out, that way they knew what the answer would be beforehand. Establish expectations, and rules before it is an issue, that takes the emotion out of the situation.

Question 2: Did any of your kids ever have a boyfriend/girlfriend that you didn’t like? Any tips for how to handle this situation?

Karen’s Answer: Yes. ☺ How did we handle it? Very carefully.  Lots of prayer, and we set up ground rules with the boy early on in the relationship.  He didn’t last long.

Question 3: Did your kids include you in their relationships? What I mean is, were they open with you about who they liked or how a relationship was going? Any suggestions to help me get my daughter to open up to me?

Karen’s Answer: We were fortunate that our children did talk to us. I’m not saying they told us everything because I doubt they did, but they told us a lot I think.  They were open to what we had to say, especially Greg’s opinion with the girls. How to get teens to open up? Listen, don’t interrupt them, and when you talk to them, make sure you are calm and not accusing.  Let your children know you are on their side. Be available.

Question 4: My son is in college and has recently started seriously seeing a girl who we like a lot. BUT - they are talking marriage already! He is a senior and she still has a year left of school to go. How would you counsel your children? We think they are moving way too fast but don’t want to push him away.

Karen’s Answer: I guess this is a personal thing, if he is a senior in college it doesn’t sound too early to me.  I don’t know how long they have dated, but they say at 1-2 years before marriage, it’s important to go through an entire season of life together.  But, just because they are talking marriage doesn’t mean they are getting married tomorrow. A lot of times if you as the parent start asking questions to get your child to think things through that helps.  At the college age, especially a senior, it’s best to make suggestions not demands. When Kelsey and Kevin were thinking of getting married, in college, Greg asked them a series of questions, “How will you provide for yourself?” “Where will you live?” etc, they both had answers to these questions and we gave them our blessing. Stay calm.