Teaching dating

Our efforts resulted in the “Richardson Dating Academy,” which you can read about in more detail in this month’s issue of the The more my wife and I counseled together, the more we realized this wasn’t just a good idea; it was our parental responsibility. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that parents “have not only the right but the sacred obligation, and they are under counsel from the leaders of the Church, to concern themselves with [their children’s] dating habits.” While we were emboldened, we were still unsure of exactly how we could fulfill our goals.We felt that no matter how we prepared our children, we needed to ensure that what we taught would be founded on solid gospel principles and standards and not just our own experience or bias.We used family home evenings, the dinner table, father’s interviews, and even driving in the car. Conversation topics included whom to date, what to do or not to do on a date, common courtesies, ideas for good activities, and how to act in mixed company.

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A favorite family home evening memory is the time we watched an older sister give her nearly 16-year-old brother advice and warnings about what to do at the end of a date—at the doorstep.

We laughed (and marveled at her wisdom) as she shared her own experiences and they role-played possible scenarios for success.

We specifically wanted our children to learn through discovery, observation, counseling together, and especially practicing relationship skills.

Our “curriculum” was based on our outline of gospel doctrines, Church standards and guidelines, skills, activities, and objectives that we wanted our children to know and practice before they started dating.

Sometimes they would say something like, “He likes her but she doesn’t like him.” We always asked additional questions like, “How can you tell?

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