I write this as a 23-year-old abstinence educator who is incredibly grateful to her parents: One of the most prominent memories I have of my parents shaping my views on sex and dating is from my middle school years. I remember my mom and dad making constant hints about my relationships with guys and girls in my classes. They were always steering me towards friendships and away from dating.
“Andrea, we just love that you are friends with BOTH guys AND girls.” “It is so healthy for you to have guy friends, without worrying about dating.” “Isn’t is more fun to be friends with lots of people than to spend your time trying to date just one person?” “Dating is nice, but we are so glad that you don’t feel pressure to do that right now. There is plenty of time for that later, but now we just love seeing you with so many friends.”
With all of their “subtle” encouragement, I practically thought dating was the dumbest thing someone my age could do! The most remarkable part? My parents never had to set rules about or forbid me from dating…because they did such a good job convincing me that it wouldn’t be in my best interest in the first place! The result? I was an emotionally and relationally healthy person when I got to college and finally did meet someone worth dating.