0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk, sponsored by nextTalk.org, contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised. Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim Every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyber parent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter, find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:39 – Speaker 2
Today we’re starting a new three week series Love and Dating. But today Kim and I are here and we are going to talk specifically about having these conversations with your elementary and middle school kids. So these are really conversations to have before they’re actually dating.
0:00:57 – Speaker 3
It seems a little counterintuitive to talk to your five year old or your ten year old, but it’s important to start early with all the things that we talk about, setting that foundation early on so that they’re not completely new conversations as they step into the world and are actually wanting to date.
0:01:12 – Speaker 2
Well, and there are some core values and beliefs that you can speak into your kids at an early age about love, in dating, before they get to the place where emotions are involved, because once middle school hits and the hormones start going and all that stuff, sometimes you can’t have as logical conversations. So take this opportunity now, when they’re in elementary school, to really get some of these conversations in. It’s a great time before they have a crush or before all that stuff starts happening.
0:01:40 – Speaker 3
Our next show, we’re going to have our high school and college leaders on to discuss what to do when our kids are actually dating. So we’re going to set the groundwork for the predating conversations and then they’re going to come in and start talking to you about what that looks like when it’s actually happening. How do we talk to the kids about their raging hormones, what guidelines we should implement in our home with dating, and much more. So make sure you listen to the entire series. It’s going to be good.
0:02:03 – Speaker 2
0:02:05 – Speaker 3
How do we have conversations with our elementary and middle school kids about dating? I mean, how do we even start? That’s a question we get a lot.
0:02:10 – Speaker 2
Well, you know, and here I would say talk this over with your spouse and kind of say are we going to allow dating? What is this going to look like? You know one of our nextTalk leaders who have older kids. I love what she says. I want them to practice before they go to college. You know, under my roof, so I can kind of guide this relationship stuff, and I think that’s a very valid point. But at what age are you going to allow this?
One thing that I do caution parents of is you know, when your kids are like nine and 10, I would caution against saying at 16, you’re going to be able to date. And this is why because what if they’re not ready? You know, what if there’s something going on with your child and you’re like they’re just not ready yet to take on this form of you know, going out on an actual date by themselves? You know with someone, and so I would say how we handle it in our household? I have an eighth grader and a fourth grader right now. What I say is look, you’re going to get to date. When we get to high school we’re going to figure out exactly what that looks like. But you’re going to get to date because I want you to have that experience, I want to help guide you in that and that kind of thing. But these kind of conversations that you can talk now I know a lot of people. There’s a lot of controversy, too, about dating in middle school. Yeah, oh yeah, even high school frankly there’s controversy about everything.
0:03:29 – Speaker 3
Let’s just be honest.
0:03:30 – Speaker 2
You have to pick a side about everything right now. Yes, so true, and you know we like to take the stand here. There’s no right or wrong. This is your family, your choice, and I want you to be able to make that For us. You know, we haven’t really allowed, like, dropping off at a movie theater or anything like that. Dating in middle school. You know, what I have said to my middle schooler is hey, if there’s a boy that you want to meet up at the school dance with, or if you want to sit by him at a game or whatever, like that’s fine. You know, like I want them to be able to talk to me about those sorts of things. But as far as like letting them date, of course they use the term very loosely. Yes, so like if they have a boyfriend for 24 hours, they’re dating them even though they’ve never got anywhere.
0:04:10 – Speaker 3
And their life is over when it ends after three days.
0:04:12 – Speaker 2
you know Because it was the person they’ve been waiting for their whole life.
0:04:16 – Speaker 3
It was the one.
0:04:18 – Speaker 2
Yes, I remember those days in middle school, when you know it was so big and this was the love of my life, and for three days.
0:04:26 – Speaker 3
And that’s why it’s so important, because you are so illogical and emotional at that time in your life and you think everything is the end, I’ll be all. So that’s why it’s so important to talk about it early.
0:04:35 – Speaker 2
Talk about it early, before the hormones and the emotions are all kicking in. For sure you know. Talk to your husband or your spouse, if you’re a man listening. Talk to your wife. Talk and figure out your guidelines, like what are you comfortable with, are you going to let them date in high school and how are you going to approach this with your kids?
0:04:53 – Speaker 3
You know, we need to be really real on that for just a second. A lot of times you think that your spouse might be on the same page as you because maybe you’re similar and you don’t usually disagree.
0:05:03 – Speaker 2
Are we going to talk about dads and their girls? Oh, my goodness, we’re going to talk about dads and their girls. Right now, kim’s going here.
0:05:09 – Speaker 3
Well, we had two boys first and then a girl whom regularly my husband says you will live in the closet in the basement.
0:05:16 – Speaker 1
He just had the idea Until you’re 40, right.
0:05:18 – Speaker 3
Yes, and he always tells me he’s like I know guys because I am one, so I’m not going to let her be exposed to them. And so we have a lot of funny conversations now. But truly, when we start to talk about it seriously, it’s a difficult issue to be on the same page with. So don’t assume it’s going to be an easy conversation to decide. You know with your spouse what your dating guidelines are. It might be an ongoing one and something you disagree about and need to work through. So start that conversation early as well.
0:05:44 – Speaker 2
Well, and I would say, just as we say, it’s a continual discussion with your kids. Oh yes, when you have your husband and your daughters involved, this is going to be a continual discussion with your husband.
0:05:56 – Speaker 3
It’s a walk them through, and please don’t do what my dad did. You know I’m going to embarrass him here for a second, but he embarrassed me. So there you go. When I turned 16, we got a VHS, you know this is showing your age. It’s showing my age, my goodness gracious.
0:06:13 – Speaker 2
Any teens listening are like what is that?
0:06:16 – Speaker 3
Yeah, it’s this weird big box that was like the old version of a DVD and it was from my dad and he was, like you know, I came from a parent family of divorce so he sent it when I turned 16 for my birthday. I put it in, made the mistake of putting it in with all my friends there.
Oh no, a video? Yes, with your friends. Yes, and my dad was in his underwear, with my two brothers in their underwear, holding right when, holding rifles, talking about how I was supposed to watch the beginning of this video, but the rest was for any man that wanted to date me and they weren’t from Texas.
0:06:55 – Speaker 2
No, oh, this is to be noted, Yo, yes, and so the stereotypes are not just for Texas.
0:07:01 – Speaker 3
No, it was crazy and he was like I will hunt you down, don’t come to the door. I was just crazy, so don’t do that. That’s not a good. That’s not a good way to approach it with your daughter.
0:07:12 – Speaker 2
Yeah, you can joke about that, but not a good way to be serious about it.
0:07:15 – Speaker 3
Yeah, but dad’s. It’s an intense conversation. So, moms, if you’re thinking, oh, you know, it’s just going to be like this, don’t assume that your husband’s on the same page.
0:07:23 – Speaker 2
Well, and I would say to any dads listening if you want to have input into who your daughter chooses to date, date your daughter regularly, Absolutely, Take her out, talk to her about how men should treat her, treat your wife how you want your daughter to be treated, because that is sending a message to your daughter Like this is what’s normal in a relationship, what she’s seeing modeled in her parents and so men, that’s, you can do a lot contributing to who she’s going to choose to date just by modeling it well and taking your kid out regularly, your girl out regularly, your daughter, and having good conversation with her, talking about boys, and just don’t make it odd. You know it’s natural. It’s natural that they’re going to have crushes, but then talking them through it in a calm, logical fashion and include brothers in this conversation as well.
0:08:14 – Speaker 3
Oh, that’s a great point If you have them my husband is continually saying like sometimes they get a little rough, yeah. And he’ll say I never want her to think it’s okay to be hit or to be roughed up in any way by a boy. And so they’ll say you need to be gentle with your sister, kind with your sister. She needs to know that that’s the only acceptable way to be treated by a man. And so he says that all the time because our kids are at that age of wrestling and craziness. So include your boys in the conversation so they know their role in dating also.
0:08:45 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and you know we need to talk about crushes here because they’re gonna come up.
And they’re gonna come up in late elementary and middle school and so there are great opportunities kind of start talking about dating and that sort of thing. I do wanna reference our, if you have, if questions about sex or sexuality come up in these conversations, we did two separate shows on those we should have. So go back and listen to those. We have scripture you can read with your kids if they ask you about sexuality or sex or anything that you’re afraid to answer. We have Bible verses in those shows for you.
But as far as crushes, I don’t think we’ve really covered that on a show and I kinda wanna talk about it here. You know, this is a great opportunity when your kid comes home and says I like so and so First of all, that’s amazing that they tell you that they like this person Absolutely Because they feel safe with you. They know you’re not gonna blast it on social media. They know you’re not gonna tell your friends, so you’re doing something right if your kid does that. I don’t want you to feel like, oh my gosh, it’s too early for my kid to have a crush. It’s amazing if they tell you they have a crush.
0:09:48 – Speaker 3
And please, if you meet this crush or you’re dropping your dog. Don’t make a deal out of it, or don’t whisper something like oh so humiliating.
0:09:57 – Speaker 2
And don’t you know? If you’re at a class party or wherever, or another event where the other parent is there, don’t talk to the other parent about it. Don’t tell the other parent. My kid is crushing on your kid. That’s just not okay.
0:10:10 – Speaker 3
Now it’s a private conversation.
0:10:12 – Speaker 2
I will admit to maybe Facebook stalking some bombs. Like not friend requesting them or doing anything there, but just kinda looking them up saying, okay, what’s this family like you know?
0:10:21 – Speaker 3
okay, that’s shameful plug, but we do admit to that, right I mean, but that’s different than telling anyone else that’s different than telling or you gotta draw the line.
0:10:30 – Speaker 2
Yes, exactly, but crushes. What I like to say is when my kids say that one of the first questions that I ask them is well, tell me what you like about him or her, because that gives me some insight into the qualities that they’re looking for and the things I’m looking for. Of course, they’re gonna say cute or attractive or handsome or pretty whatever they’re gonna say because they notice the physical. But you’re also looking for they’re nice to people, they don’t cuss, they make good decisions. All their posts on social media are really great. You know things. That qualities is what you’re looking for, and if you’re not hearing those, ask for those. Yes, are they nice to people? So that your kid understands. Okay, there’s more than an outer appearance here that I need to have a crush on.
0:11:18 – Speaker 3
And you know these conversations are so important for them, not just for that topic, but just the idea that it’s important to talk through something with your parents or a trusted friend. Talk through things, say it out loud so you can hear yourself, because sometimes you’re saying, oh, I have a crush on this person and then, as they’re asking you about it, like are they nice or whatever, and you’re realizing, as you’re saying it out loud, why do I have a crush on this person?
It allows you to process when you can speak out loud, or allows your kids, I should say so. It’s important that they learn that process of saying out loud and having conversations about important things to them.
0:11:55 – Speaker 2
Well, and I would say also, if you have more than one kid, respect the privacy between the kids. So what I mean by that is if one of your children have a crush on someone and they’ve told you but they haven’t told their sibling or dad yet, how we handle it in our home is dad and mom don’t have secrets. So for instance, like if one of my kids tell me something and they’re like I don’t wanna talk to dad about this, I’ll say, well, we don’t have secrets. But I’ll tell dad to respect your privacy and not ask you about this. But with siblings I don’t do that, so I don’t tell, unless one of them says it at the dinner table or when we’re all together and they say I have a crush on so, and so then it becomes a family dialogue. But if one kid is telling me they have a crush on somebody, I don’t bring it up at the family dinner table because I want that kid to know. I’m not gonna tell your siblings or all your other siblings if you don’t want them to know.
0:12:48 – Speaker 3
And that goes back to creating a safe place for your kids.
0:12:51 – Speaker 2
And we have a show on that too. We sure do.
0:12:53 – Speaker 3
They need to know they can talk to you, that you’re tuned in to them and that you’re not gonna freak out with the information that you share.
0:12:59 – Speaker 2
Exactly the conversations. Also, things that is gonna come up in this conversation is dress code.
0:13:07 – Speaker 3
0:13:08 – Speaker 2
And so I kinda wanna talk. And again, another controversial topic. I mean, everything is so controversial these days.
0:13:15 – Speaker 3
Yeah, everybody has an opinion, especially with social media, cause they’re sitting behind a screen and so they say more, and it’s more controversial than ever. So you need to know how you feel and where you stand on things.
0:13:26 – Speaker 2
Yeah, if you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 10 am on AM 630,. The Word nextTalk Radio is listener supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through your donations To support our organization. Go to nextTalk.org and click on give. You know, we were just talking about dress code. We brought up dress code, kim.
Yes, and this is a big one because, as you’re talking about boys and girls and crushes and what they like, about people, they’re gonna start noticing how people dress and there’s less that’s involved and we’ve gotta talk about that. Here’s what I wanna say about dress code. I know there’s a lot of controversy on oh, girls have to dress a certain way, so boys won’t look at them, and I don’t like that because biblically we have girls and boys having equal responsibility and I share those Bible verses in my dress codes and dating chapter. But women, girls they have a duty to be modest. Boys have a duty to not lust Correct, so boys have a duty to look away. Girls have a duty to dress in a way where we’re not letting everything hang out right, but it’s an equal responsibility that falls on man and woman.
0:14:51 – Speaker 3
I agree, and it’s a tough one because that’s gonna look different for every family, what modest means. And so it’s important that you have that conversation again with your spouse and then with your kids. What does that look like and what is something that’s not modest? Give them an example of what you’re thinking so they understand where you’re coming from and why.
0:15:10 – Speaker 2
First, timothy 2, nine and 10. It says women should be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t look nice, that doesn’t mean you can’t love clothes and getting dressed up or whatever. But that should not be who you are. You should love people and be nice to people and what you use, the good things that you do with the mind that God has given you and the intelligence that God has given you. Those things should outweigh the physical appearance. And so this kind of plays into the conversation. When they say I have a crush on so-and-so and you say, well, why? Yeah, absolutely, this kind of plays into that conversation.
0:16:02 – Speaker 3
And we say it all the time. But again, these conversations start earlier and earlier. I’ve had them with my five and eight year old because they notice what girls wear and they notice pretty girls, and so talking about the qualities of these young ladies, even at this age, is something we’ve had to do. So please don’t make the mistake of thinking okay, I’ll have this conversation when they get to middle school.
0:16:24 – Speaker 2
No, because then the hormones are going yes and they’re not thinking logically.
0:16:27 – Speaker 3
They are noticing. Whether we wanna believe it or not, the boys and girls are noticing each other at early ages. They’re just built that way, and so the conversation, at an age-appropriate level, needs to start early.
0:16:39 – Speaker 2
Yeah, going back to the equal responsibility, I just read a Bible verse on the girls. Let me give you one for the boys, because, again, the Bible is an equal responsibility here. Yes, proverbs 625, do not lust in your heart after a woman’s beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. So one of the things we covered this in the pornography shows. Guys, one of the things that I work with with my little boy is look away. It doesn’t matter how a person is dressed. Your responsibility is to look away and not degrade or stare or try and take a picture of, or whatever, this lady, because that’s her decision. Yes, your responsibility is to look away.
0:17:22 – Speaker 3
My husband jokingly said the first time that you meet an attractive woman and you’re talking with her, my question would be what color are her eyes? Because that means you’re keeping your eyes where they need to be, noticing the things you need to notice, not looking down and staring at other things. And so we joke around about that. But again, these conversations are all the facets of it, like defining modesty for your family. I’m going back to that because I had a friend at one point in my life who I just love and she’s very sweet, but she would tell me like I was crazy for wearing my yoga pants to the gym because in her family they decided that anything that was form-fitting, even if it was for exercise, was not being modest. And so you really have to have those conversations and decide what that looks like for your family and make it clear so you’re not shocked or having you know a situation where you’re attacking your child as they’re walking out the door Because it wasn’t made clear in a conversation.
0:18:21 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and that’s your family, your choice on how you define that.
I would say moms, you know how you dress, your daughter will model, and your and your son will look for that. In a woman, I mean, that would be normal. So just take that into consideration, dad. The same way, if you, if your kids, see you staring at women all the time, yeah, the son is going to pick that up and the daughter is going to notice it and know that it’s disrespectful. And so there’s that equal responsibility again.
Um, kim, there’s another thing that you know as controversial that we got to talk about, and it’s a saying that I cover in my book that I really struggle with, to be quite honest, and that is um, you know, love is love and this comes nice, it sounds nice.
Here’s what I want to tell you parents Think about your 13 year old daughter On social media being contacted by a 70 year old man and they have established in a relationship online. They have been DMing, direct messaging, and you you can’t see that it’s kind of hidden, and, um, you find out about this relationship and you want it to end because it is very inappropriate. What if your 13 looks at you and says, but mom, love is love, and you’re like um. Here’s what I want to say to you. I’m not taking a political stand, I’m not using this statement to create controversy. We have got to be careful about the blanket statements we’re making, because they don’t apply to everything, but our kids hear them and they take them to heart and they think they apply to every situation. And this is a conversation you need to have a conversation about love in elementary school, in middle school. The hormones, the feelings, the emotions they take Over and it’s really hard to break through that during those raging hormones times.
So true, and so this is a great opportunity for you to really talk about love. And what does it mean? You know, mom and dad, I talk to my kids all the time. Mom and dad fell in love, but it was a choice, and I dated a lot of people that I thought that I had emotions for and feelings for, very strong feelings for, um, but sometimes they weren’t healthy choices for me and I had to figure that out for myself, like what was the healthy choice for me and in my life?
0:20:45 – Speaker 3
I remember a great conversation that I had with my mom, and it’s one that we’re going to have with our kids too the difference between love and lust and what characteristics come with those two feelings. And, um, talking about lust, it’s all of those things you can explain to your child that they’re going to feel the hormones raging and wanting to be together all the time, and all of those physical and emotional things, whereas love so you can separate that out and there’s still something there there’s a friendship, there’s a respect, all of those things that don’t usually exist with lust. Um, and so, having that conversation age appropriately again With your little ones is really important, that they understand that and that you’re modeling that through your marriage or your relationships. Um, they watch everything we do and if you’re defining love by respect and all these things and they see that in your relationship, it digs in deep and stays there.
0:21:40 – Speaker 2
Well, and love is a daily choice. I mean, you know, I’ve been married almost 20 years now and our bodies have changed, and you know what?
0:21:51 – Speaker 3
I’m the only one you’re the only one I have no idea what you’re talking about.
0:21:55 – Speaker 2
You know my we, my husband and I we both have a little bit more gray hair going on. You know he has a little less hair on his head. You know things change and that physical appearance I mean, yes, there needs to be an attraction and I’m not saying that they’re. You know, there definitely needs to be an attraction and there definitely needs to be feelings and emotions. But I think what I’m trying to say is it can’t be a hundred percent emotions. Right, it needs to be like 50 logic, 50 feeling and attraction, so that you are making a good choice in who you’re going to date, who you’re going to spend your time with. Um, I love this toby matt quote You’re going to become like the five people you spend the most time with.
Yes, so true that includes the people you date.
0:22:37 – Speaker 3
Absolutely yeah. So it’s important to choose wisely really is the bottom line, and through prayer and conversation, um, that’s possible. I know it can feel overwhelming. I know it was scary for my mom when I first started dating and me thinking about it with my kids. That’s a big step, yeah, and so many things can come out of that. But if you aren’t talking about it and you’re sharing these things with them at a young age, there’s no fear, no reason to fear.
0:23:01 – Speaker 2
Well, and I think that that is the thing with dating if you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s. There’s still going to be difficult conversations once they start dating and we’re going to cover those on the next two shows with our high school and college Leaders because they’re walking through that right now. There’s definitely going to be more, more conversations and difficult things to cover, but it does take the fear out of it because you’ve already established a safe place and you’re talking. It’s the same thing when you get a missile phone. I mean, if you’ve established guidelines with your family iPad and you’ve established a safe place and you’re continually talking it’s, it doesn’t mean that it’s, it’s a 100% okay, but it’s way easier to parent a cell phone when all of that is established. Same thing with dating.
0:23:45 – Speaker 3
I think One of the things that has made the biggest impression on my eight-year-old because he has noticed girls a little bit In a healthy you don’t say Anyway, and I say that in the conversational way, like oh, she’s a beautiful lady like that not crushes per se we’re not at that stage yet but anyway, one of the things that has made a big impression on him is when His dad and I will show him through example what that looks like, or what love looks like.
And so when I went through a lot of these surgeries that I’ve had and medical emergencies and my husband has had to carry me to the restroom or bathe me or dress me there’s nothing glamorous about that, yeah, and many times through our trials we have said to our kids this is what love looks like. Yeah, staying, helping even when it’s being there when it’s the hardest. Yes, and so I want them to have that stuck in there in their brain when they start dating and they’re being treated a certain way by someone. I want them to know what love looks like, because we set that example and we shared those moments with them. So I think just speaking to your children as you’re going through life’s challenges and highs to the good things, that’s really important because it gives them a little picture in their brain that they can refer back to when it’s time.
0:25:09 – Speaker 2
So good for our wrap-up segment today. Let’s remember one discuss dating before they actually start to date. This sets a good foundation to create conversation about crushes, so you can direct your kids and speak truth into them. And Three talk about love. Love should not just be feelings. We need to teach feelings and logic.
0:25:31 – Speaker 1
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am On Am 6 30 the word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at nextTalk. Or are you ready for the next time?
Transcribed by https://podium.page