My particular stance on teenagers and dating is that they shouldn’t until they at least finish high school (You can read more here if you want to know why exactly). This is really a matter of wisdom and prudence rather than a law, and therefore if the teens I minister to want to date in high school they are free to do so, but what I have realised is that pretty much ever significant pastoral issue that I’ve had to deal with in youth group is related to dating relationships that have formed between teens while they’re in high school, or more specifically, dating relationships that have formed and broken up…
So, seeing as I’m not going to enforce ‘no dating in high school‘ as a rule (because it’s not), and because I want to look after my young people and preserve our group unity, my plan is to sit down with any of my teens that are dating and make sure they know how to break-up well. Certainly I hope they won’t have to break up and experience that, but in the event that they do, I want them to know how to handle themselves in a godly way.
So far I have a couple of things I want to say, but what I’d really love to do is pool the experience and wisdom from other youth ministers or people who have received good advice about how to break-up well. Please note: this is not advice about how to date well but how to break-up well, though I recognise how a couple dates will affect how a couple breaks-up so there will be some cross over…
Here’s what I have so far:
- When you break up, do it in person. Not by text, not by Facebook, not by email, not over the phone, in PERSON.
- Make sure you are honest about why you are breaking up. Avoid accusations.
- Make sure both parties are aware that you have broken up.
- While you’re going out, don’t do anything that will inhibit a continuing friendship after your break up.
- In fact, while you’re going out, don’t do anything that will inhibit the community of friendships you have after your break up.
This is all I have so far and it needs to be fleshed out.
I would love it if you would leave your feedback and suggestions as a comment below. Their maybe helpful ideas to add or unhelpful ones above to remove.
Eventually I’ll repost all the collective wisdom as a resource article.