I Didn’t (want to) Know That! #1 (Phew – finished!)

Top 10 list of rules and counsel that we didn’t know, or like to pretend we didn’t know.


Teenage Romance (Yup, I really am going there…)

Ahhh, teenage romance – ain’t it so cute? Holding hands, Senior Prom, late night smooch sessions, appointments with the Bishop.
When it comes to teenage romance, most parents seem to think that their child is the exception.  You hear wonderful phrases like:
   They are so CUTE together
   They are such good kids
   They always keep us informed as to where they are and what they are doing
   We have a good relationship and they are honest with us.
If you ever find yourself defending your teenager’s romance by saying any of these things, then, I have something  just for you…
Pessimistic? Yup.  Accurate?  Yup. Sadly so.
Caution: Very sad statistic ahead…
While researching his dissertation, Bruce Monson found that by 11th grade, half of the kids who had been in a steady relationship had violated the Law of Chastity.  HALF!   And these were LDS kids. (1)
And it isn’t like we haven’t been warned… there are a bunch of references cited below.
I enjoy irony, but sometimes it makes me uncomfortable.  Such as this:
Isn’t it ironic that when a young man leaves a girlfriend behind to serve a mission, he spends two years testifying about the very prophets and apostles that he chose to ignore while preparing to serve?
President Gordon B. Hinckley: “When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating. When you reach an age where you think of marriage, then is the time to become so involved. But you boys who are in high school don’t need this, and neither do the girls”
“Steady dating at an early age leads so often to tragedy. Studies have shown that the longer a boy and girl date one another, the more likely they are to get into trouble.”
President Boyd K. Packer “Avoid steady dating. Steady dating is courtship, and surely the beginning of courtship ought to be delayed until you have emerged from your teens.”
Elder Larry R. Lawrence: “Parents can prevent a lot of heartache by teaching their children to postpone romantic relationships until the time comes when they are ready for marriage. Prematurely pairing off with a boyfriend or girlfriend is dangerous. Becoming a “couple” creates emotional intimacy, which too often leads to physical intimacy. Satan knows this sequence and uses it to his advantage. He will do whatever he can to keep young men from serving missions and to prevent temple marriages.
The New Era: “Before his mission, a young man should not be looking for a serious relationship. It may distract him from the call to full-time service he will receive from a prophet of God. It just doesn’t make sense to add the complication of a steady girlfriend when a young man is trying to prepare for a mission, and especially when he’s on his mission. It might create temptations and even expectations regarding the relationship. It’s not fair to him or the young woman. Neither of them needs that sort of distraction or pressure.”



About the author


  1. All I can say is THANK YOU for your insight on this subject!! I’m currently serving in the stake YW and this is a subject that comes up so often and I find it difficult to get leaders and youth to understand the reason why this is important. You’ve helped me to have the words to lead and guide those who are struggling. I agree with this whole heartedly and love this standard that has been developed for our youth, what a blessing! Thank you for being an answer to my prayers on this.
    Grateful that you outed yourself so i could find your blog ….pretty awesome!!

  2. THANK YOU! I’ve been saying this to my boys (15 and 17) and they think I’m an overprotective crazy lady — but you know what? I’m OK with being an “overprotective crazy lady” if it keeps their morals in line. It’s my job.

    It is often hard when other parents (even in our own ward) are allowing other behaviors. It really does feel like I am the crazy lady. BuT I know what my responsibilities are. I know what counsel we’ve been given, and I know that guarding against steady relationships is THE ONLY sure-fire way to make it out of high school morally clean. Can you be in a relationship and still get out safe – sure, but your chances of getting out safe without being in a serious relationship are far greater. Why risk it? Your true happiness isn’t worth it.

    Thank you for saying it out-loud. Now if only we could get all parents on board. It would sure be a lot easier if we all set the same rules and followed the same counsel. Then again, He never said it would be easy – only worth it 🙂

  3. My daughter is 15. She has a crush on a number of boys. I think it’s great. Her friends, however, think it is really odd that she doesn’t have a crush on just 1 boy. Love that she speaks her mind and tells them that she doesn’t plan to steady date till she is ready for marriage and it is just fine to like more than 1 boy right now because she isn’t ready to be serious!

  4. Steady dating as a youth is gross. Let’s put it there. I am speaking as a youth and it keeps all of us, who don’t think it’s a good idea to date when you can’t even grow a beard yet, gaging behind the backs of those making out next to our lockers.

  5. One question…

    Do you think that when President Boyd K. Packer said, “Avoid steady dating. Steady dating is courtship, and surely the beginning of courtship ought to be delayed until you have emerged from your teens” he means to include those 18 year old girls who are attending singles wards and get swooped up by some 24 year old guys? I see it happening to my sister’s friends all the time who are 18-19 years old. I personally always have felt that that was a little young to get married; so does that also mean it is a little young to be steady dating since they are still in their teens? I’m just wondering your perspective on this thought.

    1. I believe this question was directed at the author – but do you mind if I chime in just a second? I went to a singles branch at 19. Was engaged and married at 20. My husband is 5 1/2 years older. So at the time: I was 20, he was 26. It worked for us. Was he preying on the ‘young girls’ in the branch – in a short answer — no freakin’ way! I pursued him. He wasn’t even looking my direction because I was “the same age as his little sister” (actually 6 months younger)!

      We didn’t go into it crazy – willy-nilly. We prayed about it. He prayed before we even approached the subject. Then we prayed together – and fasted – and prayed some more. We sought counsel from people we respected. We’ve been married 17 years. I’m not going to lie and say it’s all rainbows and butterflies – it’s marriage. It can be tough. But the good times far outweigh the tough ones. We’re still madly in love and I absolutely love growing old with the man of my dreams.

      I think (my thoughts only) when the counsel talks about about ’emerging from our teens’, he is referring to 18-19. He didn’t say “after you’ve left your teens”. I think that upon graduation from HS you begin to emerge from your teenage years and move into adulthood. Again, it’s one of those little items left up for interpretation. Prayerful questioning will always give you the answer that is best for your situation.

      BUT with that said; we must take caution not to think that OUR ANSWER is the answer for others. We have to always remember that we have stewardship over only a select few in this world and not to project our thoughts/inspiration on to others. We’re all in different places and have different purposes. So – my thoughts are my own. I just wanted to share 🙂

    2. I think it is quite clear that it is less about the number, and more about whether you are at the stage in life where it is OK if the relationship can advance towards marriage. If it is a teenage boy who is obedient, then the relationship can NOT lead towards marriage unless he cannot serve a mission. (And that is not about “Our answer,” it is about being obedient to God.)

  6. I recently attended a homecoming where the sister addressed obedience, “Obedience brings righteous blessings. Perfect obedience brings miracles.” As we prepare young people for crucial times where they will soon serve missions, receive endowments, be sealed, and start a family under the umbrella of the latter days, why wouldn’t we want miracles? The Lord trusts our youth with the above mentioned opportunities. We should trust and expect our children to be able to control matters of the heart. After all, they’ll have heaven backing them up if they do the right thing!

    Parents everywhere are unbelievably stressed and taxed. Just because we are struggling to keep exactness in obedience, humility and meekness doesn’t mean we soften things for our kids because we seek ease and comfort from our hard time. “Oh, let them be. They are just innocent kids having fun. This is the only time in their life to be this care free.” Fortunately, any time is a good time to choose obedience, but life long consequences remain far after repentance is complete.

    I have a 15 year old Romeo and can use all the heaven help I can get!

  7. Even though I am not LDS, nor have moral opposition to pre marital relations, I agree with these statements. I feel that serious relationships should be put off until after high school. Full concentration needs to be placed on grades and the last years of being a kid. I see so many kids, my nieces included that have had several serious boyfriends and it makes me uneasy. I will encourage my sons and any daughters that may come to date only, that there is plenty of time in life to get wrapped up with just one person.

  8. Just had to say that I have loved your ten posts of things I didn’t (want to) know! Brilliant! I am so happy to have come across your blog! The world (and a large portion of LDS members) have been chipping away at these 10 items. Thank you for having courage and standing for truth and the right, especially when it may be unpopular. Theres always a million excuses, but right is right. In these days, we need to strengthen our spines and pick a side of the fence, we wont have time to ride it much longer.

  9. I had the same boyfriend all through high school. We were not part of the half that broke the law of chastity. And, despite all of that, I LOVE this post.

    Just because we had a successful, happy relationship with no major regrets, doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean it’s what the Lord wanted for us. It definitely doesn’t mean it’s what I want for my children (then again, I never want them to be teens, either!).

    I did not wait for him on his mission. We did not end up married. And now our spouses work together (it’s awkwardly hilarious like that). My thoughts- Just don’t do it.

    -Anonymous for the sake of others involved in this story

  10. Just stumbled across this post, thank you for being so clear. I personally didn’t date in the teen years, but more from lack of opportunity than anything else! Now, as a YW leader I am busily planning a special Mutual activity on the topic of dating and wondering how to approach this topic with girls who I KNOW already have steady boyfriends. Praying hard that I get it right…

  11. Epic post!!!!! I didn’t have a single boy friend in high school and loved it. I got to go to tons of free movies eat a ton of free ice cream and have fun with so many cool guys who are now good friends. I knew when I got married that I had shown my husband that I loved him even before I met him. Thats a real love story right there! None of this high school twilight crud.

  12. I love this! last year, despite my husbands and my objections our 15 year old son had a girlfriend. It lasted for all of three weeks (at school only, because he wasn’t allowed to chat with or talk to her at home.) When it was finally over, he was so heart broken that he declared he was done with girlfriends until after his mission and I am perfectly fine with that! I am always a little scared when parents think that it is cute for teens to pair off.

  13. I once mentioned to a great LDS mom how cute it would be if her awesome son and my daughter dated when they were older. She politely told me their views on dating and that it wasn’t something they’d encourage until their kids were looking for a spouse. It was quite interesting! I grew up in a family that encouraged dating – although keeping your standards at the same time. I learned a lot then and it completely changed my outlook on dating.

    She recommended two things to me. 1) a DVD called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Josh Harris http://www.joshharris.com/i_kissed_dating_goodbye.php (which is also a paperback book). I never did get the chance to watch it, but eventually, as my kiddos get a bit older, I plan on it.

    2) Also, a young man named Jordan made a persuasive speech in regards to dating. It’s pretty good and I like hearing the words come out of the mouth of a teenager. Gives me more hope for the youth. “The Side Effects of Dating” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q9-Q-ErGis&playnext_from=TL&videos=94BFZBTl6J0&feature=recentu

  14. This is one rule that I have always regretted not keeping. I had boyfriends in HS, thinking I was an exception and while there are no sins, it still takes away some of the innocence and “free (as in freedom) fun” that you have during those teenage years. I could’ve lived without dealing with that emotional baggage. For sure. I can’t teach that counsel enough as a YW leader. You bet my kids will be taught that they are NOT an exception. Thanks for posting this.

  15. solution make sure your kids are awkward and UGLY (make their clothes from old couch cushions) and smell weird until after high school with all the money you saved on buying fashionable clothing soap and prom attire you may then get them some therapy and they can go on their merry way. As a once sneaky teenager that started “going out” at 15. I think too much emphasis is placed on the actual dating part of it. I was convinced I was ready to be married 3 times over by the time I finished High school

  16. I love this post! My DS is in HS and DD is in JH. I’m battling this everyday because so many of their friends are hooking up. I feel like I have the words tattooed on my tongue – except I don’t, because I’m not supposed to have tattos – be friends, just friends, have fun as a friend. I just found your blog and love it. Thanks for the post.


  17. Melynda: This post has been up for almost 8 months, and a TON of people have read it – you are the first, and only, comment. I truly believe people want to pretend this teaching doesn’t exist.

  18. Loving this stuff…I have an almost 15-year old son and these posts are *very* helpful to me as I navigate these teenage years. I used to think they were uncharted, but it turns out there are a heck of a lot of folks who have figured out how to successfully navigate the shoals!

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)