Managing a teenage child is a very sensitive and a crucial chapter in the life of any parent.
In this age, while on one hand children are very curious to explore the world around them, on the other, their friends have a very deep influence over them. This easily draws them into forsaking the shelter of their parents and moving out to explore the seeming attraction towards the opposite sex.

This could prove quite dangerous at this tender age, for they neither have a sound understanding to help decide what is right or wrong for them as yet, nor do they have the maturity to decipher the complexities that exist in the outside world. Hence, the role of a parent becomes all the more crucial to safeguard the interest of the child, but without losing the confidence of their child in them.

So come, let us try and understand about the ideal ways to deal with our children’s wrong dating habits, from the invaluable teachings of Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan.

First and foremost, should the child be allowed dating?

•In all cases, teenagers must strictly stay away from dating altogether, as this is their age to focus on their studies only.
•The child, who has reached the appropriate age of marriage, if takes onto dating (but without being physically involved) with only one person, for a brief period of time, having the sole intention in mind to marry that person, then it is fine.
•However, at any age, serial dating for the sake of pleasure should be strictly discouraged. The child must be very well be given to understand that moving on from one partner to another (having sex or otherwise) without the responsibility of marriage, has such severe adverse consequences which one can’t even imagine! It will not only create instability and attract enormous miseries in this life, but the karmic implications are such that tremendous pain and suffering will continue in many future lives too.

It is best that one chooses either in favour of getting bonded in marriage or one takes on the path of pure celibacy. But this is a decision to be taken when one reaches the marriageable age. Until then, the prime focus and the sole priority of every child should be studies alone.

Hence, we arrive at the conclusion that it is ideally not okay for a 16 year old daughter (or son for that matter) to be in an open relationship, nor should they even date, at this tender age.

You should stop it. But how?... that is very important!
Ideally, children should be discouraged to go in this direction through smart and educative ways from a very early age. If however, the parents come to know about their child having an open relationship, like you do right now, they should then sit with their child and make them understand the ills of dating very calmly and soothingly, without showing any anger or frustration.

As a parent, deal with your child with love, not power!

Param Pujya Dadashri cautions, ‘Use of authority as parents is never a solution’.
If parents wield their power and use fear as a deterrent, the children may listen to them once or twice, but very soon they will lose all the respect and regards for them. Hence aggressive practices are not a sustainable solution.

It will require great patience and love from your side to help your child understand rightly the reasons why you are stopping him / her to proceed in their chosen direction.

If the child has become defiant,…
If your child for some reason happens to have become defiant and does not heed the voice of reason, then instead of visibly forcing her to give up the relationship, you, as a parent, pray to her inner Soul and request this omnipotent God to guide your child properly. Prayers have enormous strength. But while you pray, make sure that during such period you make your child always feel loved.

At every stage, always avoid nagging, controlling, demoralizing and shunning your child, for this is the prime reason that leads them to seek love and warmth elsewhere when they should ideally be getting it from their parents, in their home.

Set an example of pure conduct in the house. This will gradually make your child realize that her parents are not her enemies. Help her feel so comfortable in her home that the company of her genuinely loving family eventually makes her forget about the illusory love she was trying to chase.

As with most things, in the case of bringing up of children too, prevention is better than cure.
Param Pujya Dadashri explains: You can mould your children the way you want to until they are fifteen years old. You cannot do much after that.

Children are most receptive to their parents’ words and actions until they are fifteen years old. They learn a lot of things by merely watching you and observing your behavior while dealing with others.

Therefore, if in this golden period, you set the right example of ideal conduct in the home, communicating the disciplinary rules very clearly and strictly, and at the same time making the child also feel extremely loved and nurtured, then being parents you can effectively prevent your child falling in the trap of such unwarranted relationships.

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Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.