For most teens, dating rules and expectations are an important part of social interactions and development. Any faith-based or community group that seeks to support teens needs to address this issue so central to teenagers' lives. Most religious youth groups have rules that come from their faith traditions and give their members guidelines on how to date and interact with the opposite gender.
Christian Youth Groups
Different Christian denominations offer different guidelines for youth dating. The most common rule is youth should not have sex outside of marriage, which is based on Biblical passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:33, which says Christians should "flee from sexual immorality." Another common guideline in Christian youth groups is Christians should only date other Christians, based on 2 Corinthians 6:14, which says believers should not be "yoked together with unbelievers." Other Biblical advice that youth groups may apply to dating include Proverbs 4:23, which says to "guard your heart," meaning Christian youth should not get too emotionally involved in relationships too quickly, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, which outlines a description of what true love is like. Christian youth groups often encourage teens to create their own personal rules and standards for dating, such as staying in public areas and limiting physical contact.
Mormon Youth Groups
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers specific guidelines for Mormon youth who wish to date. These rules are outlined in the booklet "For the Strength of Youth" (2000). These rules state teens should not date until they are at least 16, and then they should begin with group dates and double dates. They should avoid exclusive dating until they are old enough to consider marriage. The LDS church also forbids sex outside of marriage and outlines specific activities that should be avoided because of their potential to lead to sex, such as passionate kissing and spending time one-on-one with a date in a private setting. Youth are to treat dates with respect. The church does not forbid members from dating people of other faiths. However, "The Strength of Youth" does instruct youth to "date only those who have high standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards."
Jewish Youth Groups
Jewish youth groups offer a variety of guidelines on dating, depending on what branch of Judaism the group follows. Traditionally, dating is reserved for individuals who are at least 18 years old and ready to find a marriage partner. Many Jewish traditions encourage youth to date only other Jews, and some branches of Judaism still use the tradition of a matchmaker who helps young people find a spouse.
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