"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." ~Romans 12:2 NKJV~

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dating, Courting, & Choosing a Mate… What Works? (Parenting Made Practical)~ Review

Hello lovely readers. Parents know their kids will one day want to start dating. I know I’m not the only parent who got nervous when my child reached the age where he started “liking someone”. Trying to “navigate the troubled waters of parenting during this time” brings lots of challenges. You feel you need to talk with your child about dating, but may not be sure how to go about it. I knew my husband and I could use some practical tips when it comes to talking to our son about dating. That’s why I was looking forward to watching and reviewing Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works? from Parenting Made Practical.

Parenting Made Practical
Parenting Made Practical is a teaching ministry of husband and wife team Joey and Carla Link. It features A Parent’s Night Out videos and materials to help give parents “practical ideas they can start using every day in their parenting”. Parenting Made Practical’s “goal is to encourage and equip parents to raise obedient, respectful, and responsible kids in today’s challenging world”. Joey and Carla’s teaching will not only “uplift your spirit”, but “challenge you to raise up a new generation of kids that passionately pursues Christ”.  They have many different product titles in A Parent’s Night Out series. We had the chance to try out Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works?.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works? is for parents of kids ages 9-college. It consists of a DVD with 2 sessions on it. It costs $24.95 and runs 108 minutes. The two-part DVD has sessions called:

1. Developing Your Dating Philosophy- this session helps parents gain understanding about the new dating philosophy the Links share. (runs for 50 minutes)
2. How to Make It Work- this session gives practical suggestions couples need to work through to find their compatibility. (runs for 58 minutes)

There is also 2 accompanying 50-page workbooks for this DVD teaching. We only received 1 of those workbooks for this review.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...
Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works? is designed to help parents prepare their teens or young adult in how to have a good pre-marriage relationship that will lead to them marrying their best friend. This is not about being in a relationship based on emotions. This is about developing a relationship built on trust. In the video sessions, you will see an audience of parent’s and their kids sitting together while listening to Joey and Carla Link share a biblical plan for dating.

A Parent's Night Out
In the sessions, they start off with the definition of dating. Then they discuss the concerns parents have about their kids dating. These are things like becoming emotionally involved with the wrong person, getting too involved physically, or even where they find information on dating. You will also learn about two types of parenting styles (authoritarian and permissive) and how teens respond to them. They share some scriptures during these sessions so I believe Christian families would benefit most from what they have to share. They also talk about two main mindsets of dating relationships. They are cultural dating and courtship dating. Each is characterized by certain standards and they explain what’s lacking in them. What was surprising to me is that there was a 3rd option that my husband nor I had ever heard of.

Types of Dating
Have you heard the term  “Friendship Dating”? I didn’t know there was such a thing. I had heard about courtship dating but was confused on what it really meant. The Links even shared how its definition of how to carry it out is different from family to family. That in itself can cause problems for the couple involved or even their families. Think about this…What if the other family believes/does things your family doesn’t agree with? If someone else was making all the decisions for the couple, would they have trouble transitioning into making decisions for themselves (together) once they marry? In friendship dating the couple’s focus is to get to know one another without relationally violating privacy areas.

Shot from video 2
We learned about the 4 levels of growth in the friendship dating relationship. Joey showed a drawing of a square box to the audience (see booklet pic above). In it are the phases a couple will experience in their relationship. He showed how the square looked out of shape in the cultural and courtship dating relationships. In the friendship dating relationship, he demonstrated the balance they were experiencing as the relationship was allowed the properly grow through each level. This only happens when “the couple stays within the boundaries/guidelines they have set in all of the 4 levels”. Some suggestions are given to parents to help their teen or young adult to decide how to base their relationship in each phase. These are just general suggestions so there is room to come up with other things based on your family makeup, beliefs, and standards.

The Ring Talk
I viewed both video sessions before showing them to my 18 year old son. I wanted to get a feel for what he was about to hear. I shared with my husband what the Links talked about, and he was interested in watching the videos too. A few days later my husband, son, and I all sat and watched session 1 together. Although it is 50 minutes long; it took us 2 hours to get through that one session. We would stop the DVD when there was something said that we wanted to talk a little more about. We waited until the next week to watch the 2nd session since we took so long getting through the 1st one.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Worksjpg
The workbook is an outline to use along the DVD sessions. It has places to fill in the answers as you are listening to what’s being shared. There are also extra thoughts that have been added to provide more understanding of how to apply what you are learning. In the very back are a few pages of testimonies of parents being blessed by the teachings, and the end result of those young adults who went through the friendship dating process. If you were watching this video teaching in a group setting, I think the workbook would be great for each of the participants to have as they sat and listen.

Shot from video
During our review, we encountered a few problems using the booklet. It would have been nice to have more space or some blank pages for added note taking. There were also some great tips from the blue screen (like the one shown above) that I had to write out myself due to them being left off the outline. Due to the way my son learns it was hard for him to keep up with what they were saying so that he could fill in the answers to the workbook questions. We helped him but often found ourselves getting lost and having to go back a page in the booklet to find where to put the answers. This was due to what they say in the video was not always in the same order it is written in the workbook.

Some examples are like on page 19 when they talk about the “4 Pings” of attraction. Number 3 and 4 were out of order they way Carla named them in the video. This left my son confused on what to write. Another example is on page 29 under “Parents “Ring” Talk none of us could figure out what they said to fill in the blank where they say to “explain each term according to what your teens ___ to know”. We kept replaying that section several times to catch the answer but never heard it. I just told my son to leave it blank. From what I see this workbook is not like a detailed outline, but more like a quick reference guide.

All in all, we liked the presentation. It was very informative and we are confident about how to help our son put a plan in place.We thoroughly enjoyed gaining a new perspective on dating. My husband and I talk about how we wish we had known about this philosophy when we were younger. It would have helped us avoid the drama of dating different people, and saved us a lot of heartache and pain in the process. Since we reviewed the Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works? DVD, I am also interested in another product called What Every Child Should Know Along the Way. This book is also for parent’s of preschool to college-age kids, and I’m curious how my family can benefit from what’s shared in it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review of Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works?. Other Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed different products so be sure to read the other reviews to learn more about some other products available from Parenting Made Practical.  Click on the banner below to see what they had to share.

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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