“Dirty” Teenage Dancing

Can you help us deal with the with the issue of sexually suggestive teenage dancing? My teens have been asking to attend parties and school dances, but when my wife and I got a glimpse of some of the lewd activity that goes under the name of "dancing" nowadays we told them "no." Are we being unreasonable?

Many aspects of today’s youth culture are just plain toxic. You’re wise to keep a vigilant eye on the types of parties and school-sponsored events your children attend.

Dancing is a matter of special concern. Perhaps you’ve heard some of the disturbing news reports about “grinding.” It’s the latest form of “dirty dancing” to make the scene at high school proms. “Lewd” is a mild way to describe it. In many cases it amounts to nothing less than a public simulation of the sex act on the dance floor. In response to “grinding,” many school officials have begun to set firm limits on the type of behavior that will be tolerated at school dances. They deserve our appreciation for taking these steps.

As these administrators clearly understand, supervision is essential. If you feel that your kid’s school isn’t providing teens with appropriate guidelines, you’d be smart to keep them away from dances. The same observation applies to parties held at private homes. Where proper oversight is lacking, your children should not be in attendance.

Naturally, you won’t want to beat your kids over the head with all of this. It’s critical that you exercise your authority in the context of loving concern. As author Josh McDowell expresses it, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” If you want to communicate your message as effectively as possible, start by sitting down with your son and daughter and reaffirming how much you love and care about them. Let them know that, as parents, you have a responsibility to protect them from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. Explain why the dances or parties in question could have damaging effects in the long run. Point out that there are good reasons to suppose that the type of dancing that goes on at many of these events encourages sexual activity and other hazardous behaviors. Then, as a way of softening the blow, offer an alternative outing on the night of the dance. Tell your kids that you’d like to take them and a few friends out for a fun evening. You might suggest dinner at their favorite restaurant or a family movie.

Meanwhile, take steps to keep your kids connected to strong Christian fellowship. In a sense, this is the larger and deeper issue behind your question. During the teen years, they need a solid, supportive group of friends who are dedicated to following Christ and pursuing moral purity. Your teenagers need to be involved in an active, vibrant youth group that emphasizes discipleship, outreach, and Christian growth. If your church doesn’t offer that, find one that does. It’s vital to your children’s spiritual well-being.

If you’d like to discuss your concerns over the phone with a member of our staff, one of our counselors will be happy to take your call. Each is a committed Christian and a licensed therapist.


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John Rosemond: Parenting with Love and Leadership

Tips for Parenting Teens

So Your Teen’s Going to Prom…Now What?

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