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The GEM Debate: Is Abstinence Really Realistic?

Oh boy – where do we start with this one!

Over the weekend a friend linked to a blog written by a pastor’s wife. My friend called it an excellent, must read for parents. So being a parent myself I took a look…

Wow – there’s a lot to digest here. The author basically talks about her daughters and how they’re forbidden from dating and must save themselves for marriage.

My initial reaction was an eye roll and an “oh brother” but the more I thought about this “strategy” of courtship versus dating, the angrier I got. Here’s why:

TRUST: For me this way of thinking says that you don’t trust your kids or have faith in the way you raised them. My job as a parent is not only to protect Casey and Cole it is also to prepare them for life. So while they are young, I impart the information and wisdom I have and then I TRUST that they will use it to make the best decisions.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: High school is a microcosm of life and the things we experience there will stay with us for the rest of our lives, both good and bad. The kids who had overprotective parents turned out one of two ways, they either rebelled and became the baddest of the badasses; smoking, drinking and sleeping with any warm-blooded mammal they could find OR they were socially stunted, unable to make a single move without consulting mom and dad.

Kids need to hone their social skills without looking to mom and dad, sitting next to them nodding in silent approval. Making decisions on their own also teaches kids who to trust, again, no small lesson.

MARRYING TOO YOUNG: This is the part that really chaps my butt because you know who’s gonna get a raw deal in this? Women. Because if you start your daughter “courting” at say 16 and she meets THE GUY (family approved) from her relatively small circle (church, surrounding neighborhood, high school), then what? The family urges her not to wait, “go ahead, get married you can still go to college.” She’ll have a decent shot at finishing too, if she doesn’t get sidetracked by a family-urged pregnancy or financial crisis that causes her to drop out. “Oh you can go back when we have more money.” Will that be before the second, third maybe even fourth baby comes?

Under this strategy, the girl will have gone right from her father’s home, to her husband’s home, to becoming a mother, without a stop to figure out what she wants to do and who she wants to be. As someone who believes that life is about learning, growing and changing, this sounds a little too Stepford wife-like for me. Then at 40, she wakes up one morning and realizes her life is half over and she’s spent it all living for everyone else. Now THAT is tragic. I’m not saying it will happen that way for everyone; surely there are some who would be thrilled to have that kind of existence. But I would chain myself to the front of the church naked, if either of my kids said they were getting married at 18.

Will this courtship strategy keep your kids from an unwanted pregnancy? Maybe, but where there’s a will there’s a way so even this plan isn’t foolproof. Wouldn’t a better, more realistic strategy be to educate your kids in what you believe and expect and then, instead of being a safety harness holding them in place, loosen the grip, even just a little bit, and let them learn to fly?

Okay so let’s debate this. Is abstinence really realistic in 2011? What are you teaching your kids? And are your children banned from dating?

Lemme hear ya!


  1. Rich

    February 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Totally agree with you Rene… the blog posting that inspired this piece was frightening… it assumed sex was a dirty, bad thing. And what if her daughter was gay – how does that fit in with her faith, given that her daughter can’t marry?

    Personally I don’t think anyone should marry until 25 at the earliest! There would be a heck of a lot less divorces…

  2. DawnKA

    February 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Here I come with my input 😉 Abstinence has always been a challenge from the beginning of time. Think of the young women who have died during the era of illegal abortions, the babies given up for adoption or passed off as the married aunt or even grandmother’s child. As long as I’ve lived in the past 40 something years, abstinence is a hot topic especially in the church. Keep in mind that the author of the article is a Pastor’s wife. Therefore, she is only speaking within the terms of her strong beliefs. My mother told us about the importance of saving ourselves for marriage based on biblical principles. Speaking for myself, I did not. Church girls are under pressure to preserve themselves just as much as they are to shed the church girl image and break out. You may have heard the term used Preacher Kids or Church Girls are the freaks or wild ones. Needless to say, as a parent, I too told my kids to abstain. However, I also told them about sexual responsibility, protection, etc. My mother would never tell me such a thing and I understand and expect that from her – she meant no sex until marriage period.

  3. Crystal

    February 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Abstinence is just not realistic anymore as we see on a daily basis. With shows like Teen mom and 16 and pregnant it’s blatantly clear that preaching abstinence to kids in this generation isn’t going to work. I completely agree with everything that you said. Train your child and the way he should go and when he gets old he will not depart from it. As a pastor’s wife the author should truly believe that if they’re raising their child in the correct manner and to the best of their ability then they should have faith that they did all they could and they’ve given their children all the tools needed to succeed in this world. Chaining children down doesn’t help in the least and as you mentioned it will only result in them rebelling in the end.

  4. Cee Richardson

    February 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I always wondered why some Christian parents strongly encouraged their children (especially girls) to marry young. Now I know. It’s because they know that it’s difficult to remain abstinent the older you get. Happens to even the most devout Christians.

  5. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks Dawn! When I was 16 years old, my mother (actually we started talking about sex before this) sat me down and said, if you want to have sex, let me know. I will get you on birth control. She was open and honest, and I appreciate her for that. I share the same kind of open communication with my kids. The main issue I have with this posting is that it sounds as if girls will be pushed toward marriage at a young age, with very limited people from whom to choose. And think about the person you were at 18 versus who you are now. Night and day perhaps. There is so much growing that happens when you’re on your own, making your own decisions, being responsible for yourself. She may (repeat MAY) protect her kids from unwanted pregnancy but at what cost?

  6. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks Crystal. I was really shocked that she showed so little faith (if you will) in her own teachings. Oh well, takes all kinds t make a world, eh?

  7. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Cee, I agree and at what cost? So the kids are married, having sex within the bounds of that relationship and then what? Think of the person you were at 18 versus who you are now and the growth you have had over the years. I’m 48 (almost) If I had gotten married at 18 I’d be celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary this year! Oh by the way, the guy I was dating when I was that age is no WAY the one that would have been right for me. I know it because I was not ready.I also felt a slightly misogynistic feel here in that the rules would be one way for the daughter but not so for the son. Would they be okay with the son not marrying right out of high school? My money says yes. Oh there are so many things I object to about this there’s not enough ink for me to write them all down.

  8. M.E. Johnson

    February 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    All of you have spoken wisely. I hope this mom reads this. Sure you can teach abstinance. You can also lead a horse to water…

  9. dianthe

    February 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    can someone catch my eyes? i think they just rolled out of my head

    called2beamom can dress it up any way she wants, but what she calls “courting” is nothing more than a thinly veiled arranged marriage – how many people do you think she’ll allow to “court” her daughters? i’m guessing only 1 – maybe 2 if Bachelor #1 (and his family) aren’t quite Christian enough – and i have a feeling that even if her kids were allowed to date, they’d be so brainwashed with this idea of “wait until marriage”, they’d marry the first Christian candidate that came along just so they could finally have sex – a few years later they’d be stuck in a miserable marriage (probably with kids) or divorced – oh sure, there’s always a chance that they’d live happily ever after, but the statistics aren’t good – and how does called2beamom know the age at which her children will be ready to marry? i’m 38 with a husband and 2 kids and there are still days when i think i’m not ready – but i digress

    look, i’m all for teaching my children abstinence – but i’m also for teaching them reality – while i have known several girls who preserved their virginity well into their 20s (one even made it til she was 30) – most of them were also the “everything but that” girls, if you get my drift – instead of teaching our kids “don’t have sex”, why don’t we teach them WHY we want them to wait – and give them better reasons than “God wants you to save it for marriage” – let’s teach them about all the responsibilities that go along with sex – not just STDs and unplanned pregnancies – but the emotional side of it – how easy it is to confuse sex with love – how little regard other people have for sex – how it can be used to get what someone wants and how crappy that can make you feel – i want my kids to know that sex is a great thing and they should enjoy it … with the right person – and the right person is probably not the captain of the football team that’s going to dump you after you give it up!

  10. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    GOT ‘EM! Your eyes that is! Whole-heartedly agree with the arranged marriage prospect, as well as teaching WHY. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of faith in her kids and what she has taught them about themselves and the people they choose to be with.

  11. Mia

    February 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    It’s doable my daughter who married a few years ago in her 30’s saved herself for her husband. She decided around 18 that’s something she wanted to do. Mainly because of her faith but primarily because she heard and believed it was the ultimate gift she could give to her husband. She dated and told guys pretty early on her plan, so they could leave if they wanted to. My other 3 girls and son went another route., Two had kids out of wedlock. 1 married her child’s father and they went on to have 2 more. The other daughter didn’t marry her child’s father and is living the consequence of being a single parent. Both girls were in there 20’s, it was their choice. I wholeheartedly agree we have to give them the tools and hope that make good choices

  12. Jhamal

    February 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Sometimes people are going to do what they want to do no matter how much advice you choose to/not to give them. Mia, I do believe this was the realest story I’ve read on here instead of disagreeing with the lady who wrote the article (let her have it if that’s her choice.) But this is a very good discussion to have.

  13. Irene

    February 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I tend to lean on the prepare your kids for life side of the fence. I don’t want to have to hold their hands through their lives. I have always wanted my kids to know I love them when things are great and I love them more when things are in the toilet…..

    That said…I know a christian family that used “betrothal” (sp??) with their kids for marriage. The kids were not allowed to date, and when they did their was a chaperone…all the way to the altar these 9 children were not allowed to kiss their mates until marriage….I know of 1 of the 9 that did not choose that route and that child was loved just the same by those parents.

    I really think it is the bottom line…do we practice what we preach with our kids??? Do we teach them to live life on life’s terms and then back that up in our actions.

  14. Auntie Lisa

    February 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Abstinence, while extremely difficult given the depths to which our society has descended, IS possible. The question remains, are you gonna do this or that because “everybody else” is doing it? (And believe me, it is NOT literally everybody. It just seems like it.)

    Kids use that as a classic argument against their parents: “But EVERYbody’s doing it! Why can’t I?” To which many a reasonable parent retorts, “If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you want to do that, too?”

    We need to ditch the lemming mentality and teach our kids to think and make RIGHT decisions for themselves. Don’t let society make their decisions for them.

    Also, it’s important to teach them the reasons behind the principles you’re trying to instill, such as abstinence. Then when it’s time for them to decide for themselves, they are not doing so blindly (i.e., either just to rebel, or just because their parents said so).

  15. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Yes, I do believe abstinence is possible What I absolutely take exception to is this way of doing it. I think it sends the wrong message to our kids about trust, or lack thereof, pushes girls into marriage early with potentially the wrong partner and stunts the growth that she might achieve had she had an opportunity to leave the “nest”. Again, abstinence is possible; this is just a poor way of ensuring it.

  16. Auntie Lisa

    February 6, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I think her method is fine while they ARE in the nest. It’s pretty hard to imply from her post that she intends to carry this on once the kids are out on their own and still single. I don’t believe that is her intention. She was mainly addressing the teen years.

  17. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Yes, I got that too, but what happens when they go off to college, presuming they do? So they court as a family, got it, the young man has watched the relationship with the parents, got it. The suitor decides (the kids are still living at home) that their daughter is the one, then what? That is what I am asking and it is not a rhetorical question. Does she go to college? Does the “courtship” as she describes it, continue and if so, how? She has addressed my site on her blog, thanking me for linking to her site (along with a snide remark about how “this woman” interviews people for a living, which anyone who looks at my bio right on the site would know I haven’t done that for years) and saying I didn’t understand. She promised to open a dialogue about it so I left a comment asking her how we could do that. Honestly, I am curious and would love to hear from her. But Lisa, given the ugly dig, I somehow I doubt it. It’s funny too, their church is in my hometown and probably one I would have attended.

  18. warriorwoman

    February 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Rene.

    Here’s your reply on my blog: Hey there warriorwoman:

    Happy to link to your page. Would love the opportunity for discussion; I think diversity of opinion is what makes this country great. BTW, “this woman” doesn’t interview people for a living. I have embarked on a different path after my double mastectomy and a few other life crises.

    Wishing you nothing but the best and hope to hear from you.
    Rene Syler
    February 6, 2011 2:57 PM

    Here’s my response: Hi Rene,

    I completely agree with you that diversity of opinion makes this country great. It strengthens all of us. Someone not open to discussion is not very secure in their opinions

    So sorry to hear about your double mastectomy & other life crises. It’s great that you’re representing the Susan G Komen for the Cure!

    I work with children with special needs, mainly autism, at our church. We serve about 20 families, coaching their kids one-on-one so their parents can attend service or just get a coffee for 90 minutes.

    Having taught in the public schools, then being exposed to homeschooled kids, my husband & I were convinced we had to try it for our own. No regrets. Learned about the concept of courtship through the homeschooling community. Was weird to us, too, when we first heard about it. Thought it was “cult-like,” but it’s not.

    I also appreciate that your blog encourages moms to ditch the guilt & be ok with “good enough.” I have several entries on my blog that say the same thing. A book I loved is titled “The Sacrificial Mother,” by Dr. Karin Rubenstein. Fantastic view on the physiological reasons why some moms can’t let go, stop caring for themselves, etc. I’m sure you’ve probably read it.

    When it comes to some things, going with the flow of society is just not “good enough.” We don’t reach goals without setting them. Abstinence is just one piece of the pie in courtship. Courtship allows one to get to know the whole person. Dating is fake. Like pretending. Courtship is being real, living life side-by-side. You don’t really understand someone until you meet their family. Every time I go visit my hubby’s family, I understand him better. Courtship makes sense. And I expect my sons to respect their potential wives by courting, not dating them. My kids laughed out loud when I read your blog & readers’ responses to them. So, discussion is a good thing.

    My husband and I made great sacrifices financially to homeschool. And we will make sacrifices to walk our kids through courtship, many years down the road. We were virgins when we married, even though many others in our peer groups were not. It can be done.

    Our kids attend a college-prep charter school now, 4 days per week. They attend social functions at school & church, are in sports, music groups, & have lots of fun.

    I welcome discussion & look forward to hearing more from you, Rene.

    February 6, 2011 5:05 PM

  19. warriorwoman

    February 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    The college question & courtship. Good question. My hubby & I have talked about this lots with other families. One of my daughters (my eldest), who is very mature–

    check out her blog–

    –very well may marry younger, like during college. But she will not go away to college by herself in the first 2 years. Here’s why. Some very good friends of ours, who both graduated from Julliard sent their daughter there. Living on campus was a requirement. Her roommate literally moved her boyfriend’s bed into the room–the size of a closet–and nothing our friends or her daughter did could change that. The school did nothing. This happened during their daughter’s 3rd year in Julliard–not an easy school to get into. The family decided their daughter’s spiritual life & integrity were more valuable than her musical education, so they withdrew her. She & the whole family travel the world performing, writing, singing, etc. You’ve probaby heard of them. The Annie Moses Band. They are AMAZING!

    We don’t bow & worship at the altar of college or of birth control. We worship God. We do it His way. He invented sex, a beautiful thing worth fighting & waiting for, & His ways are best. You already know statistics show the best, most fulfilling sex happens between committed, married people who have had only one partner.

    So thankful for discussion.

    Now, my questions: where do you attend church? Does your pastor think abstinence is not realistic, too?

    Do you think teaching kids that sex is beautiful & wonderful means they should engage in it with protection before marriage?

    Do you think the legal driving age is too young, & we should let our kids drive when they feel ready, with or without a license?

    Thanks so much for being open to discussion. We can all learn from each other.

  20. warriorwoman

    February 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    By the way, Rene, you are a very beautiful woman, and your kids are beautiful, too!

  21. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Wow, amazing about Julliard. Well, every church I have ever attended preached/taught what yours does and to go against that (teach something other than abstinence) would be to go against the teachings in the Bible. And while I respect your view, this is where you and I will part ways. I am not going to homeschool my children. I am going to let them date and I’ll let them do it without my husband and I being present. In fact, I want my kids to date, which I do not see as synonymous with sex, so they can figure out who they don’t want to be with. Yes, I hope they decide to wait to have sex until after they’re married, but I am also a realist and once they’re adults they’re making their own decisions. That is precisely why I am teaching them what I am now.
    And as I said in the initial post, I pray they do not get married before 30; I want them to have had a chance to travel the world, take jobs without having to worry about moving the whole family, and know the joy of being completely alone. I didn’t get married until I was 31 and I dated a lot. That is not a euphemism for sex. My TV career took me miles from my home of Sacramento, CA and that, along with the fact that my father died when I was young, made it impossible for any potential suitors to meet my family. But I wasn’t looking for a mate, I was looking for a date. Someone to go to the movies or theater with and have great conversation. And that is the way I am raising my kids too. Re: the driving question, is that literal or are you drawing a conclusion between driving a car and dating. I’m not clear on that.
    Anyway, I do appreciate you writing and explaining your position. We’re of the big tent philosophy here at

  22. Rene Syler

    February 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Oh thanks so much!!

  23. Will Jones

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I think we’d all love for our children to wait until marriage… and wait on marriage until after college… which would mean that all of our children would make it through four years of high school and at least four years of college before they were married or had sex… making them about twenty-two years old before their first sexual encounter.
    …Truth is, out of every woman and every man I know (and that’s a pretty good number of folks), I’m amlost possitive that not a single one of them made it to 22. I preach abstinence, but I teach safe sex. We teach our kids to drive defensively and obey every traffic law, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need a seat belt… incase there’s an accident.

  24. warriorwoman

    February 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Your blog opened by asking readers if abstinence was really realistic for 2011. You assumed that we “forbid” our daughters from dating, and have made us out to be prehistoric weirdos. You misread my entire blog & made a whole production out of it, then couldn’t believe it that I didn’t pick up by reading the left side of yours that you no longer do any interviews. I can’t believe someone with interviewing skills in your past would do as crummy an interpretation as you have. You insulted me, my family, and courtship in general.

    I am thankful we part ways here. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Parenting isn’t for everyone.

    Good Enough isn’t good enough for me. I want way more out of life for myself & my kids. It always amazes me how people think themselves to be so open-minded, then narrowly compartmentalize every idea they don’t understand. I did date. That’s why I want no part of it for my kids. It’s a hoax.

    My husband & my roles are NOT the traditional roles you apparently assume. He does most of the cooking & decorating. I am best with the finances, math, directions, & logic. I did the teaching because I’m the educator. We both got our educations before dating seriously. Did we go to banquets, etc in college? Yes, in groups.

    I respect your plan to discourage your kids to wait until 30 to marry. Good luck with that. I disagree with it. When I’m done raising my kids, they get to marry when they want, but they have already chosen courtship, not dating, when that time comes.

    I think it is narrow-minded to assume that church people want their daughters to marry as young as possible in order to have sanctioned sex. That is certainly not the case in the circles where I run. That sounds Middle Ages.

    It has been very enlightening to me to see how some people think, but I’m signing off on this conversation. I have much better things to do.

    Good luck searching for answers!

  25. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Wow, well, this is certainly a departure from your earlier responses. For the record, I did not assume anything. You said you did not allow your kids to date. Look up forbid in the dictionary and what does it say? Prohibit. Is that not what you meant? Prehistoric weirdos? What are you talking about? My blog is my opinion, just as yours is your opinion. You are a pastor’s wife, yet three times have used your position to insult me (my interview skills on your blog, your kids laughing at my post and those responses of my readers, again on your blog, and here once again). I explained to you what Good Enough Mother meant, but you choose to ignore that explanation and bend it to fit your own vision.

    Here’s the difference between you and me. I expect and encourage respectful debate, even from those whose opinions differ from my own. I will not insult or bully. You, the pastor’s wife, have done that three times. Narrow-minded? Not even close. Shocked by the turnabout in your responses, you could say that. Your church, that I thought looked kind of cool and welcoming from the website, the one I thought I’d like to try if I was still living in my hometown? Thanks but doesn’t sound like I’d be real welcome by you or your flock.

    Good luck as you search for answers too, though it sounds like you have all you need or want. Besides, it’s really only the narrow-minded among us who have the courage to ask honestly, understanding that we don’t.

  26. Auntie Lisa

    February 7, 2011 at 12:34 am

    OK, Rene and warriorwoman, you need to stop blasting each other and talk nice… time-out for both of you!

  27. Jacki Marie

    February 7, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I’m a Christian and I love the LORD with my whole heart. God sees our hearts, man only sees the actions. Keeping that in mind, my purpose in raising my kids is not only to prepare them for the world and real life, but to please the Lord in the process. You can’t please the Lord with just your actions– remember He sees the heart. I hope my children will want to remain abstinent until marriage because of all we’ve talked about. If it’s my rule and not theirs, I’m asking for rebellion.
    The twelve year old in my house said to me tonight that “parenting should be like giving your kids the ultimate road map and pointing them in the right direction instead of handcuffing their arms behind their backs and pushing them through life.”
    The key is talking, explaining, teaching, directing, guiding, and the like instead of forbidding, restricting, manipulating etc..
    Funny how so many Christians are a lot more restrictive than Christ himself is. He does the road map thing making sure we know the way, and provides guidance all the way and even points out the pitfalls. But does He literally restrict us?
    To answer your question is it realistic? I think it is, but only if that young person wants it. If they are doing it just to obey the parents rules, the potential is there when the parents are not that it could all go out the window.

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  29. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Thank you Jacki for explaining in a clear and rational way. And wow, congrats on doing such an awesome job with the 12-year-old. He’s already clearly wise beyond his years. That is a testament to the teaching and guiding you, as a parent have done. Well done, mom

  30. Kolleen

    February 7, 2011 at 1:19 am

    I do find it interesting that her “About Me” is written by her husband. She can’t describe herself, or she wanted to sound so amazing without having to say it herself? Strange.

    Her blog about courtship sounds all neat, tidy and perfect, but seriously…everyone grows up. You are part of a family, but you must become an individual!

    Rene, thank you for being realistic.

  31. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 1:21 am

    I believe all get to do as they see fit in their lives and the lives of their kids until they leave the nest or 18, whichever comes first. Dating or courting are BOTH essentially fake situations. All parties are on their best behaviors. I can’t imagine having gone on a first outing to meet her family. I’d be a nervous wreck, and not myself, as probably would she. I grew up with sevral pastors kids and they would regularly act one way in their cloistered home, do and say what their parents wanted, so they could then go out with us, often change their clothes and be themselves. Except for one pastors family who ran our youth group. He honestly answered all our questions about “sex, drugs & Rock n Roll”, and his daughter, one of the most attractive gals in our town was also one of the most chaste. She was given a strong moral compass. Her father trusted that he had done this job of setting an ethical menu well enough to allow her to attend all our parties, co-ed campouts, etc. There was some sex at these campouts, etc. But only by the kids who “had something to prove, we’re living in chaotic or some unloved homes, (and were simply looking for love where they could get it. If you love your kid, they’ll not llok for it from others so early. because they’ll know its worth and not crave it so.) None of us boys ever pushed her, (although we all imagined and masturbated furiously to her picture in our heads as young boys are wont to do), because we respeced her and her dad too much. He even allowed me..a JEW! to take her to the 8th grade dance!
    It was between these various homes that I learned the difference between belonging to a church and being a truly spiritual person. One was almost as much about following rules and having your life constantly judged by others, and the opther seemed to welcome asking questions as we kids grew into spiritual people of our own stripe. We knes Father Jake, (The youth pastor I speak of), was “A man of God” specifically because he operated on a paradigm of open love, not judgment, nor was he a member of “The Thought Police”. Our mids were, in fact, encouraged to ask and question our faiths and moral basis laid down around us. He would willingly listen and then defend his beliefs with a loving explanation full of what we later found to be all truths.
    My Mom took me to see MASH when I was 6 years old, to many Truffaut films and to Europe where we saw the natural way naked bodies are accepted as a TRUE gift from God. Not something dirty or to be secreted away. Our mother sat us all down at the age of 12 and told us about sex, the bird and the bees, etc. She also clearly laid out the boundaries or parameters of behavior that was expected from us. Because she was so permissive, while simultaneously explaining everything, I felt armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions. It was simply a no-no not to use a condom if we decided to have sex. I carried that with me until I got married, realizing what a true and deep responsibility being responsible for another human life can be/is. Because life was DEmystified in our house, all my siblings and myself are happily married with a wonderful honest and open extended family today.
    Had she lived under this womans rules, I’d have never experienced my first spiritual love. (I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 18.) Nor would I probably have been allowed in her house ina “courting capacity” (Her kid s may even think I had horns and a hook nose. just kidding.) Most of the kids I know who grew up in cloistered homes had a tough time their first years on their own, especially if they left their close family circle. Some acted out and the first taste of freedom was like a sudden drug they were unprepared for instead of the next step in the maturation process. How anyone can believe their kid is turning out to be “their own person full of a life of their own choosing is quite misled. Sure she’s free to choose, but only within the paramters of her small, enclosed existence. It is only when we are truly free to see the world as a whole that we are truly putting things together to make conscious choices with linear thought. When a parent carefully provides a complete education of the world as a whole, and lays down a consistent basis and example of how they wish their child to live can a son or daughter truly be said to be “making their opwn decisions”
    If you raise me in a life where everything is blue, tell me any other color will somehow damage me, of course I’ll choose blue when I first go out because its the only color I know or have any experience with. That is NOT free choice. That is brainwashing. And I’m not saying warrior Mother is an utter example of this type of child rearing. But I certainly see Rene’s paradigm as more of “a real world example, full of true life choices.”
    The cloistered kids I grew up with, acted out just as their parents feared because they were kept caged. I watched a few of them have real problems in their professional and relationship life because they lacked many social skills the rest of us had. The girls, especially, either acted out sexually or were taken advantage of and then mocked behind their backs. The boys had trouble learning how to treat modern women as expected in today’s society. (One of them still lives at home. Utterly lost.) These are extremes of course, but how can one run around screaming about truth, truth, truth and essentially lie to their children about what the whole world holds for them. Somemight call this love. I call it misguided good intentions.
    Bottom line is you set a good example, as imperfect as we all are, keep your kid informed of the world and how you expect them to navigate it wisely, and you will wind up with…wise young adults, capable of navigating in today’s world as a whole.

  32. warriorwoman

    February 7, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Wow. So glad we homeschooled in the wide world. This is narrow, folks. Really narrow.

    Rene, your tone with me was way different on my blog than here in front of your readers. Remember, you sought me out, I just responded to you & tried to help you understand our viewpoint is not as narrow as you & your readers continue to believe.

    Oh, and since I’m a pastor’s wife, I’m not supposed to set anyone straight? Why? because Jesus wouldn’t? He certainly did.

    Christians are not the narrow minded ones. Nor are we the judgemental ones.

    Part of our homeschooling mission statement, when we did homeschool was, “The whole world is my classroom.”

    There are no formulas or guarantees with raising kids, folks. We are all free moral agents.

    Why do you criticize mine, then call it “discussion?” But when I set you straight, then I’m the judgemental pastor’s wife?

    And don’t kid yourself, you wouldn’t have visited my church anyway. And for the record, I am NOT typical for my church. I am me. My church lets me believe & raise my children as I see fit, and I respect my fellow church member’s desires to raise their kids as they see fit.

    Cloistered? I suppose if you’re an only child raised on a farm 80 miles from civilization. Not my kids.

    But this has been entertaining.

  33. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 1:51 am

    So well said David. Love your point about not being able to even get in the door to try and court and about the kids being given choices from a limited selection. You also reiterated my point about the acting out phase or being socially stunted. Surely not in all cases, but we’ve all seen them, haven’t we? I doubt warriorwoman will be back, even though I know she’s checking the site (more than half a dozen times yesterday and early this morning alone. Analytics is an amazing thing). As I said in response to her myriad insults to me, I wish her well but I don’t think she wants or needs that from those of us who ask questions. What on earth could someone as narrow-minded as me have to offer her?

  34. Joss

    February 7, 2011 at 1:57 am

    David, if I could “like” your response a thousand times I would.

    I am a product of over bearing parents. I experimented sexually early and dabbled in drugs. I also had a child at 21. I am now 29, married, university educated, and competent as an adult but it took me years and years to discover myself and figure out the world from scrth because I was never once guided in how to navigate my way on my own. It has set me back years from my peers. Probably only obvious to me, but I do not intend to raise my own children in the same nieve way.

  35. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Thanks Joss! This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Thanks for giving us the view from the inside. I’m sure you’re doing just fine, BTW 🙂

  36. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 2:15 am

    This lady is kind of helping to turn it into a war of upbringing paradigm and a personal matter than to make it about the eventual lives the child will live, eventually, under each paradigm.
    People are ALWAYS more polite in public, (especially prior to being insulted), because that is the socially accepted behavior. This is Rene’s blog and her home. If you can’t “walk around in your underwear at home” then it’s not a home. (And sure I could say something smarmy like, “Of, thats right, you people walk around voered up all the time to hide the human body you claim to revere so much”, but thats NOT what I’m trying to do with my words. Nor do I think is Rene.)
    I can’t help but think that this lady came in looking for a bad reaction so she could wind up going to exactly the place she has. It’s too easy of a trap not to fall into. She was just as polite until she started in with the closed minded comments too! Why? Thats whats socially accpeted as adult behavior. I did not see Rene try and cut this lady off. All she did was disagree with her, posit her opinion and react to being called something she’s not and what she saw on the other blog. It was opinion, not derogation of the person.
    We all know people like Joss. And I’m not saying this happens to everyone who grows up cloistered. (And Bless you for being so open and honest Joss. I know that took a bit of courage and honesty to post.) But it is listed in the psychiatric books because it IS so prevalent, not because it is a rarity. Humans DO act in many ways we can prognosticate pretty clearly these days according to the buttons the parents push during upbringing and life experience in general, etc.
    Is it an insult to point out that a cloistered upbringing often results ina confused young adult? Thats as insulting as saying that 2+2=4!
    We’ve ALL had one or two bad parental paradigms practiced on us. Mostly with love and unintentional. But they create the same results despite any intetion, good or bad. Thats all thats being said.

  37. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Criticizing a paradigm IS discussion, not a personal attack. How can you raise someone in a cultural cage and compare that to being “a moral free agent”? (Maybe a morale free agent. just kidding.)
    I have to say, I admire warrior Mom’s tenacity though. She blieves what she believes and stands behind it. She’s just assuming when she leaves the comfort of her circle that “regular people”/people on this blog will automatically attack her way of thinking. This does not start things off on a truly calm and open trading ground of ideas, but one fraught with anxiety and anger. Does not bode well for a calm follow through.

  38. dianthe

    February 7, 2011 at 4:03 am

    oh Warriorwoman, to be a morally straight, holier-than-thou “good” Christian like you – then i could call people names and mock their choices under the guise of “setting them straight” – i’m sure that’s exactly what Jesus would do – in case you don’t recognize it, that’s sarcasm – being the perfect Christian that you are, you may not be familiar with it

    but me – i’m just an imperfect Catholic who fails daily at being perfect – fortunately for me, i serve a forgiving God …

    there are so many things about your post that i find interesting, but the big one is how you assume that those of us who will allow our children to “date” just send our kids out willy nilly to do whatever – seriously? i won’t allow my kids to have overnights with kids whose families i don’t know, so what makes you think i’d send my kid out in a car with someone i’ve never met – do you think you’re the only person who is part of a community? do you think you’re the only parent who has conversations about love and marriage with their children?

    and in reference to “waking love before it’s time” – do you really think you’re capable of controlling the emotions of your children? i fell in “love” at least a half a dozen times before i was ever allowed to date – and i was doing nothing more than hanging out with family and friends in group settings, like you recommend – i also fell in “love” with a man i almost married – we were friends for several years before we ever dated so it’s not like i didn’t know him – but as it turned out, he wasn’t the man for me

    i love how you list all the things that your daughters will want in a mate and then point out that it will change over the years – that proves my point of why we should date rather than “courting” – that’s part of what dating is – learning what you do and don’t like in a potential mate – learning what you will and won’t put up with – the “good provider and loves Jesus” part is easy – but what about personal interests – people grow and interests change – especially in your 20s – i barely knew who i was then – i’d be interested to know the average age of marriage for those who follow your line of thinking – i’d also be interested to know how long they stay married and if they stay married because they’re happy and in love or because divorce is taboo

    and saving courtship until they’re mature enough for marriage – how do YOU know when that is? God sent me the perfect man but didn’t send him until i was 31 – what if God waits until then (or later) to send your children’s mate? are you going to monitor your kids and their interactions with the opposite sex until then? how about teaching them the skills they’ll need to interact with the opposite sex so they can make those decisions for themselves? how about trusting them and their personal relationship with God to make decisions based on the morals you’ve taught them?

    i have friends from all walks of life – some who home school and some who don’t – some who saved themselves for marriage, some who didn’t – i have friends who have been married for years and some who are on their 2nd or 3rd marriage – i have *gasp* same-sex couple friends who have been together for over 20 years and i even have friends that are *whispers* Atheists!! and you know what they all have in common? they all respect the differences that we have and are willing to have open and honest dialogue with one another without resorting to insults and claiming that their beliefs are right while everyone else’s are wrong – even the ones who claim to be “church people”, like you

  39. Mia

    February 7, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I neglected to mention I was one of those kids who family was a integral part of the church. There wasn’t a whole bunch of conversation about sex other than don’t have it. I had to go to church on average 4 days out of the week. Guess what I went buck wild the minute I left because I felt I missed so much. The only thing I was sure off was I didn’t want kids out of wedlock. I felt that way because I remember hearing my elders talk about people on the family who Dix have kids out of wedlock and it wasn’t a pretty conversation. They called them illegitimate and a bastard. So that was my lesson sadly no kids out of wedlock. I got on birth control and took them like my life depended on them. I have never had and don’t think I would but it was set in stone for me no kids out of wedlock.
    I’ll admit I was sorely disappointed when my girls got pregnant because we discussed often birth control. They just thought they were in love and wanted to have a child. It still baffles me.
    Bottom line I don’t think being super strict works.

  40. Mia

    February 7, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Lots of errors in above post. Sorry. I didn’t finish one thought. I never had an abortion and don’t believe I ever could unless I was raped or the pregnancy would kill me.

  41. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

    You sound pretty pissed, warriorwoman, so there really isn’t anything else to say at this point. This site, as David pointed out, is my home. It is where I express my opinions. When I go to other blogs (people’s homes), I am respectful because that is not my place. You “set me straight” alright, by calling me names and insulting me. Not sure how that works exactly but okay, if that’s your thing, well that’s your thing.

    I had questions and you had an opportunity to answer in a way that might have educated people, enlightened them, made them think a bit differently. Instead, you chose to pick up your bat and ball, and go home. You are safe now, back in a place where no one will challenge what you believe, think or do. For me, I’ll stay out here, learning, asking questions, growing, being open to new ideas and opinions which I will then share with my children. I will teach them the world is a big place and that not everyone believes as they do but we are respectful nonetheless.

    I am curious though about how you are so sure I wouldn’t visit your church? Do you know that to be true or are you secretly hoping that is the case? My guess is the latter.

  42. Charles M.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I think that this lady, being a devout Christian, is narrow-minded, based on her beliefs. She is living in that “Christian Bubble ” of ignorance to utter reality! I am not anti-religious, but I am a realist, there are many people I know in my life and family whose WHOLE life is viewed through “Christian Goggles” , and they see nothing else.

    The same goes for many other faiths like Islam, etc. She is raising her kids to be unhappy later in life, when they are in their 30’s w/kids and wondering “where did their lives go”.

    Soon, some of these young pastor’s offspring will find themselves on Ashley Madison, looking for “adventure” and “purpose” (among other things) in their life, etc–All the things that they missed while being married young; things that their peers were experiencing.

  43. Smarty P. Jones

    February 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Well, a lot has been said here, GEM. And you know I’m about to say a lil’ more, right? Here we go …

    Is abstinence possible in 2011? It sure is, so is a lot of other outdated teachings. Abstinence or sexual activity comes down to one thing, choice. If a kid chooses to be abstinent, she will will.

    No kids here, yet, but, I used to be one and not that long ago. I was a virgin until the day before my 18th birthday. Was it hard to remain such, it sure was. Teenage hormones are crazy and the only thing driving me to remain abstinent was the fact that I felt it was my duty to break the cycle of teenage motherhood in my family.

    My grandmother married my grandfather at 15 and started having babies. She finished high school with one of her 10 kids. My mother had my brother when she was 18 just 20 days after graduating high school. My sister had my niece just six months after graduating high school.
    I’m sure my grandmother tried to instill abstinence in her kids, just like my mom told us in the beginning. Once my stepsister got to high school, all bets were off and we got the “birth control” speech.

    Teaching and preaching abstinence works only when parents are around to micro-manage their children and you can’t be there 24/7. Making good choices starts at a much earlier age. You have to trust yourself as a parent. As a kid, we can tell when you don’t.

    Home-schooling, participating with other kids is all fine and good, but I have seen kids go completely crazy when it came time for them to make their own decisions. I can’t tell you how many sheltered kids left college early with drinking problems or unwanted pregnancies because their parents sheltered them from life.

    As far as the religious teachings, I’ve been in church my whole life and I gotta tell ya, some of the most sexually charged folks have been those who practically LIVED in church as a kid. I know this because I lived this. The first guy I ever slept with is now a preacher. He’s known his entire life he’d be preaching, did that stop his hormones? NO!

    The bottom line is you have to teach your kids to make good decisions and trust yourself, them and God that they’ll continue to do it. If not, those are their mistakes to make. You can’t control their whole lives.

  44. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    How can you be so young and consistently the voice of reason? Riddle me this…..

  45. Bill Stack

    February 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I believe that children are a gift from God, and entrusted to parents by Him, to be raised with nurture and respect for Him. Train up a child in the way he or she should go, and when they are older, they will not depart from it. Some parents accept that role, and do their best to fulfill it, while others feel that God has no business being involved in their family, and they will raise their children (or not raise them) any way that pleases them. Even among those seeking to raise their children to serve God, there are varying ideas on how to do that. What we must remember is that parents have been given the authority, responsibility, and joy, from God, to do this. Before we all rush to judgement on how another parent is raising their children, and demean children we haven’t even met in the process, we should maybe get to know them first. But then again, that supposes that we are all adults in the first place, and truly interested in good ideas on raising children.

  46. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Thanks Bill. Again, I raised the question on my site, based on my upbringing and how I am raising my children. When my readers asked about my opinions, I gave them based on what I have experienced. When I was referred to on another blog, where there was talk of “opening a dialogue”, I respectfully asked how to do that. And then the whiplash occurred. Listen, I’m not going to go into this all over again; if you want a primer, you need only go through a read these posts. The fact is, as is a hallmark of Good Enough Mother, you have to do what works for your family. We’re all doing the level best we can.

    Bill, of course we are all adults here, who can agree to disagree. Thank you for respectfully weighing in.

  47. Bill Stack

    February 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

    As many who have posted have acknowledged, some of the old ways of trying to raise children (like, just taking or sending them to church, but not ever developing a strong relationship with them while you do that, and modeling a Christian life before them) don’t really have much impact in the long run, unless the child develops their own relationship with God in spite of their parents’ lack of one. What intrigues me about Warriour Woman’s blog is that she is sharing ideas that no one else has mentioned, and they seem to be working quite well. Instead of talking about her ideas and experience, most seem to be trying to attach the results of old paradigms onto her new ideas. The very fact that so many people are disillusioned with the old paradigms of raising children that haven’t worked, to me just give credibility and koodos to warriour woman for trying something different. You go girl !!

  48. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Pastor Stack:
    Again, I thank you for your comments. I am very open to diversity of opinion, as I mentioned to warriorwoman. That’s one of the things that makes this country great. I respect your opinion and your taking the time to comment on this post and site. We should, in the interest of full disclosure, let folks know that you are related to warriorwoman, though that in no way diminishes or invalidates your point of view.
    Thanks again

  49. Bill Stack

    February 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Rene,
    Thank you for posting my thoughts on your site here. It is an honor and a privilege. As you have already suspected or discovered, I am the proud brother of warriorwoman. I am that pesky older brother that warriorwoman’s husband had to impress enough, for me to give her a nod of approval to, to take a chance on spending the rest of her life with. This wasn’t something that I or my parents instisted on, it was simply something she wanted – an extra layer of respected opinion to base her major life decision on. With a successful first marriage of nearly 20 years, and 4 of the greatest children you would ever meet (aside from your own, of course), I believe she has some valuable things to say. Those things don’t happen without knowing and doing something that most people don’t do (just look at the failure rate of marriages and families today – including religious ones). It was wrong for her to have gotten defensive and rude when her ideas and character were challenged, in an audience as large and diverse as yours, but her ideas on children and family are sound…she has the living credentials to prove it. Thank you for your time, and for acknowledging the validity of my points of view. Your children are blessed to have you as their mother.

  50. Jeremiah Doctson

    February 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Interesting post. As you mentioned with Pastor Stack earlier, I think its also fair to let people know I am Rene’s nephew, for what it’s worth. I’m sitting in lecture right now (I know I should be paying attention) so I only vaguely skimmed through the article and the comments. But I have a question I hope someone from a pro-abstinence viewpoint can answer me; Why is abstinence important/necessary? If your answer stems back to God, what gives him this right to impose how he deems when to and how to engage in sexual activity when he himself designed humans with biology that causes us to be the most sexual animals on earth? Why did he design genitals for both genders if he intends for us to only use them upon marriage, which for some may never happen? And why does he care what we do with these sexual organs? Why did he design us in such a way that sexual desires are natural, if they’re supposed to be avoided? Lastly, what is wrong with responsible adults once they reach 18 making their own decisions about their sexual activity if they are educated on the subject and are safe?

  51. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Pastor Stack:
    Wow, thank you. I really am at a loss for words and that NEVER happens. It’s funny, I’m sitting here now writing a post about the God I know. I have to tell you, sir, have given me great faith that people can differ and be respectful. I understand the emotion that comes when you’re under attack, believe me I do. But I think in the vein of Gandhi and MLK Jr. we can take moments like this and use them to teach and maybe even learn a little something ourselves. I was very open to hearing what WW had to say, even through the backhanded compliments and they came early and often. But I’ve had far worse said about me; you don’t spend 20 years in TV without developing a thick skin. I am curious by nature and while my initial post was pointed and spiky,I went to her blog to find out more. Then she came to my post, saw what my readers were saying and I, in response to them (before I heard from her) and it was game over. My writing today is based on the exchange between she and I and how people can learn, even from those so drastically different from us. I do suspect there are things about her method that are valid and I was looking forward to hearing about them before I got shut down. There is also validity to my parenting as well, and she has been kind enough to acknowledge that on her blog.

    Pastor Stack, this motherhood thing, ha, is pretty scary at times. I believe in my heart of hearts, that warriorwoman and I are simply doing the level best we can. Different methods but searching for the same result. Thank you again for writing and she is lucky to have you as a brother!

  52. Carmen

    February 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    To further support what Smarty said so eloquently— I wrote a thesis on teen pregnancy when I was in college and did extensive research on different methods of sex education. What was really interesting about it was that time and time again, kids who had been exposed to the most information about sex were also the MOST likely to remain abstinent. But they made that choice for themselves. Abstinence was included in their sex education, but it wasn’t forced upon them. Interestingly enough, the ones who were *only* taught abstinence also had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates.

    I can also tell you from personal experience that the kids whose parents held onto them so tightly during their time at home were the ones who went completely wild in college. I mean, to the point where they still haven’t recovered. They made life-changing mistakes in college and IMHO it was because their parents didn’t provide them with the tools they needed to survive…. the ability to make the right choices for themselves. Instead, they only said, “don’t do this” and “don’t do that.”

    I’m not going to go too deeply into this, just wanted to add my 0.02.

  53. Bill Stack

    February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Rene, I am blessed and proud to have WW as a sister, as well. I respect you both as Mothers, and will be keeping you and your followers in our prayers. Real parents (whether Mom or Dad) are in short supply these days; I commend everyone who is hanging in there, even when not sure how to do what you are doing. Just remember, you were appointed by God to raise those children, so He believes in you all, whoever you may be. You can do it, with His help. God bless

  54. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks Pastor Stack. God Bless you too!

  55. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks Carmen! Great info.. appreciate it 🙂

  56. stacey

    February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    The other day picking Philip up from the child care center at the gym, I spied my 4 year old doing a great job washing his hands after using the bathroom. He didn’t know I was there, no one else was in the bathroom. I was so proud of him for washing his hands with out me reminding him.

    Doug and I were invited to the Larkin’s New Years party. On the way I told my 4 yeard old what behavior I expected from him. I was told by a woman that when my son was introduced to her, he shook her hand and said “it’s nice to meet you.”

    You are right, I do the best I can to teach my child good behavior, make it clear what I expect of him. the rest is to trust that you’ve given everything they need when you are not around.

    And you know I waited a long time to be married. I needed those dating experiences to weed out the men that weren’t right for me and for whom I was not right for. This way I will not end up in divorce because I made a solid choice for all the right reasons. I’m expecting a girl and want to raise her with self respect, self restraint and independence.

  57. Dani

    February 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Not a big fan of the courtship ritual. I think teens should go out with friends in groups – my nieces and nephews and their friends do this. It helps them learn to be friends with the opposite sex first, before getting serious. 1-on-1 dating puts too much pressure on the friendship; “going steady” with one person may inhibit them from getting to know others. You never know when/where your soulmate will enter your life!

    I agree that kids (ALL kids) should be out on their own and independent before entering into marriage or parenthood. I’ve seen too many women enter into marriage because they needed to be supported, financially. Your soulmate should be someone you WANT to marry, not NEED to marry.

    And for boys, I think it’s important to enter into a marriage after the umbilical cord has been cut. My father never lived on his own – he moved from his parents house right into his first apartment with his new bride. He would starve if he had to cook for himself!

  58. Al

    February 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm


    I think you should do a bit more reflection and research into homeschooling and courtship before you dismiss it. What I saw here was a strawman argument. It sounded like you read a single article on the two topics, made up your mind on what it must mean, and declared it wrong.

  59. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Hey Al,
    Thanks for writing in. Yeah, it’s certainly an interesting concept and one my own children have a few questions about. But as I have said before, this site, just like most sites( warriorwoman’s included) are about personal opinions. This is not a news report. I would have liked to hear more about it from warriorwoman herself. I’m sure you know that won’t be happening and it’s not because I’m not interested.
    Thanks for your input

  60. Pingback: The God I Know: Religion And The Real World

  61. Nikki

    February 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Renee, I agree with you that so many of my personal friends who left straight from their father’s home & got married, later divorced because they missed their opportunity to “find” themselves & what they liked & disliked.
    I agree with Dani that “group dating” is safest.
    I teach my own teen, it’s only normal to be attracted to someone else(my personal preference is the other sex) that there are many things he needs to learn about the opposite sex, like facial expressions, body language, which tears mean what so on an so forth. But alot of responsibility comes with becoming sexual active because it’s different for girls & boys, that girls his age may “fall in love” when he may be searching for physical satisfaction(if u know what I mean) so my beliefs speak to abstinence, however, i believe in “the whole picture” & reality is we are living in a more “sexualized society”, sex is being used for everything & teens need to be able to make an informed decision when & if they do decide to have sex. I feel the longer they can wait the better.

  62. Elsie Renae

    February 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    My response to Warrior Woman’s post is that I don’t think it really matters how you label a relationship (dating, courting, spending time together, getting to know one another, or just simply “hanging” as some young people like to say). I think what’s more critical is the “foundation” of the relationship.

    The term “courting” is old-fashioned and sort of implies purity and taking things slow. Whereas the term “dating” is modern and sort of implies life in the fast lane. But just because something is implied in the minds of others does not make it so. And that’s a fact, which is why I aim to avoid labels. I think Warrior Woman should also avoid labels.

    I get it and love it that she wants her daughter to “court” and take it slow. And I hope she honors her mom and more importantly herself by doing so.

    Now, in response to Warrior Woman’s post, you made some very good and valid points about parents who closely monitor their children. But, Rene, you spoke too much in general terms and of course there are always exceptions to the rule. In your response, you didn’t really allow much room for exceptions, and I think that’s why Warrior Woman got defensive — she believes (and might be right) that her situation is (or will be) an exception.

    In the end, I think that all “good” mothers (those who are perfectly good enough just as they are and those who strive for perfection), just do the very best they can to raise their kids right based on their experiences, hopes and dreams. Your children will one day surprise you AND hopefully in the very best way possible. And not featured in the lead story on the 6:00 news. 🙂 Humor intended!!

    Peace & joy to all good mommies everywhere!

  63. Rene Syler

    February 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Elsie Renae: AMEN re: 6:00 lead, LOL!

    Yep, we’re all doing our best. Yep I spoke in generalities, hoping someone would give more detail. But let’s be honest, even though I said at the end of the post that not all would turn out this way, WW was already on the defensive. No need to rehash; I’ve said it all before. But point of note for future reference; I allow all comments to be published, including dissenting or differing views. Warriorwoman is now moderating her comments (she wasn’t before), and, as someone who wrote to her told me, she took out 90 percent of their comment, leaving only the part tailored to her argument. And I’m the narrow-minded one. It’s funny to me because I think I went to church camp with people like her. They trash you among their friends but publicly are quick with a “Bless her.” Ah, well, God knows what’s in our heart.

    Appreciate your comments!

  64. Elsie Renae

    February 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Yep, you’re right! You did state at the end that there are exceptions. But by then, the broad strokes had already offended Warrior Woman.

    Some bloggers are one-sided, not really open for debate and challenge. They just want to express themselves. And that’s perfectly fine, but they should remove the comments feature from their blogs, especially if they can’t handle a different perspective without losing control. That’s interesting and amusing that Warrior Woman edited someone’s comments to fit her preference.

    Oh well, on to the next heated topic … Bristol Palin is writing a memoir?? Say it isn’t so!

  65. Rene Syler

    February 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Yes!! It is so! LoL! Will it be on your summer reading list?

  66. Elsie Renae

    February 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Yep, I’ll add Bristol’s book to my reading list write up there alongside her mother’s. NOT! LOL

    I already know the story; it’s called get rich as quick as you can before mama announces that she’s not running for president and all the Palin media attention fades to darkness.

    I’m out … Peace!

  67. Chantrice. D

    February 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Let me start off by saying I love this article. I’m sad to say that I’m one of those statistics that got married at the age of 18. Your right it was one of the worst experiences in my life…I had no clue what I wanted and I became the person my family and my husband wanted me to be. I’m blessed to say, I was strong enough to leave that loveless marriage at the age of 20. Twelve years later I found the most amazing man and decided on my terms to give it a try one last time… I LOVE MY LIFE AT MY TERMS.

  68. Rene Syler

    February 9, 2011 at 1:30 am

    ha so true!

  69. Rene Syler

    February 9, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Thanks Chantrice. My fear is that there will be more like you than the other. Glad it ultimately worked out for you.

  70. Kimberly

    February 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I agree Dani. One-on-one dating puts too much pressure on teens to have sex. I like the hanging in groups concept. I have seen abstinance work. My 26 year old friend was a virgin when she married–in fact they did not kiss until their wedding day. Unfortunately, I think this is rare. I think we need to talk to our children about abstinance but be realisitc and prepare them for the real world. We can raise and teach and children the best that we know how, but in the end they make the decision.

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  72. Joss

    February 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I wrote a comment to Warrior Woman, it said “you should be ashamed of yourself”

    She never did put it up. But at least I know she read it.

  73. Abstinence

    February 11, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Rene, I have 3 daughters none of them married yet….I too come from a christian home. I struggle with having my daughters marry some one without having a intimate relationship with the person they decide to marry. I do not believe in abstinence, I have seen all to many individuals take this road….and some of them have been left on the side of the road. My daughters are all grown now….I think they will make the right decisions based on love.

  74. Jen

    February 12, 2011 at 1:39 am


    I’m sad you think it necessary to place “shame” on anyone that you have not met. You read this article, and her blog without any context into who she is. This woman happens to be one of THE most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and being friends with. You may not AGREE with her methods, but who are we to place shame on someone based on a difference of opinion. And I know her to be gracious and accept questioning or debate, but honestly if I were her, I would not post your comment either. She is following the plan she feels is right, and should not have “shame” spoken over her or her children! We are all entitled to our differences of opinion, but shaming someone is a bit much!

  75. Rene Syler

    February 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    @ Jen: the warrior woman you know is welcome here as is the other we have seen. We take any and all opinions and print them as is.. thanks for stopping by.

  76. Joss

    February 13, 2011 at 1:07 am


    I don’t care what WW does with her children or the beliefs that she holds or the way in which she conducts her private life. However, she is blogging, therefore in a public forum she has degraded and insulted Rene. Did she or did she not refer to herself in context as queen of England and Rene as a dog barking at her? Did she or did she not use a public forum to insult Rene’s opinion leaving no room for a differing opinion? That is what I referenced to and she knows it. I am a spiritual person with very religious parents and extended family filled with missionaries. I have seen more intolerance from my parents and relatives so I have no tolerance for this behavior. Self-righteousness and loathing for people with differing opinions is exactly the behaviour that WW is portraying in her comments and her blog. She should be ashamed of her actions. However, she should be proud to be raising her children in a way that is uplifting to her.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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