Dad, below are some helpful tips for you to keep in mind as you prepare for upcoming dates with your daughter:
- Let her choose the location and the activity. Children, especially young children, love to establish traditions. Don’t be surprised if your daughter decides to have you take her to the same restaurant several times in a row or often chooses to go to the movies. Letting her choose the location and activities will empower her. A sense of empowerment will go a long way toward ensuring that when you’re not there, she'll be able to make her feelings and thoughts known to a boy about dating and the many issues surrounding that activity.
- Treat her as you would want her treated on a date. Open doors for her, pull out her chair at a restaurant so she can sit down in it, let her order her own food and engage in other activities that show respect for her and make her feel special. That way, if she goes out on a date with a boy who doesn’t show respect for her, she’ll be less likely to go out on a second date with him.
- Discuss your expectations about relationships with boys, dating, sex and marriage. These occasions offer “teachable moments” and an opportunity to discuss these expectations. Be sure to discuss these expectations from an age-appropriate perspective. Start by asking her questions about her thoughts on these subjects to engage her quickly rather than sharing your expectations right away.
Asking questions such as, “When do you think you should start dating?”, “Do you like any boys at your school?” and “At what age do you think you should be allowed to kiss a boy?” can help you learn your daughter’s thoughts on these matters before you share your expectations with her. You might be surprised to learn how similar her expectations are to your own. When you share your expectations, be sure to tell her why you have these expectations.