If you haven’t given much thought about how to prepare your daughters to date, consider some of these tips. I’m no expert, but I followed in the footsteps of my father, and the results are pretty good. Both of my daughters made it through those oft-difficult years unscarred, and each married terrific young men.
Who am I to Offer Advice?
The thought occurred to me a few years ago while I was attending the 2017 California Homicide Investigators Association annual convention in Las Vegas. I was visiting with a couple of detectives from the Seattle Police Department. Somehow, while discussing murder, mayhem, and the moral collapse of society, the topic of daughters came up. Britt, one of the two seaside detectives, was making fun of Jason for being modest and bashful. She said he blushes at the mere mention of lady parts. He spoke up: “I’m raising two daughters and trying to set a good example.”
I congratulated him and assured him he would be fine. He was the type of man who adored his girls; I knew it instantly. He loved his daughters and would, at all costs, shelter them from evil.
Boys are evil, every last one of them. We fathers know what the little bastards want to do to our daughters. Which is why many dads don’t mind letting the boys know we have guns, shovels, friends with backhoes, and always an airtight alibi.
So, I told him a story that flooded the tough—but cute—lady detective (Britt) with emotion:
When I was a boy my dad set an example that I followed for preparing our daughters to date. Over the years I have shared this story, and my conversation with Jason and Britt spurred me to write it out and share it with those who read my blog.
A Proven Method
A young lady’s first date should be with her father. My wife and I chose 16 as the dating age for our girls. On or about their 16th birthdays, each experienced their first dates. Whatever age you choose (16 was a little liberal, you might choose 25), plan this first date with dad.
Make it a real date: dress nicely and choose a restaurant you would reserve for the most special of occasions. Bring her flowers and pick her up at the front door. (I had a rule that if a boy ever pulled up and honked it would be me, not my daughter, who would come out to greet him.) Your daddy’s little girl will be both anxious and nervous, believe it or not. This is a big deal. You are her first love, period. You are the man in her life, the one she comes to when afraid or sad, the one she knows will always be there for her. She looks forward to this date more than you can imagine.
Do Not Disappoint
Open doors. Pull out chairs. Ask about her dreams and desires and if there are any boys she sort of likes. Smile when she blushes at the question and assure her it’s okay; you are showing her your acceptance of this horrible passage we fathers dread. Tell her she’s beautiful—many times—and maybe even ask if she noticed all the heads turning when the two of you walked in. She won’t believe it. The girls at school and on TV make her feel inadequate. She has no idea how beautiful she is. She needs to know it and believe it, and she needs to know she is worthy, interesting, and fun. Don’t check your phone—better yet, leave it in the car. She deserves all of your attention; give it to her. Make her the most important young lady in the world at that time in that moment. She will never forget how that feels.
Leave Her with a Clear Message
At the end of the evening, your little girl will know what to expect from a boy—and later a man. Not the expense of the date, or even the location, but the appreciation of her company. She’ll see the difference when an undeserving young man treats her otherwise. When he glances at his cell phone while she is speaking, she’ll know he is unworthy of her time, her thoughts, her heart.
Setting the Bar High
Not long ago my wife and I were telling our daughters how pleased we are with the men they have chosen as mates. (Both are now married to wonderful men.) We told them we were happy, thankful, and that we felt blessed that both were discriminating and careful to choose true gentlemen with solid values, men who will always love and cherish them. One of the two said, “Well, dad set the bar pretty high.”
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Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will share it with your family and friends.
A GOOD BUNCH OF MEN
DOOR TO A DARK ROOM
THE COLOR DEAD
Well, I just found your blog a few nights ago. I passed 25 years as a cop a couple weeks ago, and I have been up late the last few nights reading your posts. This is my favorite one, I think. I’m m taking my daughter on her first date in a few years! Wonderful idea!
Thank you, Mark. Congratulations on a quarter-decade of being a cop — that’s no easy feat, especially in today’s climate. I hope you’ll read my memoir, Nothing Left to Prove. Every cop should read it.
Be safe, be well, and God bless you!