1st date

How to Handle Your Daughter’s First Date

“Daddy, may I go to the movies Friday night with a friend? He’s a boy. It’s just the two of us going.” She was as nervous to ask me as I was to hear the question. The response to that moment was critical. She’s trustworthy but doesn’t have the experience I have.

I didn’t want to sabotage the mutual trust I have with her, but I want to protect her from her own inexperience. I wanted to let her go but I was afraid of what might happen. So, in the end, here’s how I handled my daughter’s 1st date.

Respond Calmly

This situation could cause dad to either fly off the handle and refuse to listen, or the daughter will find a way to keep it hidden and do it in stealth. My daughter showed me proper respect by coming to me and asking. I gave back the same by carefully listening and responding. If I would have said no, she would submitted to my authority. We discussed calmly the expected behavior from both her and her date. I made sure she understood I was only agreeing to this one date. If he asks again the process will repeat.

Talk Openly

I asked her why she wanted to go. Does she like him in a way that’s more than friends? What is he like? I now have a baseline for the type of boy she finds appealing. We also talked about how it made me feel. Which was and is mostly – scared. It was a great conversation. It was this vulnerability that helps to builds trust between us.

Set Boundaries

My permission was contingent on being allowed to control the environment and timing of the date. We agreed on boundaries. My wife and I drove her to the date. We insisted on meeting the young man. We approved of the movie and the time it was being shown. She was to answer all texts received from us in quick fashion during the date. And we were waiting outside the theater when the movie concluded.

Debrief Gently

Afterward, my wife wanted to know everything while I really wanted to know how he treated her. Beforehand I’d shown her how to make a proper fist and where to land it! Thankfully, he was a proper gentleman on the date. We allowed and encouraged her to share the details and how she was feeling. If she would have broken the rules we would have proceeded forward on a different path, but she respected our authority and obeyed our wishes.

Sound Off

What are the experiences you've had with your daughter's first date?

  • mxprivateer

    And how would you handle it if she had broken the rules?

    • Gary Abernathy

      I hope I never have to find out. He’s coming to my house for dinner tonight ๐Ÿ™‚ But to answer your question, the appropriate consequence would be handed out, and I’d continue fostering the lines of communication attempting to find the disconnect and repair. Did yours break the rules?

      • mxprivateer

        She did, in a big way. She’s generally a good kid but my wife and I found out right before Christmas that she’s been engaging in inappropriate online behavior as well as deceiving her mom and I for about a year about certain activities and it really threw our whole family into chaos for a few months. Her mom and I placed some heavy restrictions on her (bedroom door always open except when changing, bathroom time limits, internet access only for schoolwork and always under supervision, suspension of driving privileges, limited access to friends, etc.) Just recently, she got her phone back but I am using software to monitor her phone activity and told her I would be doing so. Kids can be sneaky and it’s almost a full time job trying to keep one step ahead of them. There are apps for hiding all kinds of smart phone activity, from hidden browsers to something that looks like a calculator but actually is a repository for pictures they don’t want you to see. I know kids have always been that way, but with the addition of technology there are many more bad behaviors they can be tempted into and many more ways to hide them.

        • Gary Abernathy

          Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. SO many dads experience exactly what you have. It sounds like you’ve reacted with appropriate seriousness. It’s an important conversation from both angles. So far so good with mine. As I was typing this reply, said boy just showed up here. So far he’s been very respectful towards her (and us). I’ve cleared out to give them space downstairs to watch a movie, and I’m cooking them dinner in a bit. I don’t think there’s any one right way to handle these situations. That’s why I shared here how it’s gone with mine. But I do know that prevention of the things we dads are scared of, begins with the relationship between our daughters and us. It sounds like your heart and mind are in the right place. That’s more than half the battle. I’ll pray for you and your leadership. And thank you for caring so much about her. It will pay off I assure you.

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