What makes you so angry you feel like you’re going to blow up? My moment came before I knew how to be ready for your daughter’s suitors and before I needed to be—when a young boy ran up to my 3-year-old daughter and kissed her on the cheek. Other adults may have laughed at the cuteness, but my internal transformation was anything but funny. The beast I felt unleashed inside me would do anything to protect my daughter from any young man with less than pure motives.
Being the overprotective dad is not my goal as my daughter grows, but I do desire to guide her relationships with boys positively. That’s why I’m enacting my DPP (Daughter Protection Plan) now to prevent me from doing more harm than good for my little girl in the future. Here are 6 ways to prep for your daughter’s dates.
1. Set the bar.
Too many young ladies fall for the first guy who flatters them with kind words and gifts—but we can prevent that for our daughters. Set the bar high for your girl by routinely taking her on nice dates, buying her thoughtful presents, and complimenting her as the pretty, intelligent, funny, or ambitious young woman she is. Remind her throughout her developing years that she is valued as your daughter, that you are proud of her, and that she is beautiful to you.
2. Model a healthy relationship.
If we want our daughters to seek healthy relationships with young beaus, we must show them what a great marriage looks like. When our wives feel physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and relationally stable with us, our daughters will witness that peace and likely seek out a similar relationship for themselves. For single dads, consider what you model in your relationship with your mom or sister. You may even find ways to regularly join other great families in activities to expose your daughter to healthy marriages.
3. Present expectations early.
Does her date need to meet with you before they ever go out? Does he need to knock on the door rather than sit in the car and honk the horn to call her out? Does church need to be their first “date” together? Whatever your expectations are, discuss them with your wife and clearly present them to your daughter before the boys show up.
4. Be present in her life.
You can’t encourage your daughter toward the good guys and away from the heartbreakers if you aren’t present. Take time off work for her tennis matches so you can be there when those young guys start noticing more than her groundstrokes. Volunteer to chaperone that band trip so she can have the time of her life in safety with her female and male friends. Be ready at the school football game to shake hands firmly and look him respectfully in the eye when she says, “Dad, I want to introduce you to my friend John.”
5. Prepare surrounding suitors.
Invest in the lives of the young men around you. Throw a football with the other dads and boys in your community. Write an encouraging note to parents and sons when you see those boys serving others in church. Look for ways to mentor young men in hopes that they one day will bless some young lady, if not yours.
6. Pray for her and her potential mate.
I believe my daughter has a bright future full of joy ahead of her, but it is still tough to watch our daughters grow up to start new families of their own. Praying for her future helps me combat these new challenges. Prayer might not be your thing, but I know it calms me, so it may be worth a try.
Sound off: Do you know how to be ready for your daughter’s suitors? What advice would you give to a dad whose daughter might start dating soon?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Have any boys/girls ever had a crush on you? How did you feel about it?”