As a dad raising a daughter, there are few things more nerve-racking than the thought of your daughter dating for the first time.
How can I be sure that they treat her right? What if they disrespect her? How can I protect her?
These are just a few of the many questions and thoughts that run through our head as our baby girl transitions to the dating stage.
And while it’s completely normal to be protective of your daughter, being TOO protective can significantly damage your father/daughter relationship.
So, to help you deal with the stress of being a dad coping with teen dating, let’s take a look at a few tips to keep you sane during the process.
1Understand That It Will Be Uncomfortable
Seeing our daughter go on a date for the first time is uncomfortable.
And that feeling doesn’t go away for a while.
Even as we get to know the person she’s dating, there’s always that nagging feeling that something could go wrong.
It’s important to understand that, as fathers, it’s not our place to make decisions for our children about who they date.
Unless we genuinely think that the partner represents a clear threat, it’s in our best interest to accept the fact that this will be uncomfortable for us and allow her to make her own decisions about with whom she’d like to be.
2Look for The Positives in The People They’re Dating
When it comes to the person our daughter is dating, it’s easy to find plenty of negative traits to focus on any chance we get.
But, if we’re genuinely interested in our daughter’s happiness, it’s vital that we also become curious about what she finds special in her new partner.
What do they admire about them? Are they passionate about something? Do they make our daughter happy?
While this exercise may seem cheesy or “unmanly,” it can help us to get a better handle on the real personality and character of the person she is dating.
In time, it can also help us gain a healthy respect for their partner.
3Keep Communication Open With Your Daughter
One of the biggest tragedies I see with dads and their daughters is that their relationship begins to sever once dating becomes a regular occurrence.
The story often goes like this.
The daughter begins dating, and the dad becomes demanding and creates a set of strict rules to follow while berating their partner on a regular basis.
The father issues ultimatums about what his daughter can and cannot do and who they can and cannot date (if anyone at all).
The daughter begins to rebel and only speaks to her father out of necessity. The relationship becomes strained beyond repair.
In reality, there’s no need for this scenario to play out like this.
And, while it will certainly test our patience, it’s essential that we work to keep the lines of communication with our daughter open.
Because we don’t just want her to KNOW that she can come to us when a problem arises.
We want her to feel like it’s the right thing to do so she does come to us.
4Create Simple Ground Rules
While it’s important to give our daughters freedom when it comes to dating, that doesn’t mean we should just let them do whatever they want, whenever they want.
A few simple ground rules that we establish in our household include:
● Curfew is 11:00 PM. No exceptions.
● Respect your parents and siblings by keeping the PDA to a minimum while at the house.
● Respect each other.
As you can see, our list isn’t long and the focus is on respect. And we also make sure that our daughter’s date is aware of these ground rules.
As long as we’re making it clear that all we’re asking for is respect across the board, it tends to keep issues to a minimum.
5Help Her With Dating
Now this one might seem outlandish, but hear me out.
As someone who has dated someone’s daughter before, you have a unique perspective that can benefit your daughter.
And this isn’t to say that you should or need to give your daughter tips on how to impress their date, but you can offer advice on what she can expect and ways to deal with certain situations.
Talking with your daughter about dating doesn’t have to be awkward.
And you can offer her plenty of advice that can make her more confident while she begins her dating journey.
6Trust Your Daughter
In the end, maintaining a healthy father/daughter relationship is dependant on your ability to trust her.
As tempting as it may be, trying to control her dating life is a recipe for disaster.
Let your daughter know that you trust her to make the right decisions.
Understand that it’s going to be uncomfortable. Look for the positives in the people she’s dating. Work to keep the lines of communication open.
Create simple ground rules. Help her on her dating journey.
If you do these things, dealing with your daughter dating will be a much better experience for everyone involved.