Hey True Girl Dads!
It's about time we offered some tips to you! Raising young teenage girls is hard and we imagine you have just a few questions about your tween daughter, like "what's going on inside her head??" In this blog series, Bob Gresh, author of 8 Great Dates for Dads and Daughters will answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from Dads.
Is it OK to be involved in my daughter's dating life when she's older?
Ummm… YES. It’s not ok for you not to be involved! I firmly believe in interviewing the gentlemen who have taken interest in my girls. Lord knows I’ve put a few young men through the most intensely awkward interview of their life! It was not at all to demonstrate my power as Dad but to protect my girls and create a system of accountability and expectation for the boy driving them to the movie theater.
I wouldn’t wait until she’s older… I would get involved in her dating life NOW. When she’s 10 it’s much easier to express your desires for her dating relationships as well as family rules and boundaries than when she’s 16.
At some point, you have to tell your kids point-blank what your standards and expectations are.
We adopted the dating protocol of the LaHayes after reading their book, Raising Sexually Pure Kids. We decided to let our kids go on group dates for special events as soon as they hit high school. That means they could go on a chaperoned formal event, if they wanted, at the age of 14 or 15.
Our teenagers were allowed to go on single dates when they were 16, as long as we were actively involved in the planning and execution of the evening. What do I mean by “actively involved”? Well, our daughters always knew that a guy who wanted to take them out has to go through an interview with me. Period. If the boy seemed to have honorable intentions and was someone we felt comfortable with, we most likely allowed them to spend a carefully planned, very public evening together. We were approving everything they did, and they were in close contact with us.
Finally, we discouraged our girls from being in any exclusive relationships until they were out of high school.
We really wanted them to enjoy their high school years free from the drama relationships tend to bring, and we didn’t want their heart wounded by excessive relationships.
I can’t overestimate the importance of establishing and communicating your family’s dating standards when your daughter is a tween, even if that seems difficult. I also can’t understate how easy it is. My kids’ hearts were so innocent that it was just comfortable and natural to discuss. My girls still thought boys had cooties! It’s easy to establish your standards if you do so before their hormones kick in and “everyone else” has a boyfriend.
The young men who show an interest in your daughter and desire to spend time alone with her need us to hold them accountable for their actions, words and thought life. There is a huge need for more men – older men, dads, youth pastors – to challenge them to protect our daughters, their sisters in Christ, and do what is necessary to guard their hearts.
Dennis Rainey, President and CEO of FamilyLife raised four beautiful daughters and wrote a book called Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. It is a great resource to consider when your daughter begins to date.
If you’re looking for a fun way to connect with your son, then you’ll love Born To Be Brave TV. Check out this brand new, online, interactive variety show where we promise to help you grow your faith, expand your mind, and laugh together. We have interactive chat, games, stunts, and much more! You’ll be entertained, educated, and encouraged. But most importantly, you’ll be spending quality time with your son! Check us out live every Thursday evening at 7:30 ET on Facebook and YouTube.