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One of the best pieces of advice I have received from a former supervisor is the importance of “dating your daughter.” When she shared this with me, I had to ponder on what she meant. I am aware of the importance of the universal beliefs of taking care of your children, protecting them, providing them with the necessities, and teaching them right from wrong. However, this piece of advice is a bit deeper than just the bare minimum that is required of a parent. Therefore, it made me reflect on how much goes into a healthy father-daughter relationship.

When it comes to dating your daughter, you’re essentially the first man she will spend time with and get to know. Us fathers are our daughter’s “first loves” that they will have in their lives. I am not suggesting that the love our daughters possess for us is a romantic type of love. I mean that our daughters will look to us as the first man in their life that they will come to love and appreciate.

For instance, research supports the fact that the father-daughter relationship can influence the social and sexual aspects of her life down the road. According to Linda Nielsen’s research, she shares that daughters with good relationships with their fathers tend to make wise sexual decisions, seek out emotionally intimate and fulfilling relationships, the ability to express their feelings in an appropriate manner along with a host of other benefits. In addition, daughters who have absent (physically or emotionally) or abusive fathers tend to display more destructive behaviors, possessing insecurities in their romantic relationships, and possessing lower self-esteem to name a few attributions.

Another aspect to note is how vitally critical are the interactions the father possesses with the other parent. These interactions are important since this is the example we are setting for how their partner’s will interact with her later in life. With that said, I challenge everyone that reads this blog to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Am I the type of person that I want my daughter to date in a romantic partner?
  • Do I have set a positive example for the type of partner that my daughter will seek later in life?
  • If I am setting a positive example, what are those actions that I am doing?
  • What could I do differently to set a better example for her?

I believe those questions are very important for us fathers to ask ourselves. Being a perfect father is completely unrealistic. There is not one single father in this world that is perfect. However, there are many great fathers who put in a ton of effort to guide their children to becoming the best version of themselves. If you do mess up as a father, own the mistake. Be accountable for your actions. Your daughter will see this and understand that you have the maturity to respect her and her mother or other parent (even if you aren’t still with that person).

So what are some ways that we can date our daughters? I will provide a list of different activities we can do with them. These activities can be with our children of any age (infant to adult children). This list includes but not limited to the following:

  • Eat out together
  • Watch her favorite TV show
  • Draw together
  • Play her favorite game
  • Teach her a skill that you possess
  • Allow her to teach you a new skill
  • Find out what her favorite things are (color, scents, foods, etc.)
  • Commit to volunteer work in the community
  • Learn how to do her hair and nails
  • Create a video that could go viral
  • Provide support and comfort when she is sad
  • Tell her you love her every single day
  • Call her when you are away
  • Teach her right from wrong
  • Have a dance battle
  • Read together
  • Exercise together
  • Learn how to cook a meal
  • Practice appropriate conflict resolution skills when you aren’t seeing eye to eye with her

The opportunities to date your daughter are endless. I didn’t list everything that could be done with your daughter but it was a way to provide ideas for my fellow fathers. Any father out there with a daughter, I STRONGLY suggest that you take time to get to know her and treat her with respect. We owe it to them so that they can grow up feeling supported and loved. They will be forever grateful if we do this.

What suggestions or parenting tips do you have for fathers when connecting with their daughters? Feel free to comment and let us know.

Categories: Daughters

Cameron

Cameron is the creator of Supportive Fathers. He created Supportive Fathers as a way to help explore topics other dads encounter in everyday life. Cameron is very passionate about being a father to 2 year old daughter as well as being the husband possible to his wife. To read more of his story, please click here.

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