Being a father, you have spent so long being the prince charming of all of your daughter’s fairytales, slaying dragons, vanquishing evil step-mothers, freeing her from the clutches of powerful wizards. With so much to do, time passes by so quickly and you suddenly realize that your little princess is not so little anymore. She has grown up and is ready to date and you have been caught off guard. Now all that leaves to be done is for you, her dad, to come to terms with his teenage daughter dating.
However, here are a few basic ground rules you can start off with and make new and improved rules as you go along:
The right time?
If you are confused about how to deal with teenage daughter dating and what age is appropriate for it, remember that it basically depends on the maturity level of the child in question. If you feel that your daughter is responsible and mature enough to be given this freedom and privilege, then group dates can be allowed by the age of 15 and double dates around the time she hits 17. Single dates should be discouraged before 17 or allowed only for certain occasions.
The right person?
To begin with, always remind your teenager how important friendship is and how safe and reasonable it is to just stay friends till you are sure of the other person. Next, tell them about some of the most basic attributes of the kind of person you would want or allow them to be with. Teach your teen to look for outward traits of people which show the kind of person they may be inside, like a good reputation at school, a self-controlled mouth, wise driving habits and so on.
The right approach?
Now that you have accepted that your daughter has come of age, here are a few things a dad can do to make sure that nothing goes
- To begin with, avoid the temptation of judging a book by its over. Give your daughter’s boyfriend or girlfriend the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst about them. Keep an open mind when meeting them.
- Don’t try too hard to come across as likable or intimidating, be yourself and allow the other person too to make an impression on
- Include him/her in plans which involve direct interaction with you or your daughter. A lot is revealed about people in the simplest of interactions with them, so give him/her as many opportunities as you can to reveal his/her true colors to you.
- Try your best not to hover over them, give them the privacy and space they deserve. Strike a balance between too much and too little space; let them sit and watch a movie in the family room but not in your daughter’s bedroom.
- Make sure your daughter and her boyfriend/girlfriend know the ground rules, such as maintaining a sense of decency and not making it awkward for others to be around them.
- Never discipline, belittle or argue with your daughter in front of her date. This could backfire in the sense that your daughter might feel hurt or lose her temper and react badly in response.
- Another thing to avoid doing is to compare your daughter’s relationship with your own. You may have the experience to relate to, but no two relationships are the same and every person reacts differently to different situations.
- And if you don’t like your daughter’s boyfriend/girlfriend, never make the mistake of making her choose between you or them. Dads often feel threatened by the new man in their daughter’s lives but putting her in a difficult situation is not the best way to mark your territory.