Whether you realize it or not, you alone are the greatest factor in determining what type of man your daughter ends up marrying. Quite likely, she will choose someone just like you. Or, if not a man exactly like you, one with very similar tendencies and characteristics. Scary thought, isn’t it?
You have your daughter’s best interests at heart, right? You want her Prince Charming to come along (many, many years down the road!), sweep her off her feet and treat her like the princess she is. Assuming that you want that fairy tale ending for your little girl, it’s at least partly up to you to see to it that she starts getting the royal treatment at an early age. Let her know that settling for anything less is just plain unacceptable.
A great way to do that is to date your daughter. Set aside specific date nights (or mornings or afternoons) to spend with her and only her. Because girls usually love extra little things that make them feel special, perhaps you’ll want to even give her a personalized invitation. You might decide to reveal all the details of where you’re planning to take her on your date. Or call it a “Mystery Date,” heightening her anticipation even more. If the date is a mystery, however, you might tell her to how to dress – should she wear her fanciest dress or will jeans do?
The most important thing isn’t what you do, or where you go, but that you’re spending some one-on-one time with your baby girl (and no matter how old she is, she’s still your baby).
Not sure where to start? Need some daddy-daughter date ideas? Here are a few to get you started:
Ages 3-8: Your little girl is starting to crave her daddy’s attention so anything you choose to do on these “dates” will probably make you a hero in her eyes. At this age, you’ll want to keep it simple. Fast food restaurants with play equipment (McDonalds) may be okay, but be sure to set aside some time for eating and chatting, first.
• Swimming at a local public pool, followed by pizza.
• A picnic in the park and a nature walk or a few pushes on the swings.
• Toss her bike in the back of the van and head to an empty parking lot – this is the perfect spot to practice without those training wheels.
• Pitch a tent in your own backyard and play Barbies for a couple hours.
• Send the rest of the family away and set your kitchen table with chocolate chip cookies and china cups of Kool-Aid. Invite her dolls to dine with you.
Ages 9-13: This is the age when your daughter is beginning to notice boy / girl “roles” in relationships. Make a point of opening doors, pulling out her chair, lavishing on the compliments, and showing her the proper way to treat a lady. If money allows, this would be the perfect time to give your daughter her first taste of fine dining.
• Take her to the mall and let her model a few outfits for you. Then let her choose her favorite.
• Sports aren’t just for boys! Take your daughter to a local or professional baseball or basketball game, or any sporting event she might enjoy.
• Dust off your ball and shoes and head to the bowling alley. You might want to ask for bumpers if it’s been a while. This is for your benefit, as it probably wouldn’t look good if you got beat by your ten year old!
• Get tickets to her favorite concert (Miley Cyrus would likely be a hit!). Yes, it might be torture for you, but I’m willing to bet it would go down in history as one of her best dates ever!
Ages 14+: Now that she’s a teenager, give her the opportunity to decide what to do on your dates. It may be a dinner and a movie, a Christian rock concert, a local theater production, or just taking a drive out to the beach once she gets that learner’s permit.
Keep in mind that she may go through a period where dating her dad seems so, I don’t know…. “ew.” While you don’t want to force her to continue with these one-on-one dates, don’t ever stop asking. Chances are she’ll soon come to miss her time with you and realize you’re not so “ew” after all.
Again, the important thing is not what you do but that you’re taking the time to get to know your daughter. And hopefully, when she does choose that special someone on day, she’ll be proud to say he’s just like you.
Some excellent resources:
• What a Daughter Needs From Her Dad (How a man prepares his daughter for life) by Michael Farris
• Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker, M.D.
• The Dads and Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 fun activities to help build a great relationship By Joe Kelly
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