Fathers have a special responsibility to their daughters. The relationship that daddies have with their daughters becomes a model for relationships they will have with men when they are older. Not to mention what kind of treatment they should expect. Setting a good example when they are young is critical to helping them seek out healthy relationships later.
One way that fathers can set this example is by “dating” their daughters. Fathers can make it a priority to spend special one-on-one time with their daughters, modeling appropriate behavior for a male companion and deepening the father-daughter bond at the same time.
Here are some tips for making the most of these special daddy-daughter “dates:”
A trip to the movies is often fun, but special daddy-daughter dates should offer opportunities for quality one-on-one time. Look for activities that allow you to talk, to get to know one another better, and to bond. Do creative activities together like crafts or art, go for walks together, or enjoy a dinner out together. Whatever activity you choose, there should be opportunities for you to talk and to share your thoughts.
Make it Special
When you ask your daughter for a “date,” make sure your time together is special. Dress in nice clothes. Arrange for a specific time to “pick her up.” Tell her how much you are looking forward to spending time with just her. You want to let your daughter know that spending time with her is important, and that you value your relationship with her individually.
Model Behavior for Her
On your daddy-daughter date, you should be setting an example for the type of behavior she can expect from a male companion. Make sure the example you set is a good one. Open the door for her. Focus on what she has to say. Offer her choices. Offer to get her a drink refill or a snack. Show your daughter that courtesy and chivalry are not dead, and that she should expect to be treated with kindness and respect.
Focus the Attention on Her
When you are spending time with your daughter, make sure the focus is on her. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by thoughts about what you have to do at work that day, or the fight you had with your wife before you left. Make sure you are fully engaged and present.
Keep your cell phone out of sight. Don’t text or check your e-mails, and don’t answer calls. If you happen to run into people that you know while you are out, say hello but minimize your conversation. Treat your daughter as you would a female companion on whom you were trying to make a good impression, and show her that spending time with her is your priority and your pleasure.
Make It a Regular Occasion
Daddy-daughter dates shouldn’t be reserved for her birthday or for holidays like Valentine’s Day. They should be a regular occasion. Decide what works best for your schedule — once a week? Once a month? — And stick to it. Your daughter will start to look forward to this special time you get to spend together, and you will be able to strengthen your relationship as a result.
Being a father to a daughter means that you have special responsibilities. One of them is to model healthy relationships with men so that she is better positioned to choose a partner who treats her with dignity and respect. Regularly taking your daughter on “dates” will give you the opportunity to model that behavior and to strengthen your bond with your daughter.
Do you take your daughter on daddy-daughter dates? What are some of your ideas for date activities? Share your ideas in the comments!