My daughter’s first date should be kind, smart, respectful, well-mannered and complimentary. Just like her dad.
In fact, he’ll be the most important date she ever has.
My daughter gets her dad’s undivided attention on their date. It gives her the opportunity to have conversations with her dad that she might not have in the presence of other kids in the family. And along the way, she’ll learn the how-to’s of dating from the man who loves her most.
So if your daughter isn’t yet dating, perhaps she should be. Same for your son.
You, after all, are the ultimate date. No one loves your son more or cherishes your daughter more. And no one is better suited to teach your child how to behave and how to expect to be treated while on a date. Your child will experience first-hand what happens on a date: how they should speak and conduct themselves.
The best part is that you can set the bar high for your children. When a girl learns dating practices from an adult who adores her, she will learn that she deserves to be treated well. If a young man takes her on a date and is less-than-respectful, she’ll know to move on quickly. Her dates may blunder and make mistakes, but she’ll know the difference between a nervous date and a disrespectful one. When a young man learns from those he loves most, he’ll learn to be respectful and thoughtful, and he’ll expect the same from his dates.
The date can be elaborate or simple. An elegant dinner or a trip for ice cream. With an older child, the “dating” parent can even leave the house and return to pick up his “date.” Your son may be encouraged to bring flowers to his “date.” If you can’t leave the house, do it at home. But make it special. The point is that whatever your family deems important on a date will be conveyed to your kids. Whatever the deal-breakers are (the things that are unacceptable), your kids will know them.
At the end of the day, just as with dating your spouse, your relationship with your child will benefit from the time spent together. You can alternate among all your kids so that each, regardless of gender, gets time with each parent. No child is too old or too young. Do what works for your family.
And just to add a little fun, as your child leaves the house for a “parent date,” be sure to ask loudly, and in an incredulous voice: “You’re going where? To do what? Well what are we supposed to do? You’re just gonna leave us here??”