{Guest Post} Grow: Why I will not be going on ‘Daddy dates’ with my girls

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10 Responses

  1. Love this post. I admit that I am guilty of encouraging my husband to take our daughter on "daddy dates." But, as I think about it, I don't want to encourage my little girl to think about dating at all (and wasting away her thought life fantasizing about finding prince charming). Rather, I want her to discover how God has gifted her and how she can use those gifts for God's glory. Dads can be so instrumental in building a girl's confidence in who God made her to be. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I, for one, will be dropping the "date" word from my husband's time with our daughter.

  2. MJA says:

    I don't remember my dad doing anything with my sisters and me that he called a "date". He did, however, spend a lot of time with us teaching us things that he thought were important. My dad taught me how to play tennis, throw a football and frisbee, and he was my first running coach (I could run three miles at the age of six thanks to our runs together!). We had some special toys that we only got to play with with Daddy – like a big electric train that ran around an oval track, and a race track set that could be set up in many different arrangements. You notice that although my dad had three girls he didn't let that stop him from buying traditionally "boy" toys! My sisters and I also each had a parent chosen "hobby" that my dad was in charge of overseeing. Mine was photography. We started the "MJA Good Smiles" photography business when I was five. My parents bought me a camera and some props. I specialized in pet photos, and my dad and I would go door to door and I would show people my sample photos and ask if they wanted to hire me. And believe it or not people actually did hire a six year old to come photograph their dogs!! My dad was also in charge of taking my middle sister to piano lessons and helping my youngest sister learn magic tricks to perform at local retirement homes. Obviously, all of this was hugely meaningful to me, and none of it had the word "date" attached to it. Honestly, I think one really big way that a Dad shows his girls how they should expect a guy to treat them is how he treats their Mom!'
    –MaryAnn

  3. Bethany Haid says:

    I would like my husband to schedule dates with our kids. I think of "dates" as official appointments to hang out, one on one. I want to have them, too. So, not a gendered thing and not a pre-cursor to romantic dating. I think the value is spending time with the adult showing he or she values the child as an individual, not just one of the group of kids. I had nothing like this growing up with my father, but I did have some one on one with my mother. I wish my dad had made an effort to show me I was special by spending time one on one with me.

  4. Denise says:

    Great post, Jake and loved Mary Ann's last statement!

  5. Christi says:

    Sounds like you're having plenty of one on one time, which is the real importance. It's just the language of dating you don't like? As a mom, I date my daughters and son, but I just mean one on one time. I'm probably missing something because of not living in America. I do think there are some very critical times when a girl's sexuality and femininity is developing and a dad's presence is key. Ages 3-5 and 12-16 especially, and dad really needs to convey the message with lots of non verbals that "you're beautiful, cherished and competent".

  6. Christi says:

    Oh, yes! You're super manly, which I think all of us meant to mention.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have 3 daughters, all grown-2 newly married. When my husband took his daughters on a daddy-daughter date, it had little to do with romantic dating. Everything to do with special time carved out just for them. They'd go upstate to my in-laws and do a pre-determined activity (hiking-movie-talking-praying) (the Grandparents loved the idea and knew that they'd be away for that time) They have all said how very valuable this time was to them. 2+ hrs in the car with no one else to compete with and alone with dad was a treasure. They were able to get into the heart of each other. This cemented their relationships in a way that one on one at home can not compete with. They felt valued and cherished because he was making this time a priority.

    Funny story: I remember one of them pacing in the driveway because she had to talk to him….she had to tell him that she understood what he'd been saying about a solution to a problem they had hashed over the week before, when they were away. She was 6 yrs old and as I recall the problem was smelly boy next to her in school. 🙂

    When you hold the heart of your daughter at 6, she will tell you about the smelly boys, whether they smell bad or when she's 16 and they smell good.

    The goal is to have to opening into her heart and life that enables you to speak into her heart about the heart of the Father-God and the heart of the Father-You.

    God Bless and keep you, A Friend

  8. Denise says:

    Sorry, I didn't answer that most important question:) But it's a given–you are definitely manly. How else could you carry 4 kids at once? And 3 bikes, a bat, glove & 3 balls, 28 library books and whatever else needs to go–LOL. Your children are blessed!

  9. Jake says:

    Thanks for all the helpful comments. I think the comments boil down to 3 areas. 1. The word 'date.' 2. The time 1-on-1. 3. The content.
    1. I'm not going to cry if someone calls their one-on-one time a date, but I think it is not without consequence. The word has actual significance in our culture even if we occasionally use it non-romantically. Couple that with the stereotypical suit, dress, flowers, dinner, et cetera, and it's a date just how we usually mean it.
    2. Like so many pointed out, one-on-one time is important. And like Christina wrote, "if we don't make a plan, it's likely to not happen" (http://playeatgrow.com/2013/06/grow-guy-time-tickets.html). I think each kid needs small and big times, planned and spontaneous, one-on-one. With four kids five and under, that personal time is both very important and very challenging to come by.
    3. I think (but am not entirely sure) my main point was that if parents want to strengthen their girls against the common hardships facing girls, which seem to surround self-image, then focusing the content of one-on-one time on how a girl should interact with and evaluate boys is, in my opinion, not going to do it. As my half-joking, half-serious question about manliness was supposed to express, I feel some need to fit my nebulous concept of man. I want my girls to at least have someone saying their unique persons are no less girl than any other girl, that at least to me they are a person far before a gender.
    Thanks again.

  10. Sharla says:

    I like this (especially point #3 as mentioned in the reply above) – b/c I myself was single into my 30s and I guess I want my daughter’s relationship with her dad/my husband to be not overly focused on dating and finding a mate, but primarily on being a person and a Christ-follower, knowing her gifts, loving learning, contributing positively to the world around her, etc. She can and will gain standards on girl-boy relationships from watching him treat me well (which he does!). Thanks for posting.

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