Father-daughter outings can help teen see she is valued

Q: I’m the father of a slightly “boy crazy” 14-year-old daughter. I’m really dreading the whole dating thing as she gets a little older. What can I do to prepare both of us?

Jim: Most fathers with daughters go through the same struggle watching their little girls grow up. I’d suggest you teach your daughter the proper role of dating by taking her out yourself, frequently.

Going on a “date” with Dad has many benefits for a daughter, regardless of her age. For example, as girls develop their identity, they measure themselves against the impossible standard of beauty portrayed by Hollywood. This is where fathers become very important. By spending time with your daughter, you can have a positive influence on her perception of herself.

Also, taking your daughter out on a “date” allows you to model how a man should treat her. By making one-on-one time a priority, you’re showing your daughter she is valuable. And your acceptance for who she is will build her self-esteem. You can also help her develop a sense of individuality by listening to her and respecting the opinions she shares. Most importantly, spending time with your daughter regularly keeps her heart open to you.

So get out your calendar and schedule a “date” with your daughter. Let her suggest some activities she would like to do. It doesn’t have to take all day, but make sure the time is special by limiting interruptions. The best way to ensure success in your daughter’s future dating experiences is to make sure it starts with Dad.

Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program.