Daughters and dating: What influence can you have?

The above 80’s movie clip from “say anything”, is one of my favorites.  Lloyd has just been asked by his girlfriend’s father, what his plans are for his future.  His response is amazing, although not the one his girlfriend’s family is looking for.  I love that this family still has conversations around the table. I love that they are interested in who their daughter is dating and they care about the pursuits of their daughter’s boyfriend because they can see what his motivations and goals are.  I wonder if Diane is like many other daughters in this conversation and this is the first time she has ever heard her parents take interest in her love life.  It’s great the family is having this conversation, but the foundation for this conversation starts years earlier.  My pastor, often says that Fathers are the first boyfriend your daughter will ever have.  The Father models for your daughter what it looks like to be treated with respect, with love, and with recognition that she is a daughter of God. Mothers and Fathers have an amazing opportunity to begin shaping their daughter’s path towards a Godly man by helping her see what a Godly marriage looks like.  Are you taking your daughter on dates before she goes on her first one?  Are you talking with her about the things you looked for in a Godly spouse and why it’s important for her to seek those qualities prayerfully for herself?  Are you praying for the men your daughter will one day find herself saying no to, and the ones she will say yes to before she says “I do” to?

If you’re daughter is in middle school, you are probably becoming aware of how boy crazy she is.  That is natural for girls to become very aware of boys during those years.  A book that I did when I was growing up, was “Lady in waiting”.  It is a bit cheesy, but as a parent you may be able to find some conversations that will help you develop some boundaries for your daughter and some conversations to have with her to continue to focus her heart when her eyes may guide her elsewhere.

There are many different philosophies on dating from families. I am not going to take a stance on that for you, but I will tell you that you’d better figure out what the rules are on dating before she begins to make her own.  What are your rules on dating? Does she have to be a certain age? What about him?  Is she able to bring dates to the home and hang out? If so, what are the boundaries there?  What is the curfew?  How many hours a week is she able to see this guy?  Another good resource is a book that I was actually given by the mother of a guy I was dating a guy in college.  The title left nothing to my imagination of what the mother wanted to ensure would remain intact for her son and those he dated.

The Title was : Too Close Too Soon: Avoiding the Heartache of Premature Intimacy by Jim A. Talley

It’s still got some great lessons in there for both teens and parents.

If your daughter is already dating and you haven’t done some of the foundation work, don’t give up.  If you are a parent, take time to interact with the dates your daughter is having.  Make it required for her dates to spend a dinner  or time with the family so that you can get to know the person who is influencing your daughter’s life.  Ensure that their character and spiritual pursuits  line up with those that you have for your daughter.  I have had many a conversation with a parent that is disappointed with their daughter’s choice to date a non-believer. I wonder what conversations happened before that daughter began dating that helped her know what to look for in a guy.  Thankfully my mother began having those conversations with me early on.  She let me know that she prayed for my future spouse.  Hearing that my mom was praying for my future spouse made me want to do the same thing at an early age.  I am so thankful that she did that because I can see those prayers answered in the person I married today.  Make plans to pray for your daughter audibly about the people who will influence her heart.  Tell her what things you are looking for in a guy for her way before she meets a “lloyd” who knows he only wants to “hang with your daughter.”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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