Q: My sixteen-year-old daughter has blossomed into a beautiful young lady – and it seems I’m not the only one who’s noticed. She’s getting more and more attention from boys her age, and I suspect it won’t be long before she’ll be dating. As her dad, what’s my role in interacting with and vetting any potential suitors?
A: Well, we strongly advise you to avoid some of the hilarious extremes employed by the hyper-protective dad. At the same time, you don’t want to disappear into the shadows when young men start showing up at your doorstep. As a father, you have an important role to play.
One of your chief responsibilities is to protect your daughter. That’s especially important when she’s beginning to date. Now that you’re approaching that time of life, consider this suggestion from author Dennis Rainey: interview the boys who aspire to date your daughter.
You heard us right. Before any dates are scheduled, meet with the boys who are interested in your daughter and ask them some serious questions to determine if they’re mature and responsible young men of good character. Don’t be combative or heavy-handed, but do make it clear how you expect them to treat and behave toward your daughter. It’s not about intimidating the boy as much as it is promoting a sense of respect for her.
Another benefit of this exercise is that your daughter will learn how to evaluate potential suitors on her own. And, really, that’s the point. Whether it’s a secondary school boy or her future husband, the goal is for your daughter to understand and demand that she be treated with the respect and dignity she deserves. As with most things in life, that education starts right there at home.
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