Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is Your Daughter Ready to Date? Part Three


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The previous two times we have talked about the signs of whether your daughter is ready to date. We looked at Emotional Maturity, and whether she was Personally Responsible, Empathetic, and Self-Controlling. If she was, she was ready to date. (Click here to read part one, click here to read part two)

But Dads, just cause your daughter is ready to date, doesn’t mean she is prepared. As you may know from your own experience, some people you have gone on dates with probably should not have been dating. Your daughter needs to have a plan if she is to be kept safe while dating. You need to prepare her so that she doesn’t end up in an abusive or manipulative relationship.

How could your angel end up in such a relationship? Well, those who have the potential to be abusive or manipulative are very cunning. They wear a mask, and charm. They seem like such a catch. But once in the net, your daughter could be stuck in a relationship she doesn’t want to be in, but the abusive or manipulative individual will twist your daughter to keep her in a relationship.

So to prevent this Dad, you need to sit down with your daughter and discuss the four steps to the three-dates rule. These four steps will help your daughter, within three dates, determine if the person she is dating is abusive or manipulative.

First Step.
You need to teach your daughter to recognize characteristics of an abusive or manipulative individual. Someone who is abusive or manipulative lacks Emotional Maturity. So they will be lacking personal responsibility, empathy, and self-control. You can go to a previous post to look at characteristics of someone who is Emotionaly Immature. However, I wish to add some other characteristics here.

If the person your daughter is dating does the following, they lack Empathy (Remember we are talking about someone she has just started dating and are in the first three dates):
  • Call/Text after 11pm
  • Asks for money
  • Says she is high maintenance
  • Criticizes her
  • Comments about her body
  • Says “I love you” and “You are perfect for me”
They are lacking Personal Responsibility if they:
  • Seem to good to be true
  • Are the ultimate nice guy who keeps getting dumped
  • Easily get annoyed or offended
They are lacking Self-Control if they:
  • Want to get sexual
  • Keep pressuring, even when the response is no
  • Cling to your daughter
  • Want your daughter to be exclusively dating them
  • Tell her that they won’t be able to handle it if she rejects them
Tell your daughter it is important to listen to her feelings. If she is feeling that she has to please him, feels anxious or inadequate, feels that she needs to be smarter, thinner, or perfect, or feels that something is wrong, she needs to terminate the date immediately! Dates are supposed to be fun!

Second Step.
Tell your daughter that she needs to assert herself while on dates. She needs to share, within reason, what her dislikes and likes are, what her feelings, needs, goals, and wants are. After that, she needs to watch her date’s reaction. Someone who is emotionally immature and abusive or manipulative won’t care about your daughter’s feelings. If that’s the case, this is a relationship that she shouldn’t pursue.

You also need to help your daughter develop dating boundaries, such as meeting in public. If any of her dating boundaries get broken knowingly by her date, this is someone who disrespects your daughter.

Third Step.
Help your daughter find someone she can talk to about the date. This may be you, it may not be. It may be mom, aunt, sister, someone from church, or a friend. After each date she needs to share the details of the date to this person. This friend may see things that your daughter may not be seeing. It is important that it is someone she trusts, so that she will take their advice, whether it is positive or negative. This will help your daughter stay connected to the truth and not to fantasy.

Fourth Step.
Teach her to listen to her gut. She shouldn’t have to convince herself to go out on a date with this person, or that she likes him. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t go on the date! Tell her that if she doesn’t listen to her gut feeling, it will stop talking to her.

The first three dates should be comfortable, fun, and easy. If they aren’t, don’t go or follow up. This will help your daughter be safe while dating, so that she doesn’t get caught up in a harmful relationship.

***Taken from Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man by Alisa Goodwin Snell.

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