If you look around the world today, or even turn on the television for a few minutes, you will see a severe lack of strong male role models. Either the man is a lying cheating scoundrel or is too stupid and oblivious to really be of any benefit to anyone around him. The media's portrayal of dating is even worse: it's more about hooking up for a weekend than trying to build a lasting and loving relationship. Also, women and girls continue to be objectified and reduced to objects of sexual gratification rather than bright, wonderful people who are full of potential. Our precious daughters are exposed to this garbage nearly every day on TV, at school, on billboards, and even sometimes from their friends. With all of the noise, parents have their work cut out for them.
The reality is that no parent wants to see his or her daughters end up in a relationship with young man who does not treat her well and who does not value her for her true potential. One of the best that a father can help his daughter be able to recognize the difference between a genuine loving relationship and an inadequate one, is to show her firsthand how she should expect to be treated. The "daddy-daughter date" is a great way to spend some personal time with your daughter, while quietly teaching her how she deserves to be treated.
What is a Daddy-Daughter Date?
While the name is self-explanatory, a daddy-daughter date is a time where a father can spend some quality time with his daughter to get to know her and foster a good relationship. Treat her like she is the star of the evening. Open doors for her, compliment her, and take time about what important things are on her mind. One of the early leaders of the Boy Scouts once said that "Scouting is a game with a purpose." The same idea applies here to daddy-daughter dates: make them fun and memorable while using the time to build a relationship and instill the values that you would like your daughter to have. I'll give a few examples of simple daddy-daughter date ideas that you could do this week. Look at this list for ideas, and use your imagination.
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Two Words: Ice Cream
Who doesn't love to go out for ice cream? Ok, there are probably a few people, but it's probably not your little girl. Going out for ice cream is a classic that will likely never get old. Sitting down for an ice-cream sundae, gives you time to just chat with your daughter about what is going on in her life and the things that are on her mind.
When talking to your daughter, be sure to listen carefully to her. Some of the things weighing on her mind may seem trivial to you, but to her they are a big deal. Let her feel loved and valued.
Shopping at her Favorite Store
If you are anything like me, the idea of wandering around a department store looking at clothes makes we want to take a nap. However, if this is something that your daughter enjoys, then by all means take your nap later. Take her to her favorite store and buy her something that she likes, whether it's a pair of shoes, a dress, or even a piece of sports equipment. Compliment her and make it fun.
Spend Time in the Garage
Cars, grease, and the smell of gasoline. Your girl probably loves all those things as much as you do. Spend some time getting dirt under your fingernails showing her how to work on the car. You can start with the basic like changing oil, replacing spark plugs, replacing brakes, changing tires etc. If you are a gear head, then move on to more advanced skills. Show her how to do it, then let her have a go. She will probably surprise you with how much she enjoys working next to you. The added bonus is that she will learn to take care of herself from what you teach her if she ever gets a flat tire or needs to make a repair on her own.
This one is a personal favorite for me since I already try to fish as much as I possibly can. There aren't many things better than wading through a mountain stream, or sitting by the water in the fresh, clean air waiting for fish to bite. You know you love it, and she probably will too. Fishing is a great excuse to spend an entire day together. You can head out in the morning when the fish are biting, pack a lunch, then hit a diner on the way home for dinner. Teach her how to fish, how to properly release fish, and how to clean them if you decide to take a few home. Getting away from the constant noise of civilization for a few hours in nature helps everyone clear their head, and provides a great atmosphere for spending quality time with your little girl.
A Concert or Movie
As you get to know what she likes, surprise her by taking her to a favorite movie or a concert of a band that she likes. There is nothing unmanly about taking your daughter to see her favorite boy band or the latest movie about a vampire's softer emotional side...just don't go by yourself. She might even tell her friends how cool you are.
Run a 5K Together
You know that you could use some more exercise. Those "occasional" extra beers are starting to make a appearance on your waist. A 5K is a fun and quick race that can still be challenging. Train together, or at least encourage each other. Make it a tradition to run in an annual 5K race in your area. As a bonus, it will help you fend off some of those extra pounds.
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What if the Father Isn't Available
There are many cases where the father may not be involved or be able to be involved his his daughter's life. This could be because of death, divorce, a father who does not wish to be involved, or countless other circumstances. This can be a very difficult situation, and each situation should be treated for its unique sense of circumstances. That being said, having positive male role models is very important for girls, especially if circumstances prevent her father from taking that role. While being sensitive to the situation, another male family member could help be that role model. It could be an uncle, grandfather, brother, or even a step-father. In some cases it could even be a close and trusted family friend who genuinely loves and cares for the girl. It's important for the mentor to recognize that he should not attempt to replace the girl's father, but can still provide support and be a positive influence in her life.
It's the Small Things
While I think that it's important to have regular planned activities that are fun and memorable, also take advantage smaller windows of time that you can find. Go on an evening walk, or take a Sunday drive around town. Use your lunch break to pick her up from school and buy her lunch. Help her with homework. There are countless ways you can foster your relationship if you just take a moment to look for opportunities. Taking a long lunch to have a lifelong relationship with your daughter is definitely worth it. It's the little things accumulated over many years that build strong relationships and helps shape your child into a wonderful and successful woman.