"How have you felt during our date tonight? I don't want you to ever expect anything less from a boy you're dating."
These words were spoken by a dad on a date with his seventh-grade daughter. He opened doors, pulled out chairs, asked her questions and offered kind words about her external and internal beauty all night.
He wanted that kind of treatment to be her expectation.
Establishing Godly Expectations for Your Daughter
You, as a dad, set your daughter's expectations for how the rest of the men in her life will treat her. She looks to you for approval, attention and admiration. She needs to know from you that she's lovely, strong, capable, kind and brave.
She needs to know that you respect her feelings and her voice ... as you will want all of the other boys and men who follow you to do.
Dad-daughter dates are an opportunity to spend quality time and show the real-life expectation of a spouse for your daughter. It's also a time to be intentional and to instill values into your daughter that will affect her earthly and eternal life.
1. A Heavenly Reminder
When you spend quality time with your daughter, you have an opportunity to focus on her and call out the good you see in her. Remind her regularly of the beauty God has placed inside of her—and outside too—so she sees herself as more than just her looks. We want the majority of emphasis to be on the things that last forever...the beauty of her spirit, as in Proverbs 31.
2. A Boost in Confidence
In every parenting seminar I teach, I remind parents how girls who are delighted in feel more delightful. Enjoy her. Play with her. Learn what she loves and why she loves it. As you enjoy her, she will feel that she is an enjoyable person. This will build your daughter's confidence and her self-worth.
3. A Loving Word at Every Age
When she was little, she was easy to know and to spend time with. As she becomes a teenager, she gets a little more awkward with you. I honestly believe that somewhere in adolescence it finally occurs to her that you're a boy. She feels awkward with boys so she starts to get awkward with you. You go to hug her and she gets stiff and steps away.
She still needs you to press in. Conversations with teens are sometimes better spent around a task. Teach her to drive. Go rock climbing with her at your local gym. Take her fishing or biking or skiing. Ask her about her friends, the music she likes. She longs for you to know her, even though, as a teenager, she often won't say the words.
What About Girls Without Fathers?
I know plenty of girls who do not have a dad who can step into these places in their lives. But I have known dozens of grandfathers, uncles, neighbors and youth directors over the years God has sent to fill those gaps. Don't be discouraged if you feel like your daughter doesn't have a man in this place.
Pray for and seek one out. God can use another man to build into your daughter and speak to the beauty inside of her.
You have a powerful voice in the life of your daughter. You set her standard for how she will expect to be treated and will treat others. Lay a foundation of respect, and you will affect her perspective on purity and the importance of it for her life and all of eternity.
Article courtesy of Parenting Teens magazine.