From the time she was born, she became daddy’s little princess, and so you promise to love, cherish and protect her with every fibre of your being. You watched her grow from a chubby toddler to a sulky teenager, and now almost on the cusp of womanhood she has hit you with a statement that you have dreaded for years and prayed that it would never come: She wants to date.
Now breathe slowly, your world has not ended. It just got a whole lot more interesting, as calling it ‘complicated’ will give it a negative overtone. This day was eventually going to happen, and although you would like her to be your baby until she is at least 30, that was just not a realistic dream.
So, how do you handle it? Well, you can either be the typical overbearing dad and yell and lock her in her room which will only make her resent you or you can try to accept that dating is a normal part of teenagers’ lives. However, you are the best person to equip her with the tools to navigate all that comes with it.
Following the rules
Now, most men oppose their daughters dating mainly because they remember just how much of a horn dog they were at that age. Your daughter wanting to date is not karma, it is human nature, so stop with the dramatics and man up, buttercup! Begin by sitting down and talking to her about what her expectations are and also what you expect of her.
If she already has someone in mind, as in she has a crush, have her invite him over to the home and meet the boy for yourself. By inviting him over you can get his picture, full government name, parents’ names and contact numbers, address and school, so you know exactly who you are polishing up your shotgun for! However, he may not be a bad as you think. Some boys are actually still frightened of the ins and outs of dating themselves, and so they are shy and awkward just as much as girls are. Hopefully, she likes one of those kinds.
After meeting her ‘Mr Right Now’, you sit him down and set some ground rules, such as curfew times and how you expect him to treat her. Explain to her that if dating interferes with her schoolwork and extracurricular activities, then it is not going to be happening for very long. You can impress upon him that he needs to give you his word/assurance that he will follow your rules going forward because breaking them will have consequences.
Spread wings and fly
Once everyone in on the same page, then depending on her age, you arrange dating guidelines. Below 15 is hella young. At age 15 and 16, she will do group dating – as in go out with a bunch of teenagers her age. She does not need to be alone with a boy now. It is not happening because old-time people say you do not ‘rub butter pon puss mouth’.
When she becomes 17, then you do not need to chaperone as hardcore but ensure that you drop off and pick up so you know where they are going and what time they will be ready. It is also a way of letting the boy know that you are not only shadowing his move but keeping him on his toe, as you intend to look over his shoulders to make sure that if he slips up you are on him like white on rice! Once she turns 18, you may allow her to spread her wings and fly.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.