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Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

Dear Young Man Who Wants to Date My Daughter

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Dear Young Man Who Wants To Date My Daughter,

Hey there, son. Oh, what? You don’t like me calling you that? Well then, you can walk your disrespectful butt right back out that door without my daughter’s hand in yours. You see, my calling you “son” is a term of endearment that I am trying to lead with so that I don’t just send you on your way and make my little girl upset. But you sir, you must also lead with respect towards me, my husband, and absolutely always towards “your girl”.

You see, I can and do understand that you and her use that term — “your girl”. But you’ve both got that slightly wrong. She has and always will be my girl, my little girl, my baby girl, no matter how old she gets and how long you date her. And because you have my daughter as “your girl,” well it is imperative that I share with you a few rules for dating her.

Rule #1. You will DATE HER. You will court her and aim to impress her. You will plan out your social engagements and you will take her to do things that she enjoys. You will not, I repeat, you will not treat her in any way that debunks her perception of what love is and what dating is truly supposed to be. You will not simply treat her in any way that makes her feel as though you do not value your relationship. You will work to romance her and you will promise to work to keep her happy.

Rule #2. She will always be NUMBER ONE. Not you. Did you hear me? I said that she will take the cake, each and every time. She will be offered the last piece of pie or the booth side of the table. She will be the one to decide on the restaurant if she so desires. She will be the one and only in your life while you are dating her. If she becomes your number two behind yourself or another girl, then you will be getting some number two delivered right to your doorstep by yours truly.

Rule #3. She will always be RESPECTED. She will always be respected. It is so important it deserves to be said twice. And not only by you, but you will ensure that she is respected by those that you both spend time with. You will make sure that your friends and family show her the respect that she is due. Her opinions will be respected, her body will be respected, her emotions and feelings will be respected, and her heart will surely be respected and handled with extreme care.

Rule #4. She will always be encouraged to HAVE AN OPINION. Even when her opinion disagrees with yours or with the “norm,” you must always give recognition and credence to her perspective on a matter. And, when you are having trouble understanding her opinion, you will guarantee to dialogue respectfully so that you can see (not necessarily agree, but at least see) where she is coming from.

Rule #5. She will always be LISTENED to. Actively listened to — with eyes and ears at attention. You will inevitably be faced with many distractions throughout your relationship, but the state of your relationship and my opinion of you will go right down the toilet if you do not listen to her. All women, including my daughter, deserve to have a voice, and for it to be heard under all circumstances.

Rule #6. She will always be SUPPORTED. Physically and emotionally. You must be her friend and you must be willing to provide unconditional compassion, empathy, and encouragement towards/for her.

Rule #7. She will always be COMPLIMENTED. Sure, she will welcome compliments on her appearance which you should make often, even multiple times a day. Yet, she will also need to be complimented on her intelligence, on her talents and skills, on her humor, on her strength, and on everything about her that encompass why you are with her. Compliment early and compliment often. Never stop complimenting.

Rule #8. She will always be CLOSE WITH HER FAMILY. And you will promote this. You will admire this about her and you will make a point to get close with us too.

Rule #9. She will always be PASSIONATE. You must never ever attempt to tame her energy. Don’t stifle her personality to better align it with yours.

The fact is, my daughter is way more than your girl or my baby girl — she is her own girl, with her own hopes and dreams about boys, about love, and about life. I can only hope that these nine rules I have given to you, son, serve as a guideline for you when it comes to loving her. If you cannot love her right (and my rules will help you do that), then walk your butt back out that door sir, and don’t love her at all.

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