It is that time already – get ready to meet your daughter’s first boyfriend!
Can you believe your little angel is interested in boys and is even bringing one home to meet you? How on earth do you prepare to let go of your little girl, and recognize your daughter as a young adult without pulling out all your hair and keeping your temper in check? It may seem super daunting, and almost impossible, but there are ways to make the transition a little easier for both parent and child.
Accepting that your daughter is ready to put herself out there and begin dating is a big step for most parents. It is not something that we just know how to deal with, and often it is as much of a learning curb for us as it is for them. We might never feel ready to let them start dating, but the truth is that it has to happen at some point. Why not be prepared for when the day does come.
Instead of sheltering her and keeping her locked away until she is 40, get yourself and your daughter ready for this big step. Having an open, honest relationship is the best way to be involved in your daughter’s life, and a great way for her to feel like she can come to you with any problem.
While it is mostly figuring it out as you go, there are a few universal tips that a parent can use to deal with their daughter dating.
Don’t be in denial – This day will come. There is no point lying to yourself that she will stay your little girl forever. Be prepared for her to ask one day “can I start dating?” The more honest you are with yourself, the easier it will be when the day does arrive. It won’t be such a shock. By recognizing these milestones, you are able to cherish and enjoy them more.
Keep the communication up – Just because there is a new interest in your daughter’s life, it does not mean she should push you out the picture. Maintaining a healthy, open relationship that is full of communication is so important. Your daughter will not feel the need to hide anything from you, and you will know what is going on in her life. Know when to back off though. She does need her own space, so don’t push it.
Teach her how to act – Your daughter has never been on a date before (that you know of) Sit her down and talk her through appropriate behaviors and conversation for her first date. Let her know the boundaries, and what to do and say should she feel uncomfortable. Helping her understand social behavior from young will help her avoid any unwanted situations later on in life, she will know how to say no and how to tell if something is inappropriate.
Do not tease her – It might be cute to give a little banter here and there with your daughter’s new boyfriend, but don’t embarrass her. It is also a new, trying time for her. She is discovering herself in a whole new social aspect, it is also a very awkward time in her life. Don’t tease her and make fun of her new love interest. Treat her as an adult and she will respect you more for this. Connect with her on an adult level and teach her boundaries and rules for dating this way.
Make sure she isn’t too involved – It is so important to teach our kids that they need to have their own life, outside of their significant other. If you see your daughter is becoming too involved and has stopped doing the things she enjoys and is pushing her friends away, it may be time to step in. As a parent, it is important to keep your child happy. If she loses sight of what she loves, when the relationship does end, she will be miserable and alone. A happy child is a happy parent.
The days of a father waiting at the door with a shotgun are over. Society is much more accepting of teen-dating and the world we live in is very progressive. This doesn’t stop the emotions that parents go through watching their princess walk away hand in hand with her new boyfriend. Remember that it is completely normal to be a bit emotional, but it is in everyone’s best interest to be open and honest with your daughter and encourage her to be the same with you. Support her in her journey to womanhood, don’t hold her back.