10 commandments for dating my teenage daughters
“Our friends are scared of you, dad.”
My daughters told me that when I fetched them from school one day. I had commented that their friends would become quiet when I approached. I wondered why, because I get along well with people of all ages. I am generally considered intelligent, fun and friendly.
But in my role as a father, I suppose a different thought process runs through my mind. Perhaps my face changes expression when boys are around my girls in their co-ed schools. I behave differently—especially when it comes to boys who want to date my daughters.
Is there a threat to my cubs? A very protective, almost primal attitude sets in, and I shift into warrior mode. Adrenaline flows through my body. My eyes turn into narrow slits as I focus on foes. The hair on the back of my neck stands as my muscles tense and a fight response sets in. I feel my lips wanting to curl back exposing my teeth as I set out to rip flesh off bones. I feel like a destructive force of nature. Maybe they should be scared. I am a father.
My two gorgeous daughters have been a joy in my life since they were born. I saw them crawl, walk and eventually run. From babies to toddlers, and then to little girls, I have watched them develop and grow.
Now, it is that time in life that I dreaded. Teen age is dating age. It’s a natural phase to prepare for adulthood. I allow them more freedom to learn to make choices.
But though I accept this, I am still their father and protector. I have my preferences on what I expect from those souls who would (dare) date my daughters.
Herewith are 10 commandments for dating my teenage daughter:
I. Let me know you. Introduce yourself to me and my clan. If you do not have the guts to do so, it makes me question how trustworthy you are. Do you have something to hide? How can I trust you with my daughter?
II. Have respect and honor. This pertains to how you treat other people and yourself. I am not your buddy, and adults like me deserve to be treated with honor and respect simply on the basis of our age and experience. Greet people each time you see them. Say “good morning, sir” and other appropriate greetings. When you leave my presence, “I’ll go ahead, sir” is passable. Be truthful and honest—trust is earned, not given. Respecting me shows me that you can respect my daughter.
III. Be punctual. Show up on time. Take my daughter home on time. This shows you have discipline and can adjust your situations to honor a commitment. If you can’t control your time, I will doubt that you can control yourself.
IV. Have manners. Aside from proper greetings and salutations, I want to see right actions. Open doors and offer seats for elders and ladies. Offer first choice of food. Give up food if they want it. Stay on the danger side when you cross the street. Don’t talk with food in your mouth, nor chew with your mouth open. Control yourself from burping loudly and farting (loudly)—these are natural body actions but please (!) make them less obvious.
V. Practice proper grooming and personal hygiene. Be clean and neat. In this modern day of self-expression, I still expect some effort to follow social norms. Wear the right clothes for occasions. Don’t be unkempt in appearance. Fix your hair (but don’t keep touching it). Wash up. If you don’t care how you appear to others, it could tell me that you don’t care how you behave. On the other hand, too much self-grooming shows that you care more about yourself than her.
VI. Be knowledgeable and smart. I don’t expect an honor student, but I don’t want an ignoramus taking my daughter out. You better know things like who the president of the country is, or how to get to your destination. Can you change a flat tire? If you don’t know things like that, I ask: Do you know how to take care of my child? But don’t pretend to know things that you really don’t. That just makes you a fake.
VII. Be the man. Even if women have equal rights, I want my daughter to be with someone who can (if needed) take care of her. Males are supposed to protect females. Even if you are not built like Thor, you have to be the man. Use your brain. Deal with problems, ask questions and come up with solutions. If my daughter has to take charge and protect you in a dark alley, I would rather have her stay home.
VIII. Introduce your parents. I expect to meet your parents at some time during your friendship with my child. I want to know the people who raised you. I want to see how they relate to you and how you treat them. This lets me know what kind of person you were raised to be.
IX. Introduce your friends. Show me the group that my daughter will be exposed to. As the saying goes, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” Your parents raised you one way, but the character of your friends shows who you are or who you want to become.
X. Express your plans. Tell me what you intend to do with your life. What are your intentions for my daughter? This lets me know how serious you are, or if you’re the type out for fun who just leaves everything to chance.
Thou shalt follow these 10 commandments to date my teenage daughter.
Incidentally, my daughters’ ages are 16 and “twenteen.” In parent vision, they shall always be my babies. Fathers actually have hundreds of commandments. But thou shalt learn these first 10… for now. Grrr.