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5 Ways to Help Daughters Prepare for Dating

  • Kristi Woods Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
5 Ways to Help Daughters Prepare for Dating

What are parents to do when their daughter expresses interest in dating? For starters, set your inner ostrich aside. This is not the time to hide a head in the sand, although I must admit I contemplated hiding mine! When faced with the four-lettered word, D-A-T-E, grab godly diligence and walk with confidence. 

Many good parenting books exist. You’ve likely read several already and have held general conversations with your daughter. But what if much of the input simply proves too conservative or liberal for your family’s flavor when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of a first date? That happened in my family. We weren’t of the “wait until you’re 5,000 years old to date” camp -- maybe that’s an exaggeration -- but we did want to take a wise and somewhat conservative approach while still allowing our teenagers to date. 

Following are five ways that helped us prepare our teenage daughter for her first date. Perhaps one or more will benefit you, too.

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1. Ask for Wisdom

1. Ask for Wisdom

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5 WEB)

We were in over our head. I knew it! This whole dating game thing was far beyond the clutch of understanding, even if I had dated as a teenager. Fear rose; no doubt my own teen dating experiences contributed. Regardless, a head-on collision with my daughter and dating seemed inevitable. It proved time to face it. 

Even though we encounter uneven or uncertain dating terrain, God remains stable. He’s liberal -- always has been and always will be -- when it comes to doling out wisdom. Consider running to the Lord, first and foremost. Ask for his wisdom. Our faithful Father offers it.

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2. Pray.

2. Pray.

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17 WEB)

Instead of freaking out, why not pray? Pray for yourself and your spouse -- that you’ll be wise and diligent in your approach to your daughter’s dating request. Pray for insight and understanding for yourself and the parents of the young man as well. Lift your daughter in prayer, asking for her protection and wisdom, discernment, honesty, integrity, and purity. Pray for the young man similarly. Even more powerfully, ask God how to pray for each party involved. Then, pray accordingly.

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3. Call a Friend

3. Call a Friend

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart; so does earnest counsel from a man’s friend.” (Proverbs 17:9 WEB)

I sprinted through a mental checklist of Christian friends whose daughters had dated. I considered how those friends managed daily life and if it was similar to my own family life. And then I narrowed the call list down to two women. Both lived hours away but proved valuable with their offering of godly counsel. Oh, the beauty of telephones and keyboard-clicking technology! 

Have a few questions ready and certainly keep a notebook handy during those conversations. Glean from their experiences, both successes and failures. Scribble notes and ideas. Friends who offer wise input hinging on the wisdom found in the Word prove golden. 

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4. Communicate Expectations and Set Boundaries

4. Communicate Expectations and Set Boundaries

“God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so. God called the dry land ‘earth’, and the gathering together of the waters he called ‘seas’. God saw that it was good.” (Gen. 1:9-10 WEB)

God set boundaries. If boundaries are good for him, perhaps they’re wisdom for our daughters as well.  

Following are a few areas to consider when setting dating boundaries or expectations: 

  • Appropriate age or maturity level 
  • Getting to know each other – parents and the young man
  • Curfews, both his and hers 
  • Limits concerning physical touch (Encourage your daughter to set boundaries and communicate those to the young man prior to dating.)
  • Appropriate attire
  • Spaces and places appropriate for dates (For example, is the family room door to remain open at all times if they are watching television in the room alone? Are they to remain in public places at all times? Are they allowed in a home when adults are absent?)
  • Group or duo dating 
  • Salvation, both his and hers
  • The purpose of dating

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5. Offer a Listening Ear and Remain Vigilant

5. Offer a Listening Ear and Remain Vigilant

“So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (James 1:19 WEB)

Keep a listening ear turned toward God. Lean that listening ear in your daughter’s direction as well. Her fears, frustrations, excitement, and expectations might very well seep into conversations. Car rides to and from school and sporting events offer valuable airtime, as does meal preparation in the kitchen or an evening with heels kicked high in the living room. Offer those intentional, probing questions as well as you walk alongside your daughter during her new season of dating.  

Kristi Woods, writer and speaker, is passionate about women walking deeper with God. She clicks words of encouragement at www.KristiWoods.net and is published in both Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions and Military Families as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today. Kristi, her husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle, and have set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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