Monday, May 31, 2010

Is Your Daughter Ready to Date? Part Three

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The previous two times we have talked about the signs of whether your daughter is ready to date. We looked at Emotional Maturity, and whether she was Personally Responsible, Empathetic, and Self-Controlling. If she was, she is ready to date. (Click here to read part one, click here to read part two)

But Dad’s, just cause your daughter is ready to date, doesn’t mean she is prepared. As you may know from your own experience, some people you have gone on dates with probably should not have been dating. Your daughter needs to have a plan if she is to be kept safe while dating. You need to prepare her so that she doesn’t end up in an abusive or manipulative relationship.

How could your angel end up in such a relationship? Well, those who have the potential to be abusive or manipulative are very cunning. They wear a mask, and charm. They seem like such a catch. But once in the net, your daughter could be stuck in a relationship she doesn’t want to be in, but the abusive or manipulative individual will twist your daughter to keep her in a relationship.

So to prevent this Dad, you need to sit down with your daughter and discuss the four steps to the three-dates rule. These four steps will help your daughter, within three dates, determine if the person she is dating is abusive or manipulative.

First Step.

You need to teach your daughter to recognize characteristics of an abusive or manipulative individual. Someone who is abusive or manipulative lacks Emotional Maturity. So they will be lacking personal responsibility, empathy, and self-control. You can go to a previous post to look at characteristics of someone who is Emotionaly Immature. However, I wish to add some other characteristics here.

If the person your daughter is dating does the following, they lack Empathy (Remember we are talking about someone she has just started dating and are in the first three dates):

  • Call/Text after 11pm
  • Asks for money
  • Says she is high maintenance
  • Criticizes her
  • Comments about her body
  • Says “I love you” and “You are perfect for me”

They are lacking Personal Responsibility if they:

  • Seem to good to be true
  • Are the ultimate nice guy who keeps getting dumped
  • Easily get annoyed or offended

They are lacking Self-Control if they:

  • Want to get sexual
  • Keep pressuring, even when the response is no
  • Cling to your daughter
  • Want your daughter to be exclusively dating them
  • Tell her that they won’t be able to handle it if she rejects them

Tell your daughter it is important to listen to her feelings. If she is feeling that she has to please him, feels anxious or inadequate, feels that she needs to be smarter, thinner, or perfect, or feels that something is wrong, she needs to terminate the date immediately! Dates are supposed to be fun!

Second Step.

Tell your daughter that she needs to assert herself while on dates. She needs to share, within reason, what her dislikes and likes are, what her feelings, needs, goals, and wants are. After that, she needs to watch her date’s reaction. Someone who is emotionally immature and abusive or manipulative won’t care about your daughter’s feelings. If that’s the case, this is a relationship that she shouldn’t pursue.

You also need to help your daughter develop dating boundaries, such as meeting in public. If any of her dating boundaries get broken knowingly by her date, this is someone who disrespects your daughter.

Third Step.

Help your daughter find someone she can talk to about the date. This may be you, it may not be. It may be mom, aunt, sister, someone from church, or a friend. After each date she needs to share the details of the date to this person. This friend may see things that your daughter may not be seeing. It is important that it is someone she trusts, so that she will take their advice, whether it is positive or negative. This will help your daughter stay connected to the truth and not to fantasy.

Fourth Step.

Teach her to listen to her gut. She shouldn’t have to convince herself to go out on a date with this person, or that she likes him. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t go on the date! Tell her that if she doesn’t listen to her gut feeling, it will stop talking to her.

The first three dates should be comfortable, fun, and easy. If they aren’t, don’t go or follow up. This will help your daughter be safe while dating, so that she doesn’t get caught up in a harmful relationship.

***Taken from Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man by Alisa Goodwin Snell.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is Your Daughter Ready to Date? Part Two

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Last week, we discussed signs that your daughter is not ready to date. If she lacks Emotional Maturity in Self-Control, Empathy, and Personal Responsibility, she is not ready to date. Of course, it is hard to want to spot the negatives in your daughter, but it is something to be aware of. Today, let’s discuss the characteristics of someone who is Emotionally Mature and ready to date. To read the first part, please go here.

Sometimes, as a society, we feel that once our child hits a certain age they are ready to experience certain things in life. Dating is one of those things that we believe can start at a certain age. Sometimes a 16 year old is ready to date, and an 18 year old may not be. Why? Emotional maturity. So let’s look at some of the signs that your daughter may be ready to date.

  • Your daughter would demonstrate that she has empathy by:
  • Trying to see things from another person’s perspective
  • Changing her behavior out of concern for others
  • Forgiving herself and others, in reasonable time
  • Setting boundaries in relationships
  • Listening to others’ feelings and needs
  • Recognizing her emotions
  • Talking about her feelings and issues with those that she is close to and trusts
  • Feeling connected to and loved by others, herself, and God.

Your daughter would show personal responsibility by:

  • Accepting feedback from others about her behavior
  • Admitting she is wrong and taking action to correct it
  • Being realistic about commitments
  • Saying ‘No’, when needed
  • Asking for and accepting help
  • Accepting responsibility for mistakes, but still feeling that she has value
  • Using active language
  • Making plans and commitments, and following through
  • Asking for forgiveness
  • Looking others in the eyes
  • Being honest.

Your daughter would show that she has self-control by:

  • Showing an ongoing effort to have more self-control over problem behaviors
  • Being willing to change behaviors she enjoys but which cause harm or problems to others
  • Continuing to seek help through counseling, books, and people she trusts
  • Continuing her positive efforts, even when others are not supportive
  • Setting goals and achieving them
  • Doing what she says she will do
  • Going to school each day, doing her duty, and obeying the laws
  • Respecting authority figures, laws, rules, etc. (even if she wouldn’t be caught and punished)
  • Accepting the consequences of her choices without acting out or getting angry.

Now, this isn’t to say your daughter needs to be “perfect” to date. She will still have problems, weakness, and issues. The difference in what makes her emotionally mature is the way that she handles these problems.

When your daughter is emotionally mature, she will be ready to date.

Next time we will discuss dating rules that you should set with your daughter so that she will be safe, and not get into an abusive and manipulative relationship.

***Taken from Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man by Alisa Goodwin Snell.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Your Daughter Ready to Date?

No! I am sure that was the answer that went through your head, and will continue running through your head until she turns 35.

Some of us have these societal defined ages in which it is okay to start dating: 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, and 30. There are times when a 16 year old is ready to date, and then there are times when a 21 year old is not ready to be dating. There are certain characteristics that are needed in order to start dating. Emotional maturity is the key indicator for dating preparedness. Emotional maturity can be broken into three categories empathy, self-control, and personal responsibility.

  1. Empathy is the ability to respect and understand someone else’s feelings, rights, and needs. Basically, it is a concern for oneself and for others.
  2. Self-control is the controlling of your behaviors. That is you controlling your emotions instead of your emotions controlling you.
  3. Personal responsibility is owning your own thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Also, it is being accountable for completing a goal or task that you said you would do.

It is these three indicators that help determine if your daughter is ready to date.

First, let’s talk about the signs that she is not ready to date. If she is lacking in any of those three areas, she is not ready date. It may also make her vulnerable to an abusive and manipulative relationship.

So what does it mean to lack empathy, self-control and personal responsibility?

If your daughter lacks empathy, she will show some of these characteristics:

  • Self-centered
  • Easily offended
  • Poor sense for others feelings
  • Won’t forgive self or others for past wrongs
  • Talks as if she knows more than others and is superior
  • Has issues with authority
  • Is emotionally draining

Your daughter has lacks self-control if she shows these behaviors:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Promiscuity
  • Anger that gets out of control
  • Suicidal or self-harming behaviors
  • Acts threatening/intimidating when confronted
  • Acts one way at church, another at school, another at home

If your daughter lacks personal responsibility, these are some of the things she will be doing:

  • Rationalizes
  • Justifies
  • Blames others
  • Makes excuses
  • Doesn’t follow through on goals
  • Needs excessive support to get tasks done
  • Talks big
  • Uses passive language instead of active language
  • Doesn’t respect boundaries
  • Assumes a victim position
  • Holds on to the past, obsesses over the future, forgets to deal with the present
  • Expects others to anticipate her feelings and needs; gets mad if they don’t
  • Often late
  • Conveniently forgetful
  • Lies to cover up for her responsibility

So even though your daughter might be turning 16, she might not be ready for dating if she lacking in any of those categories: empathy, self-control, and personal responsibility. However, if she excels in being empathetic, controlling herself, and taking personal responsibility, she is ready to date. Next time, I will talk about the signs that indicate that she is ready to date.

**Taken from Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man by Alisa Goodwin Snell.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dance with your Daughter

When the music comes on in our house, and it is a song my two-year-old likes, she comes looking for me to dance. Not mommy, but daddy.

Dancing with your daughter, no matter how bad of a dancer you are, is a great way to interact with her. It shows that you are willing to let go of yourself and are available to have fun with her. Think of the message that sends to her: “My daddy is willing to take time out of his day to dance, jump, and spin around with me.”

You can start dancing with her as soon as she shows interest in connecting her body movements with the beats of songs. You can always start sooner, than that, when she is an infant, by just holding her in your arms and swaying with her.

You need to be willing to not just dance to the slow songs with her, but also to jump around with her to those faster tempo songs.

When she gets older and starts to go to school, you may not have as many dancing moments, but you can still work them in. During the teenage years, you will most likely have to do things on her terms. You might only have the chance to dance with her on special occasions, like New Years, her birthday, Christmas and other family events. Cherish those moments.

Think of how important that daddy-daughter dance at her wedding will be if you have been spending time dancing with her. It won’t be something foreign on the dance floor. That last dance with her will have meaning and value. It will be something that you and her can appreciate. It will be a symbol to everyone around of all the fun that she had with you while growing up. It will be an ending to the dances with you, but for her it will also be the beginning with her new dance partner.

Of course, a little warning. Dad, make sure you dance appropriately. She’s your daughter. Have playful fun with her, not romantic fun (that’s meant for your wife).

Most of all, enjoy, have fun, and cherish those dancing moments with your daughter.

Do you think dancing with your daughter will help build a relationship? Did your dad dance with you, and did it help?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fathers, Teach Your Daughter to Respect Her Mother

Mother’s day is coming up. We usually focus on getting mother a gift. Yet if we get mom a gift, and later disrespect her, that present has little value.

As I had written in an earlier post, your daughter learns about male-female relationships by watching how you treat your wife. However, you can also teach your daughter how to treat her mother.

The following are some ideas of how you can help your daughter show respect to her mother for the other 364 days of the year.

1. You can help teach your daughter to be respectful to her mom starting first in the home. After that you can work with her on showing that same respect to her mom elsewhere (such as at church, school, and the mall).

2. Teach her to be kind and respectful in language.

3. Teach your daughter to be considerate and nice when mom has visitors in the home.

4. Help your daughter to obey what mom asks her to do.

5. Teach her how to be reasonable and responsible with her behavior and actions.

6. Teach her to be a friend to her mom, and to enjoy her relationship with her mom.

7. Ask her to learn and understand her mom’s spiritual depth.

8. Teach your daughter proper manners.

9. Help your daughter write a letter of appreciation.

10. Teach your daughter to be honest and faithful to her mother.

Of course there are many other ways in which you can teach your daughter to be respectful to her mother. These are just some ideas to get the ball rolling.

As you help your daughter to respect her mother, you will see their relationship grow and prosper. You will be able to take comfort in knowing that your daughter does respect your wife.

What are some ways you show respect to your mother? Or how are you teaching your child to show respect to their mother?