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Helping Your Daughter be Ready for Her First Date

Just like with any new activity you teach your daughter, dating and how to develop trusting relationships with the opposite sex will require more than one lesson. Here’s an opportunity to look at your daughter’s first date not as one big step but rather one in-between step for which you have prepared her for since the start of puberty.

Even though you may have determined a minimum age requirement for your daughter to begin dating doesn’t mean that she won’t be interested earlier. Or she may not be emotionally ready at that predetermined age. But you can expect that at some point she will show an interest in boys so be ready with your calmest its-just-another-part-of-growing-up reaction.

Let your daughter know that it is OK to be “just friends” with boys. This is a great way for her to feel like she can be herself without any romantic expectations. Friendships with the opposite sex formed before middle school can be beneficial in later teen years when your daughter does start to date. She’ll have the support of male friends who have known her over a period of time.  She also may not be so disappointed by the romantic relationships that don’t last.

Allow your daughter to socialize with boys but as with anything set clear limits and guidelines. For example, no entertaining in the bedroom or late night phone calls. It may help your daughter to know that her peers have similar limits so talk to the parents of her friends, girls and boys alike.

Parents can also cooperate to provide structured and supervised activities for girls and boys to socialize together.  A regular movie night or pizza party in someone’s home is a fun activity for the tween age group. The next step may be group dating where several boys and girls go out together but not necessarily as couples.Here’s another chance to socialize with the opposite sex without the pressures and expectations of one-on-one dating.

When your daughter is ready for one-on-one dating you can rest assured that you have prepared her for this step. Keep the lines of communication open and stay involved in her life. Continue fostering your daughters’ personal interests so that she has a strong sense of herself and always encourage her to be true to herself in all of her relationships.