Does Dad think I’m special?
Many dads are head-over-heals about their daughters. Ask them. They’ll tell you.
My little Karen is an amazing . . . .
You should see Chloe when she . . .
Audrey is the most awesome . . . .
We may love our daughters, but sometimes the transition from how we feel and what we’ve communicated to them needs more focus. There’s nothing like a Daddy Daughter Date to speak the answer to her question loud and clear: Yes, you are a special, wonderful person . . . especially to me.
For our daughters (and sons, too) to feel a sense of their own value, they need to know that we want to, that we desire to, that we like to spend time with them.
I’ve had dates with my daughters over the years and by God’s grace, have wonderful relationships with them. But, I can tell you, I wish I would have dated them far more than I let life dictate to me.
We dads need to push back on the pressures of life to make room for the relationships that really matter. In the coming months and years, I’ll be putting a lot more focus on one-one time with them.
Could you use some suggestions for “Date Night with Dad”?
Here is a list of 20 Daddy-Daughter Dates to get you started
1) Ice Cream Date. Take her out for ice cream. Not everything wonderful has to be rocket science.
2) Tea Party Date. If she’s young, ask her to invite you to a tea party (Mom can help her with the details).
3) Picnic In The Park Date. Is there a park near by? Invite her to go on a walk with you and surprise her with a blanket and picnic lunch.
4) “May I Take You to Dinner?” Date. What is her favorite kind of food? Ask her and then ask her to go on a date with you for breakfast or lunch at a nearby restaurant.
5) Go For a Drive Date. Get in the car, purchase a drink you know she’ll like, and go for a drive through the country without a plan, just to see where you’ll end up and what you’ll find when you get there.
Things to talk about during your date . . .
I just wanted to talk to you about some things I really like about you.
You were amazing when you . . .
You thought no one was looking but, the other day, I noticed that you . . . .
If you put your mind to it, you can probably come up with quite a few things you truly appreciate about your daughter.
6) Best Chocolate Ever Date. Does your daughter like chocolate? Have a “Best Chocolate Ever Competition” date. Go on a quest around your town or city for the best chocolate ever. (If you’re ever in Portland, Oregon you’ve got to check out Cocao)
7) Chick Flick Date. Ask your wife for suggestions on a “chick flick” your daughter might like. Pop some popcorn and watch it with her. You don’t like “chick flicks”? Most guys don’t. The movie’s not the point. Just focus on what the time you are spending with your daughter says to her. You might want to check out Victoria & Albert or Emma.
8) Earring Date. Does your daughter like earrings? Take her on an “Earring Date” where she gets to pick out a couple of pairs of earrings. And, remember you LOVE what she picked out.
9) Bike Ride Date. Lot’s of variation here, depending on where you live, from mountain biking to cruising on a Fat Tire to a 15 speed (that reminds me, we need to get new bikes!).
10) Hiking Date. Pack a few snacks and drinks and head out for a few hours.
Things to talk about (sometime toward the middle or end of your date) . . .
I am really interested in how you are feeling about things, right now.
Is there anything that has been on your mind lately?
I want to be a good dad for you. Do I do anything that annoys you? Is there anything I need to improve in?
Can you tell me if there’s anything I do that makes you want to (or not want to) communicate with me?
One thing that makes my own daughters (yes, and sons) not want to communicate with me from time to time is my inclination to too quickly jump in and offer my suggestions, solutions, advice, experience, and wisdom.
Why do I do it? Because I care and want to help.
And, I am older and wiser than them.
It’s just a fact of life. But, I have discovered (and get to relearn from time to time) that it is very unwise to always have the ready answer.
Sometimes, we dads should stop trying to ‘fix it’ and just listen. Truly listening creates trust and communicates value to our kids.
11) TV Miniseries Marathon Date Night. My daughters have several favorites including shows like “Little Dorrit” (our whole family loves this one – yep, even me! A few ‘close your eyes parts for our younger kids’).
12) Sports Date. Are your daughters sports-minded? How about a one-on-one basketball game or a game of “Horse” or tennis or golf or . . . you fill in the blank. If she’s younger and not accomplished in the sport, you might want to spot her several points. After the game, head to town. Winner/Loser (let her pick) buys drinks.
13) Photo Shoot Date. This can run into some serious money but doesn’t have to. In medium to large centers, there are many companies that specialize in reasonably priced studio shots that capture the best angles. And, besides, you’d love a current picture of your daughter to hang on your office wall, or keep in your wallet, wouldn’t you?
If you’re the creative, adventurous type, tell your daughter to bring a few extra clothes, pick an outdoor setting, and use your own phone to take pictures of her. Be sure to give her total control of what pics get kept and discarded. Most teen girls are hyper-sensitive about these things!
14) Bedroom Makeover Date. Who doesn’t like a fresh look? A bucket of paint isn’t that expensive. Go to the paint store and let her pick out a color she would love. Then paint her room together. Don’t worry if you’re not a painter. The guy at the paint store can get you what you need and tell you what you need to know in about ten minutes.
15) Makeup Date? Okay, time for True Confessions: I used to be very strict (uptight) about my girls wearing makeup. Why do you need that? Now? I’m just not worried about it. They love me. I love them. And, what’s even more important, they trust me. They’ve given me their hearts and I’d rather have that than anything else.
Take her on a “Make-over Date”(check with your wife to see if your daughter would like this). Every major department store has a Fragrance and Makeup area in the Women’s department. As a way to sell product, all the major brands offer “make-overs” where the makeup artist helps your daughter select shades, colors, etc., and then applies it to her face as she watches the progression in a mirror. The process can take upwards of an hour so, you will have to find something to do as no daughter on earth wants Dad to stand around watching while she’s being pampered in this way.
Afterwards, you get to rave and insist the two of you go out for coffee, frozen yogurt, or whatever she may enjoy.
Things to talk about . . .
I’ve been reading Psalm 1 and I wanted to talk about what it means for you and me.
Is there anything that you would like God to do in your life or the life of one of your friends? Can we pray about that together?
What kind of a woman do you want to be 5 years from now? How about 10 years from now?
I was really proud of you when . . .
16) Road Trip Date. Do you have a relative or friend you could drive to? Give your daughter a food/snack budget and ask her to plan what you’ll be eating along the way. Ask her to pick out the music you’ll be listening to (it’s short-term, Dad, you can do it!) or an audio book to listen to. My daughter, Vienna, and I just complete a 5 day road trip to Colorado. We had a blast. She picked out a book on Winston Churchill to listen to because she knew I would love it . . . made me smile.
17) New Clothes/Shoes Shopping Date. Now, this one won’t work for every dad and only for your younger daughters. It’s a rare teenage young woman who wants dad involved in clothes shopping! Tell your daughter her budget and take her to a store to get something. If she’s older, you’ll need to drop her off and make yourself scarce. Recently, I took all my girls, including Lisa, to a store, gave them a budget and sat in a quiet place while they shopped (they liked it!). Afterwards, we stopped at Dairy Queen for Blizzards.
18) Music Concert Date. In just about every town/city large or small there are many outdoor summer concerts that are often free of charge. Scout in advance for something you feel would be appropriate and interesting for your girl and tell her to keep the dates open on the calendar.
19) A Broadway Musical Date. You’re not going to do this one every day but, do it once and she’ll remember it for a lifetime. I’ve yet to meet a young woman who doesn’t like Broadway musicals. Not going to New York? No problem. These days musicals tour all over the country and appear at just about every major city. Again, look ahead for the coming season and surprise her!
20) The City Tour Date. If you live in a rural area as do we, going to the city once in a while is a lot of fun, even a day trip – getting Coffee at Peet’s Coffee down town (we think Peet’s is hands down, absolutely the best coffee), going to the zoo (we haven’t done that in forever!), walking along the river front, etc.
So, there it is, a list of 20 Daddy-Daughter Dates to help you get started!
There are lots of possibilities to spend time with your daughter – some very inexpensive, some costing a little more. What you do isn’t so important as the fact that you are doing something . . . that you are regularly taking the time to invest in your relationship with her.
When you take the time to plan ahead and spend time with your daughter, you provide the answer to the question pressing on her mind:
Does Daddy think I’m special?
Yes, Love, you mean the world to me!
P.S. If you haven’t been dating your wife, better start there, first. And, never stop!
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).