Teach your kids how to ‘date’

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After reading the metro article, ‘Daddy daughter dates are everything that is wrong with the world’ written yesterday, I went to write a comment on the thread and realised that what I wanted to say was a little long for a Facebook comment so I thought I’d do this instead. The article is about a Facebook post by Caitlin Fladager, who posted:

“My husband decided once a month he will take our little girl out on a “date” where she gets all dressed up and gets taken out for cake and ice cream. Tonight was there first night doing it. He helped her pick out a dress for her to wear, got a little purse ready for her, held the door open for her, and made her feel like a princess. She loved it and was so happy when she got home. She will always know how she deserves to be treated because her dad sets such a high example.”

According to the author of the newspaper article, not only is this creepy but its also apparently the ONLY TIME this man spends with his daughter. Or at least that’s the impression given in the article. So lets make some assumptions of our own.

This man is a good parent and a good dad.

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How can I say this? Well in the same way that the article in the Metro has laser focused on this one event in this families calendar and apparently assumed nothing else exists, I’m going to reverse my focus and assume the following…

This dad is a good dad!

But what makes me say this? Well, if he has stepped up in his parenting to do this monthly date, then surely he is involved in other parenting duties. It would be strange for this to be his only piece of ‘parenting’ for the month!

As an example and I’m using myself for this. I take my daughter on adventures (which could be dubbed as ‘dates’) at least once a month too.

Now I can only assume that the Metros author would write a wonderful opinion piece about how I’m a rubbish dad for not only acknowledging the existence of my offspring once every full moon, but then also for dragging her off into the wilds of Borneo to live like a wolf, only to expect my poor wife to re-civilise the child on my triumphant return.

What’s not written in that sentence is this. I’m a stay at home dad, we do lots of things together and I take care of my daughter every day. How the author can make such assumptions about this dad is beyond me. And wrong.

I spend time on my knees mopping up all manner of things and am fully immersed in raising my daughter.

Now lets address this ‘creepy’ aspect

Firstly the author says we shouldn’t use “the language of an adult sexual relationship” referring to the word date.


So all dates lead to… you know!

Well that’s not what I want to teach my child for a start! Not all dates end in sexual relationships.

No, dating is something you do BEFORE and I want to teach my daughter that when dating, there are ways she should expect to be treated. Which is exactly what this father is doing. I’m sure that this will be far more beneficial in that little girls future than if her first experience of ‘dating’ is some pubescent lad who hasn’t been taught how to date either.

I’d even go as far as saying that it’s us parents’ responsibility to teach our children how they should date, how they should be treated and how they should respect themselves and others.

If the parents don’t teach them then who will?

The Internet?

Yeah that’ll work out just fine…

So I think all parents should do what Caitlin’s husband does; teaching his daughter about respectful relationships.
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How can that possibly be creepy?

What do you think?

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  1. James

    My only wish is that this response, nay, even a balanced argument get printed in exactly the same space as the original article. How did that poor piece of objective and single sided journalism make it across the editor in chief’s desk and approved to print? Sadly I feel that your perfect reply will only get as far a this website, and not to the ‘Lifestyle’ section of the METRO.

    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks buddy – I have sent it to Metro – let’s see if they get back… I’m not holding my breathe though

  2. Mike

    Here here. I was so unbelievably angery at the article I submitted a complaint to the paper.

    I fully agree about the “adult language”. In my complaint I pointed out just 2 types that are not sexual. Coffee date (with friends) play date (kids playing parents chatting (hopefully not sexual)

    Well done for voicing what so many fathers have been thinking.

  3. Martin lee

    I am reminded of the past post about men kissing their children on the lips, only someone with insecurities would have an issue with this!

    • Iain Dick

      Totally agree Martin. I remember that post too. Was wildly ignorant and unfounded. It’s about creating a safe learning lifestyle that’ll prepare kids for life as an adult in the most gentle way.

  4. David Elliott

    Whoever think parent dates with their kids is creepy is nuts. And I firmly agree with you that when you are a dad with a daughter, this is the first male relationship in her life. Her dad should be teaching her about how she should be respected and appreciated. And it definitely shouldn’t just be about the sex. When my daughter does date I want her to know that she should be treated with respect and that she should find someone who is honestly as interested in her as a person as her father is.

  5. Steven ortega

    I think it’s kinda cute

  6. Tom MH

    Great piece. Metro is a poor excuse for a rag. Really just celeb gossip & …’and finally’ (a dog on a skateboard/ rapping parrot etc) stories. Keep on trucking.

  7. JonathanCR

    I’m afraid I do think this kind of thing is creepy. The original post says explicitly that the girl’s father is setting an “example” of “how she deserves to be treated” – i.e. like a “princess”, with doors being held open for her and everything. So she’s being taught that she’s a pretty object who should have things done for her by a man.

    The relationship between a father and daughter can’t be the model for future relationships with the opposite sex because it’s inherently unequal. We don’t expect the relationship between a father and son to be the model for all future same-sex friendships because it’s not that kind of relationship. If you make the father’s behaviour to his daughter the model for how she should always be treated throughout life then you’re setting her up for inherently unequal relationships, where the man had all the power and uses it to treat the woman like a precious, passive object.

    Note for example that there’s absolutely nothing here about teaching the daughter how she should treat other people. It’s solely about how she should be treated. What kind of lesson is that?

  8. Mark Thomas

    I do this with Evelyn all the time. Except without the whole dressing up thing, I saw one the other day and she was proper dressed up, lipstick, hair done and everything. I think that’s a bit creepy.

    But I’ll take Evelyn for ice cream or we go for something to eat. She chats about school (nursery) and it’s just beautiful.

  9. Aidan O’Kane

    I think it’s more about social interaction between sexes than any other thing. I don’t believe anyone on here thinks it’s an actual date with her dad but more of a role play.
    A bit of fun but with a little added ‘life learning.’ It’s about how your daughter should expect to be treated but also how she should act in a certain social scenario and about how she should treat others!
    More than anything thought it’s just a parent having fun with their child!

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