You’ve probably read the “joke” rules from someone on dating his daughter. (One version is here.)
These rules are not funny. They border on brutality and reek of chauvenism. They suggest that every young man can’t keep his pants zipped and is only out for predatory dating. And they assume that because we have a daughter, that she is not capable of taking care of herself. That she needs a “prince” to rescue her from a “dragon.” Or that she needs our “help” in assessing who is a good person to date.
We hope that, by our example, conversations and the company we keep that we don’t need to screen their dates. Even in the internet age, we find that trust and openness are more likely to come as we teach and then back off and let them try their hand at life, relationships and the rest. In the interests of raising daughters who have common sense, and can face down and kill their own dragons, thankyouverymuch, here’s my rules. (By the way – It’s not difficult to impress her, or us. Just be a grown up!)
1) She has her own interests and her own pursuits. Find out about them, support them and genuinely cheer her on as she develops her skill and expertise. She will reciprocate.
2) Treat her as a piece of property and you will be evicted off hers. By her. (Corollary: She is not your property. Don’t treat her like it.)
3) She has a brain and knows how to use it. Same with some basic Chin-na moves.
4) She has feelings and doesn’t want them abused. She knows that the same applies to you.
5) When she says, “NO,” she means, “NO.” And don’t assume silence is a “YES.”
6) Remember to demonstrate the manners your parents tried to teach you. I promise she will try to use hers.
7) Act primeval and you will not impress. Any of us.
8) She has friends, a sib and parents who always, ALWAYS have her back.
9) Post online a snarky remark about her or text her a rude comment — you will find out that while she is forgiving, she is not stupid. And that it was nice knowing you.
10) We will welcome you as a guest and a friend in our home and our lives. We’ll celebrate your achievements, support your dreams and treat you well, because people who make our daughters happy, make us happy.