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Thoughts on this article- Dad treating daughter like princess taking her out on dates

zerostepdrama's picture

Thoughts on the article and the comments in the article.


sunshinex's picture

I saw this a while ago and encouraged my DH to do this later on when SD is older. I think it's really sweet. I get the whole "mini-wife" thing could be a worry, but as long as innappropriate mini-wife behaviour is shut down right away, I can see this being a really healthy, awesome thing to do. My dad used to give me and my sister roses/chocolate on valentines day, and as I got older, I realized boys should damn well give me roses and chocolate on valentines day haha it made my standards a bit higher, that's all Smile

I want DH to treat SD as if she were OUR daughter, because she shouldn't miss out on anything because of a blended family situation she didn't choose. And Id want him to do things like this article if we had a daughter together.

uofarkchick's picture

My dad used to take me out to the Officer's Club on base every now and then for a steak and a chat. I'd wear a nice dress and use my best manners.
I still grew up in to an insecure woman that let guys treat her like trash. I still married a man that beat the crap out of me.
So, that's nice and all but it takes a lot more than a meal to raise a strong woman.

GRITSinAL's picture

I think the word and act of a "date" should be reserved for a person's romantic interest or husband or wife. I think this is the "princessing" of girls nowadays. Should a dad spend time with a daughter, and even do things just the two of them? Yes. But to treat it like a date I think takes it too far.

I feel like a wife or SO no longer hardly has anything reserved for "just her."

zerostepdrama's picture

I feel like a wife or SO no longer hardly has anything reserved for "just her."

Totally agree with that!

TwoOfUs's picture

Yeah...this is how I feel, too.

My dad spent tons of time with me, and I absolutely felt loved and cherished...but he never felt the need to call it a 'date' or to get me all dressed up for it. Honestly, I probably would have thought that was weird, even at a young age. I agree this word should be reserved for romantic partners.

Also...I get that the goal is to teach girls how they should be treated by future boyfriends and husbands...but I think that it actually teaches girls that they're only valuable or worth spending time with when they are being something pretty / romantic / weak and needing to be treated. Why can't dads and daughters just do things that they like together? Like go ice skating or to a children's museum or park? Making these ultra-special daddy-daughter dates totally gives the wrong message, I think. Like...dads and sons should go be active and creative and interact normally, while dads and daughters have to make a big thing of it rather than just spending time together like parents and kids do...not like lovers do.

GRITSinAL's picture

Pretty much THIS article is how I feel.

I’m Against Daddy-Daughter “Dates”
January 17, 2014 by Tom Burns 27 Comments

Why I’m Against Daddy-Daughter “Dates”

Tom Burns loves spending time with his daughter, but wishes people wouldn’t romanticize their relationship

I attended my first-ever Daddy-Daughter Dance last year. I know some fathers love these kinds of events, but I was fairly apprehensive about going.

Why? Because aside from perhaps family weddings, when do you ever get dressed up, buy your date flowers, and go dancing without there being some kind of romantic agenda on the table? I almost have panic attacks whenever I think back to all of those poor, unfortunate girls who danced with me at high school proms, tolerating my sweaty awkwardness as we lumbered through the long version of “The Lady in Red.”

I have a lifetime of iconography, emotions, and baggage that my mind associates with formal dances, so the idea of attending one with my DAUGHTER…yeah, it made me uncomfortable.

Fortunately, the night ended up being much less strange and much more benign than I thought it would be. As we walked onto the decorated rec center basketball court, the DJs were playing John Mayer’s “Daughters.” (Of course, they were.) The rest of the night was spent listening to Taylor Swift and “Gangnam Style”. There was face-painting and cookies and, after the scheduled balloon drop accidentally dropped half an hour early, my daughter and her friend asked if we could leave, so they could play at home. There were a few uber-intense dads who seemed a little too emotional during some of the slow dances, but, largely, the night was, if not innocent, fairly innocuous.

Let me be clear—I would NEVER criticize a father for taking their child to a Daddy-Daughter Dance. (Especially now that I’m a member of the club.) I really appreciate fathers who actively look for special events to share with their daughters. But I do have an issue with how society portrays father-daughter interactions, a portrayal that is, in part, reinforced by events like Daddy-Daughter Dances.

Because dads and daughters, apparently, can’t just spend time together. They can’t hang out. They can’t go on field trips. Rather, if a father and daughter are out together in public, everyone says they’re on a DADDY-DAUGHTER DATE.

That’s the word they use—DATE.

For the record, I do not want to go on a date with my daughter. Why I’m Against Daddy-Daughter “Dates”

Do I want to spend time with her? Of course I do. She’s a fantastic lunch companion, I’ve never seen anyone enjoy a trip to a museum more than she does, and there are few things in the world I enjoy more than having a long, rambling conversation with her while we lazily walk around the zoo with her on my shoulders.

But, if I’m being honest, the term “Daddy-Daughter Date” just creeps me out to my core.

Why? Because I went on dates, a lot of dates, before I met her mother, and many of those dates were flirty, awkward, tense, embarrassing, and, occasionally, sexual. And I don’t like associating ANY of those words with my relationship with my daughter.

I’m not saying that the word “date” is an inherently sexual word. It isn’t. The term “play-date” is one of the most common parenting terms around. However, beyond play-dates, in the context of parenting, “date” has become a very gendered word. The easiest way to tell this is to just look at how the word “date” is used.

If I said, “I’m going out on a daddy-daughter date tonight,” people would say “aww”, I’d get appreciative winks, and some old woman would come out of nowhere, take my hand, and whisper, “She’s a lucky girl.” (I swear this has happened to me before.)

If a Mom said, “I’m going out on a mommy-son (or even mother-son) date tonight,” people would look around nervously, eye contact would be avoided, and that same old woman would take her hand, much more tightly, and whisper, “You’re going to ruin him.”

“Daddy-daughter date” brings to mind Atticus Finch and Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. “Mother-son date” brings to mind Lucille Bluth and Buster from Arrested Development.

The Mom could say “We’re going to spend some mom-son time” or “We’re taking a mom-son trip”—either of those options probably wouldn’t cause anyone to raise an eyebrow. But add in that word “date” and it starts getting uncomfortable. And it only gets more uncomfortable when you start associating it with father-son relationships.

A dad would NEVER say “I’m going out on a father-son date tonight to Home Depot.” Or even worse—a “daddy-son date.” I know that doesn’t have the same playful alliteration as “daddy-daughter,” but it’s telling that most dads would never use the casual term “daddy” when describing their relationship with their son, unless the son in question was less than a year old. Daddies don’t play with their big-boy sons. It’s just fathers. Fathers and sons.

And fathers and sons don’t go on dates. They own plumbing supply stores. Maybe they’ll enter a pinewood derby together, but that’s it.

Meanwhile, I can’t take my daughter out to lunch on my own without someone asking me if we’re on a “date”.

I realize there’s an element of semantics to all this. (Complaining about a word makes me feel like I’m doing a hacky Seinfeld impression—“Why do we park on the driveway and drive on the parkway?”) But I think the almost-exclusive use of the word “date” to describe daddy-daughter interactions just promotes this sick romanticization of our relationship that’s detrimental to both us.

I have a beautiful paternal relationship with my daughter. I’m her dad and I love and protect her. I also have a ridiculous amount of fun when I’m in her company. But, when I hang out with everyone else in my life whom I love and enjoy, I never call it a “date”.
I know my daughter loves me, but I don’t want her to love me. Yes, it’s very common for sons and daughters to, at one point, express their desire to marry their parents, but that’s a fairly innocent phenomenon. They see the bond between their parents, they know they always want to be with their parents, they don’t totally understand what a married relationship is—I can understand why they’d ask to marry their moms or dads.

But, as the kids get older, there is this odd societal tendency to pair up the sons with the mothers and the dads with the daughters. The mothers are held up to be the “domestic ideal” for their sons, experts at cooking and kissing boo-boos. The dads, on the other hand, are just held up as “ideal men,” which is a terrible role for a dad to fall into. Because who can live up to that? And who would want their daughters to end up with a partner that’s “just like them”?

That creeps me out more than anything else. If, when my daughter eventually finds someone to love, that person acts exactly like I do, I will know I’ve done something wrong. Because I’m not trying to condition my daughter with my love. I don’t want to teach her that people who like bad jokes, comic books, and Doctor Who are the best kind of people in the world—maybe the kind of person she might just end up with one day. I want her to have her own preferences and make her own choices, without having me unconsciously influence her notion of an “ideal” partner.

I want her to find someone who gets her excited for her own reasons. Maybe she’ll be into tattoo enthusiasts or chemical engineers or strong, silent types. (I am the opposite of all of those things.) I want that decision to be up to her and her alone, and this notion that she and I go out on “dates”, I think it gets in the way of that. It muddies the waters. It misrepresents our relationship.

I have a beautiful paternal relationship with my daughter. I’m her dad and I love and protect her. I also have a ridiculous amount of fun when I’m in her company. But, when I hang out with everyone else in my life whom I love and enjoy, I never call it a “date”. That word is reserved for my trips out with my wife, the woman who I capital-L “Love.” So, why would I use that term for hanging out with my daughter?

When I’m spending time with my daughter, it can be an event, an outing, an experience, an excellent adventure—whatever. But, alliteration be damned, daddies and daughters simply should not date.

I spend time with my daughter and I enjoy her company. Our relationship is strong enough that I don’t need to make it any more cutesy or romantic and, c’mon, why would I want to? I’m her dad. And that’s enough.

GRITSinAL's picture

I must be having a longer and tiresome day than I thought. I even reread the article and didn't find him mentioning field trips.

ChiefGrownup's picture

I don't think he was saying he can't take her on field trips. I think he was saying that semantically it makes more sense to call it that. He is questioning why people have to romanticize and cutesyfy his outings with his daughter.

He clearly does take her to the zoo and so forth. He just doesn't want strange old ladies giving him the googly eye about the "date" he's on. He wouldn't mind an old lady saying, "what a fun field trip!" to him.

ChiefGrownup's picture

I did not take it that way at all. To me he's just discussing it the way we are discussing it here. He's probably subject to more and more pressure of the growing trend because he is, in fact, a father of a small daughter. So it's probably quite top of mind for him.

I'll bet you anything he does take his girl to the hardware store if he himself is going. I know my best friend's dad took his 2 daughters there when we were kids. My DH takes SD. I think he is just employing a style of rhetoric to limn that no one expects Moms to take little boys to "proms" and slow dance with them all night and no one gets all teary-eyed over dads doing one on one things with their sons.

If he wanted to be attention seeking, imho, he'd get dressed up in a tux and put a tiara on his little girl and take tons of photos and get his wife to broadcast all over creation what a super awesome once in a lifetime Prince of All Princes he is with the most cutest adorable princess to look after. Just my take.

hereiam's picture

Nothing wrong with it, it's just one part of the big picture.

Like monkeyskids said, it's better than dad ignoring his daughter. Then the daughter grows up and craves attention from a man, any man, no matter how bad he treats her.

A father can show his daughter that she is worth being treated with respect, without turning her into an entitled, spoiled, princess.

zerostepdrama's picture

Why do dad's always want to treat their daughters like princesses and take care of them and spoil them?

Yet very few men want to end up with a woman who is a princess, spoiled and expects to be taken care of.

GRITSinAL's picture

I feel like the PRINCESSING is a new thing that has happened with my generation and those a bit older. I am almost 40. I feel like before that our dads did try to make us feel special, but it was done with higher expectations or something. It was different.

I think this princessing is resulting in mean girls who feel entitled, are not independent, and are all about what a man can do for her or give her rather than working to do it for herself.

It is sometimes nowadays like making them feel they should be adored by others simply because they exist. Well, No! As an adult, those who are kind, generous, helpful etc are the ones I feel are to be looked at in that way.

Tuff Noogies's picture

amen, zero! i was a total daddy's girl. if he and i were out and about together, i'd hold his hand. i was his riding partner when he wanted a little company on a bike ride, maybe even stopping to get something to eat.

i didnt have "dates" with my father, we spent time together. and no way in h3ll did he ever act like i was or should be the center of the universe.

moeilijk's picture

I think princesses are the most boring of the things kids pretend/want to be. Like Carrie Fisher said, "Youth and beauty are not accomplishments." Same goes for being a princess. But then again, I live in a country where the Royal Princesses go to public school, or at least they do for high school. I think before that they were in a private school, but private here is not so special.

Anyway, I don't think this guy having fun with his kid getting dressed up and going out for dessert is so great, nor is it so bad. It's the words that suck. Princess. Date. Gag.

GRITSinAL's picture

Plus did anyone else get the idea from the original article that the dad does it for the facebook and instagram praise and likes? I feel that way about a lot of things on social media which get the "shares." like dad's proposing to both children AND a fiance etc etc.

MrsZipper's picture

When I do some special activity with my mom we call it a mother daughter date. Same when I have one on one time with my DDs. DH had daddy daughter dates with the SDs and our DDs. I don't find this weird at all.

Wifeypoo's picture

Yuck, these kinds of things turn me off. Probably some residual effect from my childhood. My dad was a horrible father and no example of how a man treats a women. He told me once "you turn them upside down and they're all the same." (Talking about women)

Ironically though I have a strict standard of how I have allowed myself to be treated by men in spite of his horrible example.

Acratopotes's picture

I puked when I read that yesterday and thank you for making me puke again today....

I am glad I do not live near this man, if his wife ever should leave him I pity the next lady in his life

TwoOfUs's picture


That's actually one of the roles of the marriage relationship in a child's model what it should look like. More people should remember that rather than making kids the center of their individual worlds.

Instead, they're modeling spoiling and princess-izing of your kids...leading to another generation of dysfunctional marriages...

Merry's picture

I spent time with my Dad. He taught me how to drive (then how to make a gin and tonic), took me with him when he ran errands, played with me as a kid, took me to lunch and dinner now and then. My high school held "father-daughter" dances, and he went to those and they were great. But a date? Nah. That's creepy. Maybe it's just language. I spent plenty of time with my Mom too. Both of them taught me about manners, how to act in public, the importance of an education, etc., and both of them were role models. Imperfect ones, but the best they knew how. How come Moms don't receive applause for spending time with their kids?

When my ex and I divorced, he became an instant hero to almost everybody for taking his visitation, taking our daughter on trips to see his family, taking her to a movie, keeping her fed on his time. He was a freakin' hero for being a decent parent. Drives me nuts.