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Guy Asks If He's Wrong For Saying His Friend's Childhood 'Daddy-Daughter Dates' Sounded 'Creepy'

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Dad and daughter on one of their daddy-daughter dates

We all know that father-child relationships are vitally important, and nowadays more and more fathers are working to become more involved in their kids' lives. 

But one young man thought his friend's relationship with her dad might have crossed a bit of a boundary, and it sparked a debate about what is and isn't appropriate when it comes to raising girls.

The man feels his friend's childhood daddy-daughter dates were 'creepy.'

"Daddy-daughter dates" have been a parenting trend for a while now. The idea is that dads take their little girls for special outings as a way to bond together and, as they get older, to teach them social skills and instill self-esteem in the hopes that it will help guide them through their future dating lives and relationships with men down the road.

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Social media is full of adorable videos of how dads execute these daddy-daughter dates and the heartfelt moments that arise from them. But when a young man heard about this trend from a female friend, he couldn't help but feel that it was crossing a boundary.

The man's friend said daddy-daughter dates helped her develop social skills and get over social anxiety. 

The 19-year-old Redditor's conversation with his friend began, in fact, because he is having trouble navigating the dating world himself. "I’m not great with small talk and get nervous about messing something up," he wrote. So his friend asked him "if my parents ever took me on 'practice dates' kind of lightheartedly."

He'd never heard of the concept, so she explained that in her tween and early teen years, "her dad took her on a couple 'daddy daughter dates'... where they went to see a movie she wanted to see or to a restaurant she liked." 

While on the outing, her dad "would open doors, pull out her chair for her, etc., and, at her request, they would also practice first date small talk because she had social anxiety, and he made suggestions on fun questions to ask on a first date to get to know someone."

His friend reported that it helped her "set her expectations high for how she wanted to be treated on a date" and also helped her "feel less anxious about first dates." But he didn't see it that way at all.

"I said that was really creepy for a dad to do," he wrote, going on to say that he joked, "Did he show you how to kiss too?" This deeply offended his friend, who is now no longer speaking to him.

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While some agree that daddy-daughter dates are a bit strange, most feel they are a great way to teach kids social skills and self-esteem.

On Reddit, people seemed nearly unanimous that his guy was in the wrong. "Why do you find it creepy for a father to spend time with their daughter and to take them out to a movie or a restaurant?" one person asked. "It's an appropriate thing for a father to do, to take care of their daughter... and to help them overcome their social anxiety."

But on the internet, in general, this guy is far from the only person who feels like there's something very off about the practice of daddy-daughter dates.



The practice is used by many Christian parents, for example, as a means of instructing daughters on the supposedly proper gender roles, and often intertwines with so-called "purity culture" that is obsessed with policing girls' virginity and urges fathers to emulate the role of their daughters' future husbands.

It is hard to watch some of the myriad daddy-daughter dates on social media and not feel like some of them definitely cross some kind of line. 



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But, of course, performatively "dating" your child to instill them with an ideology about their own body and autonomy is one thing. Taking her out on an outing for some one-on-one bonding time to ensure the all-important father-child relationship is another.



And holding space for a child to practice social skills and learn how to navigate new kinds of relationships and social situations can be a game-changing thing for a kid moving into their teens or young adulthood. Practicing social skills in real-life environments is also frequently a helpful tool for neurodivergent people and those with autism, who often struggle with social situations. 

This guy can perhaps be forgiven for finding the idea "creepy" at first blush — he's definitely not alone there. But ultimately, daddy-daughter dates, like most things, comes down to intent, and it sounds like his friend's dad did her a valuable service that set her up well for the future. It's hard to find fault with that.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.