To the Young Men Who May Want to Date Our Daughters:

First, let me assure you we are not one of those families who wants to intimidate potential suitors. We won’t have any shotguns laying around or threatening signs or Chuck Norris-inspired weaponry sitting conspicuously on our counters.

We won’t ask you to complete an application or sign a contract.

We’ve raised our three daughters to be strong and determined, steadfast and humble. We believe they have the self-confidence to know their worth, and the wisdom to see through material advances such as fancy cars or lavish parties.

So, if you make it to our doorstep, we know you’ve already passed the most significant hurdle—gaining the favor of our girls.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have strong feelings about dating and how we think our girls should be treated.

So, here’s a few tips to make the process go a bit smoother.
+ We Need to Know You. I mean, really know you. That means you will have to share some meals at our dinner table and hold some conversations in our living room—and no honking from the driveway. We also want you to get to know us, so you understand how much our daughters mean to their father and I, and can appropriately appreciate the values of our family.

+ Honesty Is the Only Policy. When it comes to our family rules, we believe it’s our daughters who have the responsibility of adhering to them. The buck stops with our kids, and trust us when we say we are aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. We know they will make mistakes too; however, if we find you lying to our faces, know the repercussions fall on you—and we will act accordingly.

+ Respect privacy. When you fall in love, sometimes you want to shout it to the world; but, relationships are hard, and not everyone will be looking out for your best interest. We expect you to respect our daughters’ privacy, as we expect her to respect yours. Boyfriends and girlfriends may come and go, but social media posts can live forever. This means sexting and videos are off the table. Dating should be IRL, and while exchanging photos online can be thrilling, at your age, it can also be demeaning, abusive and unlawful.

+ Look at our girls’ strength as a beautiful quality. Their father and I have worked hard to empower our daughters. We’ve raised them to be fierce and determined, but also kind and well-intentioned. We expect young men who want to date our daughters to find these qualities attractive, not threatening. Leaders don’t look for the weak to lead; they look for the strong to complement their strengths. If you are intimidated by this type of woman, please keep walking.

+ Kindness counts in our house. We believe the bravest thing you can do is share your heart with another person. Please handle our daughters’ hearts with care, as we expect them to do of yours. Bur more importantly, know that we will see how you treat your own parents, siblings, the pizza delivery guy, our neighbor’s small children and the family pet. We believe the kindness you show to others speaks volumes about the kindness you’ll show to our daughter.

+ Consent is non-negotiable. We know that our girls may pursue activities that we feel they aren’t ready for, could be illegal, or dangerous, and they need to be accountable for their personal choices. But consent can be an abstract term, so let us make it clear. It’s okay to ask, but not okay to pressure. They can change their mind—at any time. And we’ve taught our girls that if someone won’t listen to their no, they have the right to get mad, and protect themselves accordingly. 

+ We are here for you, too. We have tried to raise our daughters in a loving, open home, but we understand that not every child has that kind of support. Please know that if our daughters care about you, we’ll care about you, too. It’s that simple.

So, young man, enjoy this time with our amazing daughter. Have fun. Get to know each other—your likes and dislikes, hobbies, and dreams. Find out if you are compatible. Dating can be such a great experience, particularly when you enter into the relationship with respect.

And don’t ever worry about us having a fully-loaded shot gun, because we’ve raised three girls with fully-loaded hearts.

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Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.