What Does The Word “Date” Mean To You? What Does It Mean To Your Child?


Parenthood / Monday, June 18th, 2018

Recently, I read a post from another mom blog in which the author described how she would never use the term “daddy-daughter date” with her child. Why? She said that when she was younger, her parents used this term to describe the time she spent out with her father.

When she reached a “dateable age,” she was thoroughly confused by the use of the word “date.” When a boy asked her out on a date, she thought of the times she spent with her father as a kid, when there was no romantic connotation to the word at all. In her mind, a date wasn’t a romantic thing, and it wasn’t something you did with boys you were interested in.

On one hand, I believed this was absurd. I never thought that way as a child, so the idea of someone feeling confused about what a date was based on whom that person was with seemed ridiculous.

On the other hand, I tried to see these scenes playing out from that mom’s perspective, and I could see why it might be confusing. I could imagine the development of thought surrounding daddy-daughter dates, and how someone would begin to view this concept a certain way. Then, I could see the word being tossed about among a teenage crowd, with an entirely different meaning. I could imagine how confusion would develop.

When my husband came home from work that day, I discussed it with him. I watched his expression shift from that of someone who felt absurdity, to that of someone who felt understanding. He had the same conflicting responses I did, each on opposing ends of the spectrum. This led us to ask ourselves some questions:

As parents, should we try to view the world from our children’s point of view, so as to better help them understand?  We believe that answer is yes.

Could our girls potentially understand the difference between father-daughter dates and dates with those they become interested in romantically as they get older?  We believe so, yes.

Could our girls potentially be confused about the contrasting uses of the word “date” to describe time spent with Spencer versus someone they are interested in romantically?  We believe so, yes.

Is there any harm in choosing to use a different term to describe their time spent with Spencer, in order to avoid potential confusion?  No, we don’t believe so.

As parents, I think it’s easy for us to believe that our children will process information in a way that mirrors our own understanding, but here’s the issue with that, at least in our case—my husband and I process information in completely different ways.

Here’s an example:

When our girls were a few months old, we decided to use a new kind of nipple on their bottles, one with a faster flow. The slow-flow nipples we had were a different brand than the ones we wanted to try, so we weren’t sure if they would fit on the same bottles. When we tried them, they worked, and our responses couldn’t have been more dissimilar.

I thought, “Hey, that’s great! They work.”

Spencer said, “Okay cool, so now we know that they both use a universal thread.”

What?! You see, my husband is a machinist, and his response was very machinist-like. I, on the other hand, would never think of that in a million years. Situations like that one play out in our house all the time because my husband and I are very different people. It’s great, because we each have a deep appreciation for the way the other processes information.

So, how do we know how our girls will think? We don’t.

Our girls are less than two years old, so obviously (I hope) we are a long way off from romantic dates. And while we may not make a decision about our word choice now, you can bet we’ll be thinking about it when the time comes. For the time being, we think we’ll use the term “daddy-daughter hangout,” instead. After all, there’s no harm in being intentional with our words!

The beauty of mom blogs, and just blogs in general, is that they offer a chance to view life from someone else’s perspective. The problem is that as readers, we often judge people based on the first thing we read, and if we disagree with what is said, that judgment is usually negative. I’m guilty of this as well, which is evident by my immediate response to the post I refer to above.

I’m so glad I read something I didn’t fully understand or necessarily agree with, because it was a humbling reminder to appreciate the unique viewpoints of others. I will do a better job of reading bloggers’ content with an unbiased view, and I hope that you will, as well!

Hello! I am a work-at-home mom to twin girls and a canine. I’m learning what life looks like when you surrender to God. Passionate about parenthood, marriage, and all things coffee!

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