I Will Never “Date” My Kids


I’m not sure when it got trendy or acceptable to advise people to “date” their kids, but I sure wish it would stop.

Look, I get (and appreciate) the sentiment behind it. Essentially it’s a way of saying spend more one-on-one time with your children. Go out just the two of you, make him feel special, do something he likes, and really talk about things without interruption. All of those things are good, and all of those things are necessary. I try to do that with Will as much as possible with our fishing trips and clandestine ice cream parlor visits, and Sam — well, frankly Sam is happy no matter what. But when he gets a little older, I’ll give him the same one-on-one time as Will.

Let’s put aside the creepy factor that goes into associating the term dating (and all that comes with it) with your children for a second, and focus on the other reasons this isn’t a good idea. Namely, I hated dating. Really, it was horrible. More than that, I was terrible at it. And if I had to suddenly date again, I’d still be horrendous.

If I followed the Internet’s advice to “date” my kids, it’d be a pretty ugly picture. I’d pick Will up and accidentally bring flowers to which he’s allergic. Then I’d nervously stammer and stutter my way through dinner, while wondering if it’s expected that I pay, or tell Will to fork over his allowance in an attempt to be egalitarian and progressive to pick up his share of the tab. Although to be fair, either scenario likely ends with me just getting a hug and kiss on the cheek before calling it a night.

Even the “relationship experts” who tell me to date my wife are way off base. Dating was such a horror show, I never want to go back to that. True story, on my first date with MJ I unknowingly referred to the penis size of one of her relatives (LONG story). I’m not even kidding. That’s how bad I am at dating. And saying the right thing. And having any game whatsoever. The point is, I don’t want to date. I want to be married and spend time with my wife. I don’t need to pretend to date because the reality of marriage is so much better.

The same goes for my kids.

I’m horrible at dating and I hated it, but I’m good at being a dad and I love spending time with them. And that’s all this is. It’s not dating, it’s spending quality time with our kids. It’s being an involved parent. So let’s just call it that without invoking dating and all that comes with it.

And when it comes time for my boys to actually start dating, let’s hope they fare better than their father.

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7 thoughts on “I Will Never “Date” My Kids

  1. Larry, not everyone thinks of it as creepy. I get that. But if you jump over to the Daddy Files FB page, you’ll see people talking about the importance of dating their kids to train them to be good spouses. Furthermore, you have people saying moms should date sons, but dads shouldn’t date sons. It may seem benign but I do think it can be creepy and I just loathe the term in relation to our kids. We agree to disagree.
    Daddy Files recently posted..I Will Never “Date” My KidsMy Profile

  2. Amen! Finally someone put words to how icky the idea of dating one’s child is. It makes my stomach knot up and I start to feel weird. And I mean weird. Like how I felt in the shower when my daughter suddenly realized I had boobs and I suddenly realized it was time to stop showering with my daughter.

  3. And dating was horrendous. I hated it. One date was so awkward and uncomfortable for both parties that I jumped out of his vehicle before he even stopped rolling. Tuck and Roll!

  4. Interesting take. I’d have to say I agree that it’s sometimes awkward to call it dating when I’m going out with my kids. Although, it has nothing to do with my past dating experience. I loved dating and sometimes miss dating. I actually love dating my daughter since I feel like what I do on that date is a model for what she should look for in a man as she starts dating. With my sons however, it does feel a little bit awkward to call it a date. However, I haven’t found a better term and so I just run with it.

    As for my wife, I never call it dating my wife. I do go on dates with my wife, but I’m not dating her anymore.
    John Lynn recently posted..Awesome Old School Video Games – Oregon Trail and Sim CityMy Profile

  5. This is hilarious. I was such an awkward mess during the early years dating my husband and can still be equally awkward, so this completely resonated with me.

    I don’t have kids yet but some of my fondest memories growing up were the days I got to spend with each parent alone. I don’t think we called them “dates” but I loved having one-on-one time with each parent and it made me feel grown up to choose the activities. With my dad, it was usually a long bike ride and a picnic. With my mom, it was often very “girly” (I have two little brothers and was never a very stereotypical “girly-girl” for lack of a better term, but I loved the chance to have Girls Days with my mom), getting our nails done (which made me feel SO grown up), seeing a movie my brothers would refuse to see, getting lunch at a cafe (for some reason that was something I thought grown-up women did, ha!).

    Point is, I agree with your sentiments. You can do this exact thing without calling it a “date”.

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