Little Girls Deserve More From Dads Than Fast Food

fast foodHow's this for a pickle? You're a mom who wants your daughter to hang out with her dad. He's her DAAAAAD after all. But the local fast food joint is advertising "daddy/daughter date nights," and it's kind of turning your stomach.

OK, so that mom is me. And call me a snob, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that some Chick-fil-A restaurants are trying to sell chicken sandwiches by peddling a "daddy/daughter bonding" time. It may be a harmless marketing ploy, but don't our daughters deserve something more than fast food?


Here's the thing. Study after study tells us that involved dads make an immense difference in the lives of little girls. A girl with a dad around is less likely to engage in "risky" behaviors as a teen. She's more likely to be loaded up with self esteem. Daddy/daughter "date" nights or "hang out" nights or whatever you want to call those special times are loaded with good juju.

But are they all created equal? Is it "all" quality time? Come on now, think about it. When I'm driving somewhere, my eyes on the road, the iPod blaring the Phineas and Ferb soundtrack through the speakers, my kid fastened securely in her booster seat in the backseat, I'm with her. But I don't call that quality time, do I? Nor do I call it "quality" when I sneak into a drive-through for chicken nuggets because we're on the run, and there's no time for real food. It's not something we call habitual.

So why should a dad hauling his daughter out for a crappy meal count for a big ol' pat on the back? Doesn't a daughter deserve something ... better? Something that takes some more thought and won't settle in her arteries?

Maybe I'm just lucky in my corner of the world, where my husband spends actual time with our daughter because he enjoys it. Last week when I was out of town on a business trip (attending the premiere of Cars 2!), they did the sort of stuff that's good for body and soul. A trip to play mini golf. Soccer on the Kinect in our house. Watching movies, together, in one chair, cuddling. Their bonding is about her interests, not about convenience. That's how you encourage good self-esteem, right? By showing an interest in your kid? As for guiding them away from risky behaviors, you'd think you'd start with something, I don't know ... healthy.

Does your guy do "date night" with your daughter? Is it something special or just a trip to a fast food joint?


Image via hectorir/Flickr

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