christian fathers


13 MORE Fun Things to Do With Your Teenage Daughter
by Carl Caton

Maybe you just read the article by Rachel Paxton about finding fun and interesting activities.  This has certainly been a challenge I've faced as well.  I've always spent massive amounts of time with my daughter, literally from the day she was born.  But things are changing.  Her interests are changing.

One thing I've noticed is that teens are excited about getting older, about growing up.  They're wanting to do the things that adults do, but of course with some supervision.  So, I'm looking forward and thinking about what she is looking forward to.  For instance, in our state, a 13 year old can get a 'boating license'.  WOW!  What fun it is do be a 'card-carrying' boat driver!  So, I'm encouraging and helping her to get trained to drive a boat.  That's an example of 'big-person' fun that she is interested in.

Before I get into my list, I want to share an idea that has been, and will continue to be, a load of fun.  I do this with my daughter and my son.  I set aside a day in the spring and fall to spend time with one of them.  We have an official name for the day that my kids instantly recognize.  It is a day that I take off work and give my daughter my full and undivided attention.  The theme of the day is "improvise".  In other words, we have no plans and no scheduled activities.  When we leave the driveway at our home, we literally have to decide which way to turn.  And when we turn out of the driveway, the improvisation has begun.  We simply start driving.  Suddenly, we'll pass by something that looks interesting.  We do a quick turn around and stop to play.  Usually we end up at some park.  One time, we got bored, so we created a game where we had to make up a song and dance and perform it on top of a picnic table.  People were looking at us like we were crazy.  (I guess we were.)  Some of the songs were so stupid that we were laughing hysterically.  It was fun!  Later on, we ended up in some strange restaurant for lunch - some place we had never been.  During the day, we might pass by a store we had always wanted to see, but never seem to have the time in our daily hustle.  Basically, it's just a day of creative serendipity.

Before you assume that girls only want to do 'girl-stuff', consider this next idea.  My pastor shared that he and his daughter enjoyed looking at cars at the fancy automotive dealerships.  You know... the places that sell the expensive European sports cars like Ferrari... those places where most of us would never realistically buy a car!  They would look at all the new models, sit in the cockpit, and marvel at horsepower under the hood.

If teens want to do 'grown-up things', why not include them in some of your grown up activities.  Let's say you volunteer at a retirement home.  Take your daughter along and let her help you.  We recently attended a city-wide fundraiser for cancer awareness.  My daughter worked at the ticket booth, selling entry passes, handling money and greeting people.  Another job she handled was answering the phone at her uncle's business for a week this past summer.  She had a blast.   

Now, for my own list of 13 fun things to do with your daughter:

1.  Take her to ride go-carts at an amusement park.

2.  Go see a play or Christian concert together.

3.  Go to a theme park together.

4.  Create funny movies with your home video recorder.

5.  Go to a pet store - just to hold the animals.

6.  Eat out someplace unusual - some place you never have been.

7.  Browse around a teen clothing store, such as Limited Too.

8.  Go camping - especially in the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate.

9.  Go horseback riding.

10. Wrestle!

11. Volunteer together at a nursing home, church, Habitat for Humanity, etc.

12. Go on a mission trip together.

13. Teach her to drive!

And don't forget... tell her you love her and that you are so proud of her!

Before I move on, I would like to share a story another dad emailed to me about time spent with his daughter... you will be inspired:

"I thought I would add to your list of memories with your daughter ideas.

Ashley has always had a love for running. As a young girl in middle school I would take her to the track and spend hours teaching her how to hurdle.  Those times would be precious because of the quiet still moments I would stand in the middle of the field and watch her young athletic body leap over the hurdles with such grace. Most of the time we would be in the stadium all alone. After she would run a good workout, she would come prancing across the field with a smile as big as Texas on her face. In the distance as she walked toward me and the cool air was blowing I could almost feel the preciousness of the moment and tears would swell up within me. I could see my daughter growing up before my eyes. We spent many years on the track together, going to meets together and loving the bond that was forming, leaving memories that would never be forgotten.

She is now young woman, almost a graduate from college. We call each other several times a week. I know the importance of the time with her, because she brings it up regularly. I've discovered that what you do or where you
go isn't nearly as important as making sure that you do something. Precious moments only happen when a father realizes the value of those moments.  Making a priority to walk with her, listen to her, laugh with her, play with her, hug her, kiss her and tell her you love her. That's what girls need from their daddy. That's what I gave mine, and the rewards have been priceless.

May God bless your efforts,


What a great story!  Now let me close with one more idea.  As a parent, we often think about the past with fondness.  We love to talk about the times when our kids were little and how special it was to change their diaper.  (ha!)  And while I think it is important for your kids to know this, we need to remember that our kids are not thinking much about the past... they are excited about the future.  They are looking forward to growing up, getting some freedom, getting out on their own, starting a career, establishing a family, etc.  Join them in their excitement as they think about the future.  Talk about what it will be like and the things you will do together then!

Want to help me!  Send me your ideas!  <click for email>

Thanks for reading.  I hope your father daughter relationship is something that will prosper, grow, and become a wonderful blessing to you.





(c) 2003 Caton Family