Dear daughter,

I can't help but notice how much you've grown up. I still remember when you were having princess parties and taping signs on your door that said, "No boys allowed." It seems like those days have been gone for a while now. Now you're hanging out with boys, boys are calling you and you're calling your friends to talk about all the boys you like. You've even had that class in school that teaches you where babies come from. And even though it embarrasses you, you and I have also had several talks about sex. And despite it all, you haven't let any of that scare you off from boys yet! Good for you. You will find some of the most rewarding and some of the most treasured relationships you'll ever have through dating. And no matter how many frogs you kiss, I hope you never give up on finding a good guy to enjoy spending your time with.

As your dad, you know I worry - a lot. And one of the things I worry a lot about is what kinds of boys you're talking to and hanging out with. You are a very smart and insightful girl. I can't begin to tell you how impressed I am by you. But I worry beacause I've seen too many girls get involved with boys that have a very negative impact on them. Your mom has seen it, too. So I wanted to write this letter to let you know about certain boys to beware of, in hopes that your life will keep going upward as sharply and happily as I've seen these last 13 years.

There are some boys who think a girl is just eye candy

They don't necessarily care about you or what your personality is like; they just want to be able to say that they're dating you so they can brag to their friends about how cool they are. But you're much more than just eye candy. You're so cool because you are unembarrassedly you, no matter where you are or who you're with. If you ever find yourself dating a boy who is just trying to show you off, dump him. You are worth more than that.

There are some guys who think you're supposed to change for the good of a relationship

They'll tell you they love you and then they'll tell you that they wish you'd not be so paranoid about other girls they're talking to. Or they'll tell you they wish you'd stop hanging out with your friends so much. They're trying to change you into someone you aren't. Never fall for someone telling you that, "If you love me, you would ... " True love isn't manipulative. You should be able to comfortably be yourself in a healthy relationship.

There are boys who, despite having seen the videos in school, too, only want sex

Like I've said before, sex is a wonderful thing, but in appropriate circumstances. These boys don't necessarily care who they have sex with; and because of that, you'll find boys who are really pushy in order to get it — even if they know you don't feel comfortable. In the end, they only want one thing. Sex isn't something to be shared with just anyone. Save your heart for that person who is really special.

As your father, I hate nothing more than seeing your heartache. Hopefully these guidelines will save you a bit of that.

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