James Van Der Beek hopes that by "dating" his daughters, they'll be able to "make that call for themselves" in finding the right future romantic partner

By Jen Juneau
May 07, 2019 12:00 PM

James Van Der Beek‘s oldest daughter Olivia is only 8½, but the day will come when she starts dating — and her dad is getting ready for it now.

The Pose actor and father of five, 42, offered his advice to fellow dads on Instagram over the weekend, sharing a snapshot of himself and Olivia and explaining his “working theory” for helping her and her siblings make the right choices when it comes to choosing a romantic partner in the future.

“Dads, date your daughters,” he wrote. “Drive responsibly, put down your phone, invest in everything they have to say and treat them like they’re the most valuable human in the room, if not the world.”

“And then (theoretically), once they start dating for real, they’ll have a bar … and anyone who doesn’t meet that bar, you won’t have to tell them — they’ll make that call for themselves. #DateNight #SetTheBarHigh,” Van Der Beek continued, concluding, “(I’ll let you know in about ten or fifteen years if this actually works 👍🤞).”

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James Van Der Beek/Instagram

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Van Der Beek and wife Kimberly are parents to one son (Joshua, 7) and four daughters: Olivia plus her little sisters Gwendolyn, 1 next month, Emilia, 3, and Annabel Leah, 5.

The Dawson’s Creek alum and his wife, 37, are famously open about the ups and downs of parenting five kids, and opened up on Monday alongside a snapshot of himself and Emilia about how thankful he is for their support.

“Kids have your back,” he mused. “Don’t get me wrong — they challenge and exhaust you in ways that seem tailor-made to press your most carefully concealed buttons with surgical precision … but they’re also rooting for you. And supporting you in ways I’m convinced we’ll never be able to quantify.”

“For all the care, love, protection and hard work you put into their well-being, it’s like they’re secretly working on you in some mystical fashion, injecting emotional and spiritual energy where you need it most,” Van Der Beek continued. “Maybe it’s all in their own self-interest, since they’re helplessly dependent on you for a number of years … but I’ll take it. In fact, I think we need it.”

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The deep moments of parenthood are flanked by hilariously memorable ones for the couple, too. In March, Van Der Beek shared a throwback photograph of himself and one of his children cuddling, both sound asleep as the baby rested on his chest. The only problem? He had no idea which child it was!

Kimberly was in the same boat, commenting on the sweet photo, “Who is that?!! I’d say Gwen but judging by your hair it’s Emilia … or Olivia … ?”

After her husband replied, “I’m guessing Olivia … but could be Joshua,” the mother of five quipped in a confident follow-up comment, “Actually … I think Olivia.”

The date stamp may have given the parents a clue, though. As Van Der Beek explained in a reply to his wife’s latter remark, “Just checked the date on the photo. If it’s correct (and not the date it was imported or screen-grabbed) … this is Annabel,” adding wide-eyed, red heart and crying-laughing emojis.

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