Being a parent is hard, it can be even harder is you are totally clueless about major aspects of your child's life.
Reddit user @dogidoga asked:
For tons of people out there, the Daddy/Daughter dynamic comes with a few speed bumps. The question was initially posed to the women of Reddit, but a surprising number of men chimed in as well - turning the whole thread into more of a conversation than an endless list. The responses actually turned out pretty enlightening. And, it shows that you can raise a child without the blue or pink stereotypes.
Treat Them Right
The way you treat your wife/girlfriend can teach how I'm supposed to expect men to treat me.
This is why I have changed tactics with my youngest daughter. Instead of being the father that cleaned his gun, or sharpened his knife when the boyfriend came over, I decided that the best way to help my daughter make smarter decisions about boys is to treat her mother with love and respect.
Sure, my wife annoys me at times, but I don't lash out at her, I don't insult her, I have never raised a hand towards her in anger. I raise my voice, but that's more because I am going deaf and don't realize that I am raising my voice, I have never raised it in anger.
We need to teach our daughters how men should be treating women. Not making threats against guys that want to date them. It doesn't look good for us as fathers and teaches them that violence is an acceptable path.
"Boys Don't Like Fat Girls"
How much what he said (or didn't say) mattered. It still bothers me that he didn't tell me I looked pretty either time I was all dressed up as bridesmaid in my friends' weddings and I still remember him saying "boys don't like fat girls," or words to that effect a few times.
Never Embarrass MeGiphy
My dad was a high school teacher that taught at a really good school. As a teen, I wanted to attend the school my dad taught at but he and my mother insisted I attended a different one that was apparently "of a better standard". It wasn't until years later my mother admitted to me that the reason I was put in a different school was because my dad didn't want me to get teased by other students about him or feel embarrassed by him.
I wish my dad knew he could never embarrass me.
Love you daddy. R.I.P
As a teacher I'm at the cusp of the same thing with my oldest. While the majority wouldn't tease her for who her father is as I'm well liked enough by my students, it would affect her social and school life.
I wouldn't be able to let her friends over if they're from the same school because we're required to do a heap of formwork for that. Can't take her friends home with us for sleepovers etc. No parties at my house because I'm a mandatory reporter for underage drinking (that will exist regardless unfortunately for her). Her teachers can just call my staff room right after a lesson if there's a problem.
She's a good kid and I don't want her ability to grow and make friends and engage respectfully with her teachers to be compromised by the fact that Daddy is the crazy science teacher at the other end of the school.
I wish he tried to get to know me after my mom left him.
Gender And Interests
I liked trains. He apparently was really sad when my gender was revealed and I was a girl. He wanted a boy to play trains with and I was the last kid they were going to have. Youngest of 3 girls. I liked trains. My mom would buy toy trains and train movies for me to play with, and I would play with them for hours, but my dad never saw me playing with them because when he got home from work, all I wanted to do was play with my dad, and he didn't typically use toys to play with me. He would just teach me cool stuff, or tell me jokes and stories. He played using his voice. If I had known he wanted to play with trains, we would've had a blast.
As a father of 5 (two girls three boys) I've learned gender bias is generally wrong. My oldest two, girl/boy, were pretty typical but the younger three not so much. My youngest daughter collects hot wheels just like her brothers even if most of them are pink or purple. However she's the first to be in the mud, on the tractor or under the hood of a car with me- Usually asking me to paint a car pink or purple. She's her mother's princess - but she also seeks opportunity on any challenge, any day, and doesn't see the world as pink or blue.
My second son loves Unicorns and pink. My youngest son loves dance class which is 95% female and started his Littlest Pet Shop fascination this year.
Today's chore is to haul firewood from the big stack to the smaller porch stack. Usually about a Rick of wood when we re-stack closer to home in prep for storms later this week. I've got $20 says she earns it alone first before her other two male siblings charged with the task this afternoon... before her double dance classes tonight.
These kids earn cash for every "extra" non-daily chore around here and she earns 7/1 to her brothers on tasks some who consider outside of normal gender bias all the time. 12 yr old wants a new video game and here she is "I could buy it but..."
She's 10, Tiny, Blonde Barbie/Cheerleader, almost flighty at first impression fun loving 1000% typical A-Crowd girl in school but she'd change a college boys tire on the side of a highway faster than he can call Road Service.
It helps to pay attention to what your kids love regardless of gender. I'm old, I don't want to stack firewood anymore LOL.
That when you stop hugging us when we hit puberty, we notice...and it hurts.
We can be angry without it being hormones.
Honestly, as a guy, I will NEVER treat any emotion or opinion as, "She's just hormonal"
You deal with everything with sincerity and reason, because anything else demeans the person you're talking to. It is the other person's responsibility to identify when they are being unreasonable and "just hormonal", if that is indeed the case, and let you know how severe this issue is.
I don't know if this has a word for it, but in the legal-world, this is called 'negotiating in good-faith'.
The Boy You Wanted
That I'm not a boy, and it hurts immensely when you spend more time with the neighbor's son than you own daughter because I'm not the boy you wanted.
I just wanted healthy kids.. and I got that. Now, i did make them do Ninja Warrior stuff and we played war with water guns, so I got to play as well. My youngest likes dolls, so i show her some cool WWE moves with them.
Raise Her Strong
Tell her she's strong and raise her to be it, treat her like she's the strongest person you've ever met. It will make her believe it, and there's no better way you could protect her from the world, when you're not around, than by making her believe in herself. Nothing meant more to me than the day my dad, the strongest man I know, said he admired my strength.
Accept the fact that your daughter will eventually need OBGYN visits, birth control, and will participate in dating and sex at some point. You don't have to be happy about it but please don't shame me or make me feel ashamed that I enjoy being human. I have to leave the room or wait for dad to leave in order to call my OBGYN office and I'm 23 years old.
See, as a dad to a little girl, it's just hard to accept that all of that will happen. Not because of "norms" or sanctity or some antiquated way of thinking - it's just that they're all signs that my little girl isn't so little anymore.
For most dads, it's just hard to accept - not something we willingly fight, but something we willingly don't want to admit to ourselves. Sure there are others that have very antiquated ways of thinking but not all - hell, not the majority.
I dreaded the day my daughter (six years old now) would tell me she had a crush at school, and I jokingly acted like I was not happy at first, but I let her know immediately after that having a crush is normal and acceptable.
I dread the day that she has her first period, but I know I'll start packing pads in her backpack when she turns 10 just in case it happens when she's in school.
I dread the day I have to take her to an OBGYN or fill a script for birth control for her, but I know that day will come. Same as the day she tells me she's sexually active. But I know the one thing I have to do is accept it, as hard as it is when that day comes - because I know as hard as it is for me, it's doubly hard and embarrassing for her.
But if there is anything threads like these that pop up every so often have taught me, is that communication is key - and having open lines of communication with her, where nothing is off limits, will allow her to have a better life and make better life choices (where she can learn from my and my wife's mistakes and observation (wisdom?) without having to make the same mistakes herself).
So for all the fellow dads out there - don't be afraid to communicate with your princesses. And for all the princesses out there, don't be afraid to communicate with your dads - these things are new to us too, and we're always going to be afraid of accepting the fact that the little girl we held in our arms for years is growing up.
Some Vagina To Guard
I'm jealous of all that time and money you spent on my brother and getting to know him as a person. I wish you'd just treat me like a person, not some vagina you felt the need to creepily guard until I got married.
Fathers have a strong instinct to protect the family, especially the women. It's just something you can never truly understand as a woman.
That we notice when he would do some semi-creepy things like stare women down on the street (he was married to my mom for 40 years.) I wish he knew how I internalized a whole bunch of stuff from it. It was creepy on a general level...but to do it in front of your daughter like she doesn't see you just made it worse. Maybe that's lame, but it is genuine.
How to brush hair. When I was little I remember crying every morning before school because my dad would just take the brush and practically rip my scalp off. All he would say was "sorry I don't know how to do girl hair"..ouch.
What's the secret. [6 and 3 yr old girls] Lol. I've tried wet brushes. Detangles. Best I can do is hold it and brush is small sections. About 2 more days away from going and grabbing one of those toy hair dressing heads for practice.
Periods Can Be BadGiphy
How bad periods can be.
My dad thinks that a period is all about blood, but never understands that I go through an awful pain while on my period.
I learned this from my first girl friend (16) and she was blowing chunks in my bathroom sink. I asked what the hell was wrong, and she explained to me her period started. I was blown the away. I ended up going to the store to get Mydol which I learned came in several different types and I bought them all. I don't recall if I had to buy pads, but since we're married now I have done so. Having an older sister who I was close with I knew it caused problems, but I was not aware of the extreme levels of pain that can occur.
Because You're Family
I love my dad, he's really great, but I wish he hadn't compared my relationship with my brother to his relationship with his own brothers. It's awesome that my dad and his brothers got along, but my brother bullied me relentlessly, and having my dad constantly telling us that we were supposed to get along because we were family made me think that something was wrong with me.
Kids aren't action figures. You don't get to mold them to be whatever you want them to be, and you don't get to vicariously live your fantasies through them.
PMS is a real thing that affects some women, but it only occurs for a few days at a very specific point in the menstrual cycle and it's more likely to produce feelings of fatigue/depression/anxiety than feelings of anger/irritability. When you blame all female emotions on PMS, it's both scientifically inaccurate and tremendously invalidating.
Pay attention to the media your kid consumes, and don't dismiss or ridicule girl-oriented media. Girls crave female role models, so make sure your daughter gets exposed to female characters in something other than love interest/princess/celebrity/caretaker roles. Seek out media where female characters are problem solvers, adventurers, and leaders.
Don't act like feminine things are shameful or boring. Don't be the dad who stays out in his car during his daughter's ballet class because sitting with the dance moms is too embarrassing. Don't be the dad who refuses to buy pads/tampons at the grocery store. Don't be the dad who says that women's sports are low action. Don't be the dad who lavishes time and attention on sons while ignoring daughters. Kids are smarter than you think, and they pick up on stuff like that.
F*ck that sh*t. I was in there every week, every single week. I hemmed recital dresses, did hair, etc etc etc. I'd do it again tomorrow. This whole thread is so frustrating to read...no wonder women are always feeling less than enough and second guessing everything. Sorry for the rant but every single person who has posted at feeling less than good enough, I'm sorry for you that your father wasn't up to the job.
Not to use plain rubber bands as hair ties. F*ck that hurt!
Ouch... As a guy with mid-back hair I don't even like the hair ties with the metal bit in them as they catch in my hair.. Rubber bands are... Umm.. No....
Can't Control It
That we cannot control our periods.
I came home from school when I was ten with one of those fevers from the flu where all you do is sleep someone has to wake you up to remind you to eat and drink and use the bathroom.
Well all of this was about 3 months after having my first period and most women at least, I'm sure a few men might too, know how irregular they can be during that. Well while I was asleep I started. And (TMI WARNING but it is important to the story) I tend to bleed somewhere in the Oh My-God-I've-Been-Shot range. Now I wasn't expecting to start obviously so I had no pad on or anything. I'd been asleep for a couple of hours Dad woke me up to give me some more meds and I got up to use the bathroom, in there I quickly realized that I had started as most of the crotch area of my jeans was soaked in blood. A few seconds after that dad started yelling at me from the living room. About half the blue couch cushion is now dark purple.
I can barely stand I'm already very sick and now I'm crying, so he makes me change pants get in the truck drives me to the country store down the road and go in and buy myself pads or tampons. He doesn't want to go buy them because he thinks they are gross and he doesn't want to even be seen accompanying his daughter to buy them.
Now I'm ten, I have no idea what I'm supposed to really buy because I've only had 2 periods at this point and I'd just been using moms pads from home. But we were out of them at home and she went a couple towns over for groceries and other things. I don't have a phone to call her I'm crying I'm bleeding through the second set of pants and I feel so weak I'm holding on to the shelf to stay up. Thankfully a really nice lady who worked there helped me and helped me back to the truck.
He was yelling at me the whole time saying if I was going to start I should have been more prepared and put a pad on or used a tampon or something. How I should have known better than to bleed on the couch and how I should have gotten up and used the bathroom when I felt the bleeding. Mom got home and absolutely tore him a new one and gave him some menstruation knowledge while she was at it.