The relationship between a father and his daughter is very special. Most of the time, the daughter gets treated as a princess, or “Daddy’s little girl.”
This can come with some major perks. I almost always got permission from my dad to do whatever I wanted, even if my mom wanted to say “no,” my birthday presents were always off the charts awesome, and my dad still makes sure to take me to all my favorite restaurants when I come visit.
However, there are some things dads just don’t understand, especially when it comes to their daughters. The non-threatening guy, the behavior caused less by teenage rebellion and more by hormones, and the amount of times girls tend to change their mind are all things that go over the heads of fathers.
Redditors have their own experiences with things that dads don’t understand, and were only too happy to share.
It all started when Redditor MeisterStenz asked:
“Daughters of reddit, what is something you wish your father knew about girls when you were growing up?”
"How to put hair in pony tails/brush long hair in general. Just thinking about it twenty years later makes my scalp hurt."
"Also, to include the daughter in stereotypically-male housework. I can cook and load a dishwasher like my life depends on it, but I can't do any sort of maintenance like putting up a picture frame or unclogging a sink."
Just One Of The Guys
"Now that I’m an adult I realize just how wonderful my father really is. Not just in comparison to others but he is an objectively amazing father. He taught us children the hard life lessons while still protecting us. He taught us to be self sufficient and independent. He taught us to work hard and don’t give up just because things get challenging. He busted his @ss to make sure we got to go on vacation and experience life. He taught me to hunt, fish, and fix a car. He also taught me to garden and grow my own vegetables. How to take care of livestock and other animals with compassion."
"However, he also treated me more like a son than a daughter. I only wish that my father would’ve acknowledged that I’m a girl and it’s okay for me to like dressing up and that it’s okay to “throw like a girl”. Granted, I got a full ride to college for sports and that’s partly because I had to hang with the boys and my dad didn’t want me to be a great female player but just a great player in general. I think he messed me up only in the sense that it’s extremely difficult for me to date. I’m either too intimidating to strangers or “one of the boys” to people I know. I think I lost my feminine side because I am so close to my dad and he was slightly dismissive of my emotional side. I had to be tough and stoic."
"I suppose I shouldn’t complain; I just feel like if my dad were less of a hard @ss and treated me more like a daughter than a son I would fit in more. Maybe be able to get a date instead of always just being a “bro”. That being said I am thankful for the life skills he provided and the protective eye he still has watching over his baby girl. [26yo F]"
"Edit: news update; got a lot of confidence from all the positivity and now I’ve got a date coming up with a guy who doesn’t know me or my “bros” and I get to make an actual first impression without being seen as one of the boys beforehand. Wish me luck! He seems kind and intelligent; I’m really excited to see what happens! Even if it’s a flop it’s a good step out of my passive ways!"
You Are Not Welcome
"Treating every boy interested in your daughter as your enemy does both of you a disservice."
"My dad was very over-protective. Any time a boy had a crush on me, he would be immediately added to my dad's sh*tlist. Even if he was perfectly kind and respectful."
"After a certain point, I just stopped listening to my dad's complaints. In my eyes, he had lost the right to give input about my relationships."
"Unfortunately, when I was 17 I became entangled in an abusive relationship."
"My dad hated the guy. But since he also hated every one of my previous suitors, I didn't interpret his concerns as legitimate."
"On top of that: since he was so busy trying to prevent me from having relationships, he never talked to me about what a healthy relationship looks like."
Admit When You're Wrong
"When you do something wrong, apologize. Don't just try to ignore what we just fought about and try to be our friend 15 minutes later. When you try to ignore our problem, it hurts us. It makes us angry. We won't want to be friends."
"My friends and I have almost all had this issue with our dads. The worst thing, though, is when you try to have someone else apologize fix things for you. My dad has asked me to be this middleman for my younger sister, my friend has been asked by her dad, and some others have mentioned their dad sending in their mom. It doesn't make things better, and a lot of the time, makes that middleman lose respect for you."
"Respect us as people and apologize to us."
Hobbies And Interests
"Don't just assume your daughter won't be interested in your activities because they aren't stereotypically girly or because once as a small child, she didn't want to do it. Not wanting, say, go hiking or fishing when I was 5 years old doesn't mean I never ever want to do it. Keep trying to get your kids involved in your life and don't just give up. You're teaching them not to share things about themselves and losing the chance to bond over something you love."
"At the same time, if they don't want to do the thing. Don't make them do the thing, but don't stop asking them to do the thing unless they tell you to stop asking."
"There are some men (and boys) who are perfectly decent when other men are around, but are not nice to women (and girls) when there are no other men around. Believe your daughter about her own lived experiences, even if you didn't witness them yourself."
"And believe other women about their own lived experiences as well. If your daughter grows up hearing you talking about how your mother and sister were clearly overreacting when they said your childhood neighbour was creepy - because, after all, he was always perfectly decent to you - your daughter is not going to go to you when your own neighbour is creepy to her when you're not around."
– Deleted User
"Your children are always more important than your second or third wife."
"I think this is more important of a comment than many realize. When my parents divorced, my dad was always taking trips with his new gf on weekends I was supposed to be with him. It was excruciating when I was 15."
Our Bodies Are Beautiful
"That if you say your eight year old is “too chubby” to wear something that is going to stick in her brain forever. Choose your words wisely and realize that not only the super skinny child had worth."
"Disclaimer: I love my dad, we have a great relationship, he has always believed in my abilities at the end of the day."
"That when you let your 10 year old son have more freedom to ride bikes far from home, go to the store alone, and take risks than your 13 year old daughter for no other reason than her gender, she's going to be PISSED and spend the next 10 years rejecting all things feminine because you have convinced her that to be female means to be weak and vulnerable. Masculinity does not equal strength and maturity, and femininity does not equal weakness and gullibility. It took a long time, but he recognizes that now."
Growing Up Is Hard Enough To Do
"When your daughter is going through puberty and starts getting her period, don't write off the things she's going through. There's all sorts of new hormones swirling around in there, and they're gonna affect her mood. She's getting periods, they're probably gonna hurt. Being in pain makes you grumpy, but don't write off every instance of anger or bad temper as being 'because you're on your period'. Maybe her mom doesn't get bad ones, maybe you've never thought about it because your wife is a grown woman who has learned to deal with her periods and the assorted mood swings and pains and moved on; your daughter hasn't yet. Be a little more thoughtful, help teach her ways to manage what she's feeling."
"If she's in a lot of pain, and it doesn't change after a while, take her to a doctor. Maybe nothing's wrong and she got sh*t luck, but she could have endometriosis or cystic ovaries. Stick up for her at the doctor - lots of women have trouble finding doctors who will listen to them about their pain, and it's very hard to advocate for yourself when you're only 14 and throwing up from pain."
"To add to this, don't make your daughter feel bad for going through puberty. My dad made me feel so humiliated when I first started my periods and also made me feel like
young going through puberty, growing breasts and having hair down there was something that should only be for adults and somehow I was growing up way before I should have."
"Idk how to explain it but I felt incredibly uncomfortable about growing because my dad made it seem like it was a bad thing..."
"I don't know that this is anything but bad advice, but for some reason, it worked for me."
"I remember shortly after my daughter got her period, she had a night time incident where either her pad had leaked or she wasn't prepared and her period came over night. I don't recall why I dealt with it instead of my wife, but I know I was there in the middle of the night taking sheets off the bed, putting them in the wash, etc."
"I made some comment like "Dear god! Did you kill a small animal in here?" but said in the right moment and in the right tone of voice that she just started cracking up. And since that moment, her periods were never something to be hidden or shameful about or anything like that."
"I think that it just sent the message that she didn't do anything wrong, there was nothing to be embarrassed about, I wasn't mad or grossed out; everything was perfectly natural. And because I could joke about it at 3:00 in the morning, she somehow realized it wasn't the big deal she was maybe thinking it was."
There are a few things dads need to understand. Luckily, for the most part, they are also our heroes!