Congratulations! You have a daughter. It's now your job to prepare her for the world at large, teach her how to be the best she can be, and understand that the changes to her body are natural and will happen whether you like it or not.
...This is mainly for the dads of the world who many not have an idea of what they're doing.
Reddit user, u/joho3883, wanted to get the word out when they asked:
You're Creating A Legacy
How you treat her and her mom is how she will expect to be treated by her partner when she's older.
Let Them Fend For ThemselvesGiphy
Don't be too overprotective. How long can you protect her? One day she'll be on her own and she'll not know how to. Teach her how to be independent instead. To do things on her own. Teach her self-defense. Teach her to be safe.
Everything They Say Has Relevance
I know you probably don't want to hear about what happened with Sarah and Kyle today in prealgebra or the character break down of her latest teen novel but just listen to her. The moment you dismiss her thoughts and interests is the moment that wall starts going up between. Make an effort to remember some names and details and it'll mean everything to her. Don't laugh at her or get mad when she bursts into tears over something that you perceive as insignificant. Not only is she young and her world is smaller but if she's above the age of ten her emotions are running wild.
Basically just treat her like her thoughts and feelings are valid. It's so easy to forget about how big your emotions feel when you're young. And the reason that I, as a 26 year old woman, still talk to my father weekly and greet him with a big hug is that he listened with empathy.
It's Going To Happen Every Month
I was raised by a single dad. When I started my period, he made it clear that my period was not embarrassing, and he would get me whatever I needed to take care of myself.
Also, if there's not a "mom" around, please, please ask some friends how to manage your daughter's hair.
Seriously. Every. Month.
Just buy her the tampons and don't be embarassed about it. My dad raised my sister and I alone after my mom passed away when I was 11 and he was always so weird about this - MEN, it's not a big deal!!! The cashier knows it's not for you LOL
Words Have Power
If you do nothing else right, speak kindly.
I don't have the best dad, he was always fighting his own demons, and therefor not all that present but he has literally only ever been kind to me and that sticks out more than anything. He praises everything we do, compliments us endlessly, and always made us feel like we were obviously capable of anything. It has always been easy to see/feel his shortcomings really didn't have anything to do with me and were his own personal issues.
That's Why They're Called "Delicates"
do not put bras or underwear in the dryer (single dad to now college age dryer)
EDIT.....college age daughter, not college age dryer (but the dryer is 20 years old as well)
Respect Every Relationship
Don't talk sh-t talk their mother.
Don't poison your daughter's relationship with her other parent if she's lucky enough to have one.
Keep Your Mouth Shut
As she gets older, don't make comments about body hair, bra straps, or exposed shoulders. It's uncomfortable and can cause self image issues.
Keep It Cool, Dad
Don't start acting as though she will turn into a raging monster the second she hits puberty. It's a weird expectation to have placed on you. On that note, don't blame everything she feels on her hormones. Don't lose your sh-t when she starts needing a bra. She has breasts now. So what? A father freaking out or being weird about it will just complicate how she feels even more.
If mom can't take her shopping, have her sized, take her to a store, get her a fitting room. Done. Don't make her feel weird or bad about needing one. Also, it isn't hard to have her sized. My store won't size you, but they will teach girls how to do so properly and provide you with a room, measuring tape, and advice.
Give Them RoomGiphy
When they are teenagers, respect their space as it's a tough time for them and honestly it's really difficult to talk to your dad about. We have mood swings and you might think we hate you but we love you dearly! Be there for her when she needs it too!
They Don't Just Want To Know "Girl" Things
Make sure to teach us "boy" stuff, too! I was an only child, and my dad still taught me to drive a tractor, change a tire, hang drywall, and fix things around the house. These skills have come in handy many times in the years since and especially when I was living alone. Plus, it was great bonding time for me and dad :)
Teach Them To Be Ready
She is going to get hit on so much earlier than you think. I started getting whistled at walking past construction sites when I was 11. Teach her the skills to deal with rejecting someone politely but firmly and sticking to her guns (metaphorically)
Make Them Comfortable
Be their friend as well as their dad, so they are comfortable coming to you worry free.
People Change All The Time
Not just girls, but all children's personality change, as they grow up they wont be the same person they were 5 or 10 years ago. So don't expect your kid to be the same person they were when they were 5.
Especially dont glorify the way they were when they were little and painting it like that was when they were at their best, because then that makes them feel awful for changing and developing as a person. Speaking from experience here.
Let's Run Down A Bunch!
Always depends on the age of the kids.
As a father of 5 wonderful girls, aged from 3 to 16, there are a couple of things:
Treat their mother and them with respect (I think that's one of the most important things, and it has also already been pointed out here).
It is normal that they are stubborn. Let them.
It is not normal that some boys are d****. I often hear the argument "boys will be boys", which is often an excuse that some boys are just idiots. I can guarantee you it is not normal. DON'T let them think that this is normal!
As someone already pointed out: if you have to comb the hair, start at the bottom and work up. My girls all love their hair. Take your time, maybe learn how to make her hair (there are a lot of FB groups about it, and youtube tutorials. Daddydaughter hair factory is the first that comes to my mind).
Forget the stereotypes. If they want to watch Ninjago instead of my little poney, that's ok. Girls don't have to only play with puppets. One of mine loves playing with cars, imagining she's a Ninja etc.
Once they hit "pre-puberty" (so the age of 10, when their body starts to transform) they may change their behavior and interests. Help them go through that. It settles after one or two years, usually when they start getting their period.
They don't need to be ashamed when they have their period. And there's nothing wrong if you buy tampons etc for them. Make the first step, and when you buy groceries, write them a message if they need some of these products.
Treat them and their mother with respect (I know, I already wrote this, but it is really important, as you may be the standard of what they are looking from their future partner)
Talk openly about drugs and sex with them. Those things are often stigmatized in our society.
A hug is sometimes better than talking
It is normal that they have different interests than you.
Don't make them feel ashamed when you see their boyfriend for the first time (even if it may be funny). Talk with them about what you think about him, but don't be rude to him. They will meet him anyway. They shouldn't make it in secrecy.
No dad jokes when their friends are there.
Once they have a boyfriend (or even before), make sure to have condoms at home.
Condoms are like 1mm thin. Boys saying that they don't feel something if they use a condom are idiots. Make her know that he should put that thing on.
If someone is their best friend today, it doesn't mean it is also their best friend tomorrow :-)
They shall enjoy their youth and freedom.
Don't lie about their body shape and weight. If they are a little chubby, then tell them (however, chose your words wisely), and if they want to lose weight help them do it. Go with her for a run i.e.
This one may be only my personal opinion: They may lie about some things. Don't be too consequent or harsh about it. Some small lies are ok, as long as they don't lie about the things that matter. But if they lie, they should know that you know it (skeptical look etc)
Make sure that they don't eat only crisps and cookies in their free time, or when they are in school or lunchtime. This could backfire once they are in puberty. Teach them about food.
If you forbid something you make it much more interesting (i.e .softdrinks, cookies, later maybe meeting a boy etc)
No mobile phones during lunchtime (again, my personal opinion)
Treat them and their mother with respect (I can't stress this enough)
What's something you wish all men would know about raising girls? Share it with us!