From less risk of depression to better self-esteem, a loving father-daughter relationship can provide benefits for a lifetime.
The truth is, whether we like it or not, fathers are our first role models when we come into this world. They play a huge role in girls’ development, confidence, and self-esteem; they lay a foundation for what we understand as trust, security and love.
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But in reality, any woman who grew up with a father knows how complex and often difficult this relationship can be. “Daughters of Reddit, what is something you wish your father knew about girls when you were growing up?” someone asked in this Ask Reddit thread that turned into a raw and very candid read.
That it doesn’t make you look weak to show affection once in a while. My dad hardly ever hugged us or said he loved us.
Image credits: anon
Don’t be scared of having your picture taken, if your daughter wants to take pictures of you, or especially with you, let them. My dad died when I was 13 years old and then I realized that all of his hiding from the camera meant I was left with only a handful of photos and he wasn’t in any of our home videos. You don’t realize how important they can be until you aren’t able to make new ones
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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.
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That we take everything he says to heart and he has to be kind. His words can leave deep wounds that stay with her for a lifetime
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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.
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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 shitlist. 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.
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That it is best to have a personal bond with your father, a hobby or activity that’s the two of you -no matter how small, and not him just be there when the whole family is together.
When our outdoor cats would get ticks I quickly alerted my father and we removed them. For him a chore and for me the one thing that was *us doing something together*.
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Our standards of how we expect to be treated by men come from how you treat our mothers.
Show her kindness, we will expect kindness. Treat her like s**t and we assume being treated like s**t is normal.
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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.
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I wished he knew girls could like girls and it was ok. That would have made my coming out story less dramatic.
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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.
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Your children are always more important than your second or third wife.
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Not girls in general, but I wish he understood that depression is an illness. He spent years angry with me and thinking I was just spoiled. It wasn’t til I was in college that he realized I wasn’t just a drama queen, I was actually sick and needed medication. That realization has done wonders for our relationship.
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That not every instance of anger or sadness on my part was because “it must be that time of the month.” My dad is a great guy all around, but used to bring that up (even jokingly) waaaay too often.
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How to build and support a healthy self-esteem and lifestyle habits. The things you say and the way you treat her can leave a lasting impression on your daughter.
I was a latchkey kid in an Asian household filled with cheap convenience foods (3 for $1 hotdog baos, Chinese crackers, etc) and lack of income for things to do outside of watching TV at home. So, I grew up overweight and uninformed about healthy lifestyle habits.
Since tween-hood, my dad was constantly on me about my body and bluntly laid it out that I would never find a boyfriend. If he saw me in a t-shirt or shorts, he’d comment on how big my arms/thighs looked. I’m now in my late 20s and still refuse to wear tanks/short sleeves/skirts/dresses/shorts because of that idea that has been ingrained in my thought process. The link between being fat and being single still has a huge presence in my mind.
My dad passed away last year from his own struggles with his health (cancer, diabetes, hypertension). Since then, I’ve made my own lifestyle changes and went to therapy. I am about halfway to my weight end goal and I’ve discovered a love for hiking, spin classes, and yoga. But trying to build up self esteem through reframing of things and positive self-talk has been the hardest struggle of all.
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Unwanted sexual attention from grown men doesn’t always come from strangers. It comes from “family friends” too.
Pay attention to your friends’ behaviors and comments around your kids.
My dad cut off a longtime friend after catching him leering at me in a bathing suit at a pool party when I was only 12.
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If you want someone to respect you, you have to go first. My folks (especially my dad) would patiently explain how my feelings and desires were silly, because they didn’t share them: but expect me to prioritize their feelings and desires even though I didn’t share them. If you want her to be polite to your boring friends, be polite to hers. If you don’t want her wearing a lip ring to the company picnic, don’t wear socks with Crocs when you pick her up at school. If you’re poor and she has to wear hand-me-down clothes, dress yourself out of the thrift shop.
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That telling me “it’s just in your head” anytime I felt *anything* other than happy as a clam, would make me grow up with anxiety and trust issues, and have a hard time expressing/talking about feelings, always thinking I’m “crazy”. Just a side note to all you guys out there who have a problem with this- girls are allowed to feel anyway they want at any particular time, just like you. We do not exist to be your personal rays of sunshine. We are human too.
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That we can be very sensitive about our bodies/looks once we become aware of them.
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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.
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I wish my father understood that fathers are just as important to daughters as mothers are. As my parents came closer to separation my mom did a good job of alienating my dad and he never fought to maintain the relationship with his children (all daughters) as he felt that our relationship with our mother was more important. I think he does know now though…
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How much it sucks to feel ugly and the measures we take to avoid that.
This didn’t really begin to be a problem until I was older, but my dad would always get really mad when I wanted to leave the house looking good. My brother would just throw random clothes on, whereas I wanted to wear nice clothes and put makeup on.
He’d get mad over how superficial and shallow he thought I was. In reality, how nice we look makes a big difference in how seriously we are taken and how we are treated.
Even if you think your daughter is fine and has nothing to worry about, chances are, most people (and men especially) will not feel the same way!
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I’m not sure about girls in general.
To me, I’d rather have had a dad who was *there*, than a dad who was successful and a workaholic.
When your dad is gone, you remember the silly little things: the bedtime stories he told you, playing with you on the beach, having ice cream together.
Be a father who is present in your daughter’s life. Play with her when she’s small. Tell her stories. When she’s older, listen to her. Take an interest in her interests even if they sound silly. Take an interest in her life in general.
That’s all anyone can ask.
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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 a*s 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 a*s 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!
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– you need to teach by example. Don’t go around preaching things that you don’t even do.
– give her privacy. So many times I had my bedroom door threatened to be taken away, or my belongings taken away, etc. It was horrible and I felt like I was in jail.
– while it is important to compliment her on things she has control over (big achievements, good test mark, etc.) it’s also important to tell her she’s beautiful. I never got that.
– pay attention to her interests and ask about them. Make sure she has opportunities too, like if she’s interested in something around 8 or 9, she obviously can’t sign herself up for a team/lessons of any kind.
– remember that one day she is going to be an adult and you need to prepare her for that as a teen. That means you treat her like she is an emotionally mature person, not a 4 year old. You teach her how to have calm, stable discussions that reach compromises, not screaming arguments. Also teaching her how to cook her own healthy food is very important.
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.
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Don’t tell them that having eating disorders is better than being fat.
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I have my own brain. Not everything I say has been concocted by my “liberal professor” or [insert male SO’s name here]. Believe it or not, I am 100% capable of forming and voicing my own opinion.
your special snowflake liberal millennial daughter with a 4 year engineering degree.
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 s**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.
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When you catcall 16 year olds, it affects me.
When you moo at overweight girls, it affects me.
When you go through my magazine and literally place your 1-10 rating on each of their foreheads, it affects me.
Basically, the way you treat and talk about women affects me. It let’s us know what’s “normal” and how we should expect to be treated by men.
That we needed a guardian, not a bully, not an abuser. He didn’t realize it, but a lot of the things he said and did formed the way I viewed myself. He had “nicknames” for me like “chatterbox” or “pumpkin head” that made me feel like I wasn’t pretty, or that something about me was undesirable. That started early in my life and has stuck with me since. I hate petnames and nicknames like “chunky monkey” even if they’re meant to be playful and cute.
I grew up with him being verbally abusive to my mother and older sister, and it progressed to physical abuse when my sister would do things for his attention like acting out and stealing his car. His abuse of them bith made me terrified of conflict. The fact that the cops were in and out of my life gave me serious anxiety. Even after a decade of my parents splitting up, I still feel anxious around cops.
I just wanted my family to be whole. The constant abuse, even if it wasn’t directed physically at me, made me feel like it was my fault. My thought process being that I was the youngest, and therefore the reason they were fighting about money was because they had to buy me clothes or send me to school. The reason my sister acted out was because I was there taking their time and affection away from her.
Father’s have to be aware of the power they have over these small beings. You are everything to them, and even small things can become damaging. Don’t be over careful, but also be considerate. If it clearly bothers your child, stop. Because teaching them that they need to power through even things they don’t want can lead to other things.
I also wish he understood that me and my sister were different people. She was sporty, I was not. Let your kids be different.
Just because I’m a girl, doesn’t mean I’m a natural housewife capable of keeping the whole house spotless by myself.
My father was raised by the quintessential 60s housewife. My grandmother works tirelessly to keep her house clean and laundry done and folded and put away and all the beds made every single day…
so it caused some tension at times that I’m messy and disorganized by nature, especially since, as my mom had passed away when I was 11, I was the only girl in the house. He couldn’t seem to just get why I was unable to keep the house as sparkling and spotless as my grandmother always did growing up. He was a very good father in so many ways, this is just the biggest hang up we always had.
That girls are not delicate little creatures who can’t do anything. I always wanted to be an auto mechanic and help work on cars and he’d never let me. He told me girls can’t do “man jobs” because they cause drama on the jobsites when all the guys are worried about sleeping with them. Now I am always having car trouble and have to pay out the a*s to get a mechanic to fix simple things because he wouldn’t just show me how to fix it.
Edited to add that I grew up before the internet. YouTube IS awesome now but there’s something really intimidating for me about even trying now just because of the attitude I faced being a girl in my house.
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I wish that he didn’t give me special treatment.
My eldest brother when he was 18 could stay out till 3 am. I was at a family friends house playing D&D, and had to be home by 11. The drive was 5 minutes away, yet my dad said anything could happen.
My other brother got engaged at 19 and he’s getting married. I’m getting engaged at 20, and my father refuses to give me approval (I’ve been dating the guy for 6 years vs my brother who dated for 1)
Even the good treatment is annoying. My sibling had to save money for his car and my parents would match his savings. I was given my dads car. I wasn’t allowed to buy a car because there was dads car right there. The look my brother gave me and my dad was crushing.
I don’t like being treated special one way or another
Casual misogyny at home against other women is going to cause your daughter to internalize those issues.
Also, my dad never took interest in our personal lives or tried to connect with us in a deeper level. We, especially me (since my brother was a boy) functioned more as trophies for him to show off. Any issue we had was foisted off in my mom. She was without a doubt the reason we did so well, but my dad always took the credit for it both inside and outside the home. I can understand that kids don’t always have interesting interests, but he never even tried.
And now he’s surprised when we don’t talk to him about anything and go straight to mom. Plus he gets mad that neither of us put effort into our relationship with him. What can I say? You reap what you sow.
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.
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That it’s great you’re extending the offer to spend time together, but when you invite your kid to the garage to help with something, actually have them help with something.
For context, my dad would be working on his boat engine or something, and he’d say come help me with this, and then I’d sit on a bucket for 20 minutes watching him in silence, and finally wander off out of boredom. Looking back, it’s great he wanted to spend time with me and I appreciate that, but being present and being involved are two different things.
I have the most wonderful father in the world. This post isn’t going to be things I wish he knew, but more things he did that were awesome when I was growing up since I’m seeing a lot of daddies with little girls commenting that they’re reading this post.
My dad never hesitated to do “girly” things with me. He was the one who took me school shopping (we would often hit Starbucks and then pick up chocolate covered strawberries afterwards). He would fix my hair for school and paint my nails for me. I remember wanting a head full of tiny braids (this was the 90s) and he spent hours of his Saturday afternoon braiding. We played with Barbies and he actually came up with storylines for them and put effort into it. On the other hand, he also never kept me from doing “tomboy” things. I raised baby calves, helped him wash cars, and worked on the lawnmower.
When I was little we had “Daddy-Daughter” dates where we would go to Chuck-E-Cheese or mini-golfing. When I was in middle school and high school we would go to the pool together and lay out and talk. A few years ago we got tickets to see Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour and got drunk together and had the best time.
He was always patient with anything regarding my self-esteem. He helped me lose weight when I was in middle school and waited for hours for me to get ready before we went somewhere, and never, ever commented on anything other than to compliment me.
The biggest thing I think that he did (and still does) is to encourage my independence. He helped me through school and constantly reminds me that I am a strong woman and that I don’t ever have to get married if I don’t want to (my mother used to put a lot of pressure on me to “settle down”). He is my friend along with being my dad. I’m forever thankful for him.
I truly am incredibly lucky to have him and I recognize that. I already tell him how much I appreciate him all the time and my first big tattoo was a portrait of us together but I think he will really love seeing this! Also, to all the dads who have commented saying they hope they can be like my dad – if you try to be, you will be! He put effort into our relationship and that’s what matters. 🙂
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Read a book about female bodies, specifically menstruation. And stop acting like pads and tampons will kill you if you see, touch, or god forbid buy them. Girls are starting their period much earlier than they used to, and they’re going to need support.
Luckily my dad worked through all that with my mom and then my older sister so he was pretty chill. But I remember a friend having to keep her supplies hidden in her room and her dad yelling at her for not “holding it” and staining a car seat.
**Hitting doesn’t work. Full Stop.** All it does is make your kids afraid of you. It instills neither discipline nor respect, only fear, and worse, it can create a self-perpetuating cycle of violence. Don’t do it. There are healthier, more effective means of parenting your children.
Also, **please don’t guard your daughter’s virginity with a shotgun.** I know that trope can be kinda funny sometimes but IRL, it’s just creepy and weird. Your daughter is going to have sex someday. That is normal. If you do your best as a father, hopefully, she’ll do it responsibly.
**She’ll make mistakes.** That’s not necessarily a reflection on you as a parent. Growing human beings need to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world, thus, mistakes will be made.
**Don’t minimize, denigrate, or ignore your daughter’s feelings.** I know (at least from what guys have said on the matter) “touchy-feely stuff” can be awkward and uncomfortable but that’s just part of being a parent. The same can probably be said for boys. Expressing emotions is normal and healthy. Encourage it, both in her and yourself.
**Don’t be a d**k to your daughter’s boyfriend/s (or girlfriend/s?).** That’s not productive. If you’re concerned about who she’s dating, casually ask her questions. DO NOT turn it into an inquisition. Maybe you’ll learn why she likes him and you’ll find out that he’s a better fellow than you gave him credit for. Or maybe, as you ask her questions (how does he treat you? How’s he doing in school? What are his plans for the future?) she’ll come to some realizations about him. You. Cannot. Control. Your. Child. If she’s making a mistake, that’s for her to realize. The harder you try to control her, the more she’ll buck. That’s not your job. Your job is to guide and support.
I would have liked my father to realize that the way he conducted himself with women (be it his various wives, girlfriends or random women he worked with) has shaped my perception of men. My father is great in many ways, but he is not a faithful individual. He doesn’t even hide it well. It’s made me extremely mistrusting of men in general (something I’m working on) and it makes me sad for him and his woman of the hour (his words).
That if we agree with our mothers or other female family members in a conversation or disagreement it’s not because we don’t respect you. More broadly, please recognize that we have our own minds and can form our own opinions.
My dad always says that I’ve been brainwashed by my mother and/or that I’m disrespecting him if I disagree or qualify on even the most insignificant of things. It can be very hurtful because neither of those things are true.
There is a place between interrogation and silence. It’s called conversation.
Also, no, do not tell me that once I decide to let a boy do something, I’m stuck letting him do that forever.
No, women are not seen as less classy because they curse.
This is more general to parents but I think it applies a lot to girls and fathers. Her feelings are real and valid. The problem she’s sobbing about, whether its a boy or a fight with a friend or whatever, may seem trival or silly to you but she those feelings are so important to her right now. In ten years you can tease her about Jimmy from science class who she thought liked her but ended up asking her friend Alice to the dance. Now is not the time. Don’t belittle her about it. Listen to her, ask her questions, learn about her life. It may seem boring to you but my dad listened to me, he remembered my friends names and would ask me about them. He asked me seriously about what I wanted form the future. And you know what, I’m 25 now and I still confide in my father. He calls me just to chat and I tell him about my feelings and I ask him about his. It only takes one mean joke to put that wall up and it is hella hard to take down.
Edit: Yes, this certainly applies to sons as well. And other relationships too. Treat people’s feelings as valid.
Other Edit: What I think a lot of people are missing is that this does not mean you let your child throw tantrums in public or break things because they are upset. By all means please teach your child healthy ways to cope with their feelings. But don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel their emotions. To shut it down the way they feel. That they are ‘babyish’ or ‘immature’ for crying about something. The rest of the world is going to do it’s damndest to make kids hard, to tell them to get over it. Don’t be that. Let you be the person they can feel fully around.
we don’t t disappear when we hit puberty
Things you say to your little girls stick with them. Don’t make jokes about wishing they were born a boy, or “what am I supposed to do with a daughter?”
Make sure your daughters know that their gender does not make them less valuable to you, and to the world.
If you spend a good portion of your daughter’s childhood talking about how much better and easier a son would be to raise, don’t be surprised when your daughter grows up confiding almost exclusively in her mother and never in you.
This one is for my sister, a girl with a fast developing body isn’t “sl**ty” just because she has big boobs and hips! I was a skinny bean pole in high school and was allowed to wear whatever I wanted even though I actually was sexually active and a party girl. My poor little sister was shy and studious and my dad wanted her in basically burlap sacks just because she was so shapely. Every shopping trip consisted of me grabbing whatever but she would have to come out and do a 360 in every single outfit for my d**k head dad to tell her she looked like a s**t and to get baggier clothes. These clothes were just jeans and t shirts that fit perfect but you can’t hide d cups, a tiny waist, and big hips. Meanwhile I’m in a tank top because I was shaped like a 13 year old boy.
My dad didn’t make me feel loved or valued. For that reason, I spent too many years of my life allowing men to neglect me the same way because it’s what I was used to and “understood.”
If my dad would’ve been a “dad,” I would’ve loved myself a little more. Especially because I didn’t grow up with a mom, and he chose my step-mother over me who treated me just as poorly, if not worse.
Maybe don’t treat us like we were your slaves? Maybe don’t raise us like we are less than a man and then wonder why all of your girls struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts? Maybe look at us as real people that matter to you and not just dish washers and sand which makers?
Also, when your daughters show interest in something look into it. I don’t care if it is girly and not your cup of tea but that activity doesn’t make it lesser and we want you beside us, showing us we matter. Get over your “I’m a man” b******t and just…love us enough that you can put that aside and just spend some time with us.
Speaking from an elder daughter who loved artwork, I wish my dad encouraged me. All I got was my sketch books thrown in the fire for kindling and I was told that it’s just paper and I could just draw more.
Pay attention to their proclivities and encourage them in that direction. My girly girl 4 year old daughter is secretly mechanically inclined, my husband has picked up on it and is teaching her about building, mechanics, math, cars, etc. Even if they have to be wearing princess dresses while building stuff.
That not all girls are born with female genitalia.
Don’t disparage women in front of me. Throughout my life he would always talk about women like they were all shrill dramatic and irrational and it made me very nervous and uneasy around him. All of his friends were also pretty creepy and misogynistic even around me and my sister. Also try to get to know your daughters as a real person. I always felt like I couldn’t be myself around my dad and I get exhausted from being socially performative so it always felt like a chore being around him. Also if you’re divorced don’t openly disparage their mother in front of them, it made me really rethink what kind of person my dad was. Also treat her opinions with respect, my dad always made me feel like an idiot because I was passionate about certain opinions.
That you can’t disappear from their life at age 2 after a divorce, sporadically send gifts after the courts find you after 7 years, and then try to create a fatherly bond when you meet your kid again at age 16. You’re a damn stranger at this point and since I didn’t grow up with a strong father figure presence, random men just stress me out. Basically, be present from the start if you want a good relationship with your daughter. Divorce shouldn’t affect that.
That you are their first and most powerful example of what to look for in a future mate.
I wish he hadn’t constantly made me feel bad about how much money was costing him.
I wish he hadn’t shamed me and made me feel like a burden for having bipolar disorder.
I wish he hadn’t smacked me in my stomach telling me to suck it in.
I wish he’d have just listened. Instead of responding.
I wish he hadn’t called me stupid for becoming so depressed when my friend committed suicide.
I wish he hadn’t beat me and made me feel like I was crazy or I’d made it all up.
I wish he hadn’t tossed me out the second he could wiping himself clean of me.
I wish he hadn’t turned me down when I asked him to take me to the father/daughter dance in HS.
I wish he’d come to my football games to see me in band.
I wish he’d actually been a father to me.
How to be more understanding. Actually to also be willing to play the mom role sometimes since my mom wasn’t around. My father was a single dad. So when I got my period. It was his sisters job or his mom’s job or the school system to tell me about it. My mom was so worried about me growing up without her but she lived rather far and my dad wasnt going to pay for four kids to go see her. When I had my first breakup my dad just told me, “what the f**k are you crying for?”
The best advice I can give you is this: Be there. Be her everything. Be that person she needs when she needs him most. Don’t ever be off limits to her and for heavens sake – don’t tell her that is a “mom” question. She asked you something for a reason. My father hurt me more times than I can count. Now he is gone and I don’t even miss him. Don’t be that person.
That not all girls like playing with ONLY dolls, cooking sets and pretty dresses.
Sometimes we like playing with ‘boy toys too’ like balls, cars and army men
That money doesnt buy love.
That forcing his beliefs to his daughters and using fear to discipline them won’t work effectively in the long run, and also that it might ruin their perspective on men.
That we’re always striving to be as good/better than their sons. It would be nice to be treated the same.
-Learn to control your temper and problem solve instead. Yes, I accidentally took your car keys to my speech meet, I’m so sorry and will try to find you a ride to work, please do not scream at me over the phone for 30 minutes calling me a worthless piece of s**t.
-Understand in teen years we’re already SO self conscious. Even if you’re just making a joke about a zit on the face or eating too much dessert, it leaves a HUGE lasting effect on self-esteem
-Apologize when you make a mistake or overreact. My dad would seem sorry but never actually apologize, just made me lose respect for him and, after a while, just complete ignore his punishments/yelling
I wish he knew that girls grow up and attract someone like their dads. And sometimes daughters pay for the sins of their fathers. So I wished he really coulda understood that and been the first example of a great man and not just a good dad who cried when the divorce to my mom was final because he failed. The black eye I got from my ex looked familiar.
I don’t know how it applies to daughter in general, but not everything he does has to have an agenda of making me better than he is when I’ll be his age. I am not a personnal pet project to work on during off-hours.
He doesn’t need to approach parental authority like he approaches his professional authority as a boss. I’m his daughter, I’ll respect him even if him doesn’t approach me with his intimidating, authoritative, angry character. By angrily coming down on me like I’m some kind of employee who need a firm impersonal scolding just makes it harder for me to communicate and relate to him.
I get it that my things are not always interesting, but I know when he’s not listening and it hurts.
I wish he’d known to a better extent how damaging gender roles can be, and that fulfilling them is not a necessity. I wish he’d known that victims of sexual harassment/assault are never at fault for their abuse.
My father is a good man, and he’s always believed in gender equality, but there are/were points where his words or actions worked against that belief. I’m still working on unlearning some of what I picked up from him–I’m happy to say that he is too.
to always f*****g knock and WAIT before entering my room. one time in HS I was applying sunscreen before putting on a swimsuit so I was naked. he gave a single cursory knock before opening the door. it was horrifically embarrassing.
Not to constantly comment about weight. My parents are both overweight/obese and I guess they worried about that for me. They would comment when I gained or lost weight and I became so self conscious. I was also scared of suddenly gaining 200 pounds like I thought they did so from 6th grade to 9th grade I starved myself. I still was not eating normally until 3rd year of college. I ended up gaining 30 pounds right when I stopped starving or just happen to forget to eat and I still struggle with nutrition. So I guess better eating habits and quality time is important. Sometimes my dad was so busy he would give me money and just tell me to treat my friends and me to things when I wanted to hang out with him (I guess he might have thought in 8th grade up I would be embarrassed to be seen with him or rather spend time with friends but I love hanging out with him! Can not wait to do our cheesy father daughter dance together on Friday 🙂
Don’t comment on the appearances of her friends! My dad used to always call one of my friends a “chubster” when she wasnt around.
No matter how worried you are, never ever read her diary. Ever.
If there’s something that you’re worried about, try talking to her, instead. I love my dad but there’s a small kernel of resentment about that act, 30 years ago.
Honestly don’t try to stick us in pink and blue boxes. Some girls like fart jokes just as much as princess’ dresses.
Daughters are not property.
Make sure she is not afraid to bring home the person she is dating. Encourage open communication about relationships, dating, respect etc. If your daughter is afraid you’re going to be “waiting on the porch with a shotgun” or you’re going to “read the riot act” to whomever they bring home, they are more likely to sneak around behind your back.
EDIT: it’s not the threat of physical harm that is the issue (most people would likely agree they’ve heard of version of this and laughed it off as a joke). It’s the sense of doubt that it creates in young women. The feeling that they are not capable of making good decisions on their own when it comes to the relationships they choose to persue. We keeps preaching that we want our daughters to feel empowered to make their own choices. It starts by removing the need for them to choose partners that meet your “approval”. Instead, empower them by teaching them how to navigate relationships, have the tough and uncomfortable conversations – let them make a few “bad decisions” so they can appreciate and identify what healthy male interaction looks like.
My dad is a great guy! He just said the things that “dad’s were supposed to say” 20+ years ago. It always made me uncomfortable, but I didn’t know how to express myself. That’s what is so great about this thread – when you know better, you do better!
So my little sister is prone to UTIs. My stepdad didn’t know that UTIs, if not treated in a timely manner, can result in a kidney infection. He doesn’t know basic information about women’s health (or health in general) but acts as though he’s an expert. I’m really hoping my sister doesn’t end up suffering because of his ignorance.
Female bullying is different from male bullying.
We’re less likely to get physical, but much more likely to verbally tease, spread rumors, and badmouth others behind their backs. For guys, it’s all about being tough, so they can stop it by standing up for themselves. For girls, it’s about social status, so fighting back just makes it worse.
That treating both daughters equally, while wonderful, doesn’t mean to buy them exactly the same gift at Christmas and birthdays… Especially when my sister is 6 years older than me.
If you choose poker over me, I will choose my life over you.
I love my dad with all my heart. Despite being a proud, hard-working second generation immigrant in Canada raising three kids with my mom, I think he did a pretty good job. He came from a very traditional old-fashioned (aka misogynistic) upbringing of 6 brothers and 2 sisters of Pacific-Islander descent.
So one thing I have always wanted him to understand about raising two girls is that we just wanted to be given a chance. I think he was overwhelmed by the both of us as good academic and athletic opportunities arose. He was worried we would get hurt, waste money, struggle with stress, etc. But every chance he let us take, we flourished. My sister became a great athlete and I became successful academically. We surpassed every expectation he notioned.
He ended up not even expecting the same kinds of opportunities of my baby brother because he was so surprised at his daughters. In the end, my sister and I ended up changing his attitude about women and would even boast that he is becoming a very good feminist ally to me.
Don’t ever mention your daughter’s chest in any context for any reason.
I once entertained my family over dinner with some kind of obnoxious story bragging about something I’d done. I don’t remember what the hell I was saying, but I do remember my dad looking up and asking, “What do you want? A medal or a chest to pin it on?”
I looked down at my still-flat, completely unimpressive chest while my brain rapid fired through a scrutiny of the phrase and could find no meaning that wasn’t suggesting I could choose between a medal or a bountiful D cup. I turned crimson with embarrassment and looked to my mom for help. She lovingly pretended she was deaf and took a swig of her coffee. A long and awkward silence ensued, which the family dog was kind of enough to break by startling himself with his own staccato fart.
My dad was in the Army, so he had a whole litany of putdowns in mental storage. He said this one without considering that his 12 year old daughter would have no clue that the phrase is typically exchanged between men taking shots at each other over a 98 pound weakling physique.
For the record, I wanted the chest to pin it on. Preferably invisible to any male member in the family.
We don’t always know why we’re upset. It isn’t always just one triggering factor. Sometimes it’s 100 little things that pile up. If we’re crying, just hug us and tell us it will be okay. If our hearts get broken, remind us that we are strong and we will survive it. Remind us that you’ll always be there.
That I am worth something. Being a female doesn’t make me worthless. Having different interests and abilities doesn’t make me worthless. May I can’t carry on the family name, but that certainly doesn’t make me worthless. I deserved love, respect, and his time and it wasn’t given.
That the blow from breakups are easily softened by the father’s presence and will to listen and sympathize, or at least this is the case for me.
Breakups would kill me because I have little emotional support from my father and always looked for that in my boyfriends.
I wouldn’t have gone through as much pain if my father was there to say that I was beautiful and capable.
I wish my father knew that I just wanted to spend time with him, and that my tears weren’t something that I needed to “dry up.”
If all of your kids are reporting your wife doing things when you aren’t home that seem totally out of character for her, listen to them. She’s probably a two faced narcissist. It will save you a lot of suffering in the end if you don’t write off/don’t take your children seriously. Don’t enable an abuser.
That while I ~~was~~ am a tomboy I still like to be pretty and sometimes that means that I don’t want to work on cars.
I always felt like I was letting him down or disappointing him if I said no, and then would go help. There were some days I didn’t want to be dirty and coated in random fluids. Because I was a huge tom boy, and wanting to help most of the time he couldn’t understand why there were times I didn’t.
girls can have ADHD