21 Women Get Very, Very Real About What Fathers Need To Know About Raising Girls
"Don't treat her like a delicate flower. The world won't."
The relationship between a father and a daughter is one that can be beautiful, special, and unlike any other relationship a woman has.
Well, Reddit user joho3883 asked women to share what today's dads should know about raising a girl, and there are some serious gems here:
1. "You are the first important man in her life, and how you treat her sets the bar for what she expects from men. So don't treat her like a princess or she'll expect a man she can walk all over. Don't put her down or she'll think it's OK for a man to talk negatively about her."
2. "Don't be afraid to cry in front of her — happy tears, sad tears, I saw it all from my dad. And it taught me that someone I look up to for being so strong can also be vulnerable, and that it's not weak to show emotion."
"And don’t tell her off for crying. My dad would always shout at me for crying and it always felt like a terrible thing to do. So I find it hard even now to process my emotions."
3. "Don't lose your shit when she starts needing a bra. She has breasts now — so what? A father freaking out about it will only complicate how she feels about it even more."
4. "Tell her she's smart, brave, funny, strong, and assertive, instead of pretty, beautiful, cute, or adorable all the time."
5. "Don't be the dad who refuses to buy his daughter's tampons because it's 'weird,' or because 'that's woman stuff.' There's nothing wrong or dirty about talking openly about periods. Learn about things like this so that you can be helpful when she needs you."
6. "Let her get dirty, play outside, and make messes. I was always outside as a kid, and some of my fondest memories are playing in the rain making mud pies at my grandma's house."
"Don't stop her from getting down and dirty because that's not 'what girls do.' Let her discover the world."
7. "I know you probably don't want to hear about what happened between Sarah and Kyle in her pre-algebra class or the character breakdown of the latest teen novel, but just listen to her. The moment you dismiss her interests is the moment a wall starts going up between you two."
8. "Don't excuse the behavior of men 'because they're men.' Teach your girls to demand better."
"I was groped for the first time at 9 years old, and my father not excusing that as 'boys being boys' is why I have always been able to recognize that behavior as unacceptable."
9. "When she's a teenager, respect her space. It's a tough time, and it can be really difficult to talk to your dad about it."
10. "Teach her to have good hygiene and encourage her to eat healthy and exercise, but for the love of god, never tell her she's 'too fat' or 'too skinny.'"
"She will get enough self-esteem blows and unrealistic expectations from society. She deserves better from you."
"And never joke about her weight. My step-dad did this, and I hated myself because I thought that's how everyone felt."
11. "No scaring off boyfriends, unless they absolutely deserve it."
12. "Teach her to give a solid handshake and eye contact when she meets someone new. It'll go a long way to establish herself in a first impression."
13. "Make sure to teach us 'boy' stuff, too! My dad taught me how to drive a tractor, change a tire, hang drywall, and fix things around the house. These skills have come in handy many times over the years, especially when I was living alone."
14. "Keep your promises. When I was in second grade, my dad was off Monday afternoons. He said we would go to the movies, just me and him, once or twice a month. We never went. I never forgot."
15. "Don't treat her like she's a precious, delicate flower. The world won't."
16. "Never prioritize her beauty over her personality. If she makes an effort to look nice, say, 'You did a good job on your makeup,' or 'I like what you did with your hair' instead."
"That takes the focus off her inherent looks, i.e., 'You look gorgeous,' and puts it more on her effort and attention to detail."
17. "Every father needs to hug his daughter. My father died when I was 8 years old, but before he died, he would always hug me and repeat, 'Always be yourself.' I'm 65 years old now, and have never forgotten my father's hugs."
18. "Don’t write off her feelings as ‘drama.' It’ll teach her to keep everything bottled inside until it explodes."
19. "Value your daughter more than you value her virginity."
20. "Criticism kills your bond. Who she becomes and your expectations of who she will become might collide, and if you choose to handle those differences with criticism, you will lose your relationship with her."
21. "And remember — we'll never stop being your little girl, and there's nothing like the bond between a father and a daughter. So just kill that damn spider and don't give us any shit for it!"
Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.