I think it’s amazing that people have come to not only realize, but accept, that gender as we know it is a societal construct that has little-to-no basis in biology. Gender is a fluid concept, and there are so many more things a young person today can “be” than a boy or a girl.
That said, for those men out there raising children who identify as female, the outlook can be a bit hazy (and a lot scary) because we all tend to get nervous about the stuff we weren’t raised to understand.
Which is why these 18 women are stepping up to tell dads of girls what exactly they need to know in order to not only survive the next couple of decades, but how to help their daughters thrive in this crazy world, too.
18. Hahaha yes, way to go, Dad.
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)
17. Practical advice ftw!
After you wash her hair, if you have to comb it, start at the bottom and work up… don’t start at the top and muscle through the knots!
16. You words will last a lifetime.
Mi father died when I was 8 years old. He always hug me and repeat : “be always yourself. Be happy. It you have any problem, wake up early and see the sky. Th sunrise gave the inspiration to you to found answers “.
I thinking every father need to hug a daughter plus have her the confort of love. She never going to forget that. I am 65 years old and never forget my father hugs plus his love worlds.
15. Kindness begets goodness, and goodness is magic.
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.
14. Teach her to deal with it herself; you won’t always be there.
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)
13. And if your husband acts like this, set him straight.
There is nothing wrong or dirty about talking openly about things like periods. Learn about things like this so you can be helpful and informative to her when she needs you.
also don’t be the dad who refuses to buy his daughter pads/tampons because it’s “weird” (know someone who’s dad straight up refused all the time because “that’s woman stuff” or whatever)
12. Everyone needs those skills.
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 🙂
11. She’s still your little girl.
Please don’t be super grossed out if you see a pad or something. Every girl will get a period and most will get it fairly young, like 10 or 11 or 12. That means that she is still a child and you might just have to go buy her pads.
It will really make your daughter sad if she works up the courage to say “dad I think I got my period” and you go “ew gross”. She needs someone to talk to when she first gets it and that someone might be you. ALSO some cramps can be so so painful, like vomiting/crying painful, so don’t tell your daughter to “suck it up”.
10. All kids deserve your respect.
No matter the gender, if you want your child to be your friend as an adult, treat them with respect as a child.
Children are children. They don’t understand the world. They will be emotional. Often times. Girls can be the extremes of this. But if you belittle her, refuse to understand what she is trying to tell you and don’t respect her interests, you will hear from her maybe once a month after she turns 18.
Understanding children is hard. Understanding the opposite gender is hard. But making an effort to learn and listen helps you manage both and be a wonderful, understanding dad. You don’t have to agree, but just understand where your child is coming from.
9. Don’t treat her like she’s silly.
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.
8. It’s really hard to undo stuff.
What you do matters. What you say matters. When you say you’ll do something and don’t, it leaves a stinging impression.
7. Teach her to take care of herself.
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.
6. Keep. Your. Promises.
Keep your promises.
I was in second grade. My dad’s work schedule changed so he would be off in the afternoons on mondays. He said we would go to movies on Monday afternoons, just me and him, once or twice a month.
We never went. I never forgot.
5. Accept the teenage years for what they are.
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!
4. Crying doesn’t show weakness – for anyone.
Don’t tell her off for crying. My dad would always shout at me for crying and it always felt (still does) like a terrible thing to do. I find it hard now to process my emotions and feel 100x worse whenever I do cry as it’s something I shouldn’t do
3. Don’t make her feel weird for doing normal things.
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 shit 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.
2. She’s worthy of respect and love no matter how she looks.
Do. NOT. Focus. On. Her physical looks.
Teach her good hygiene. Encourage her to eat healthy and to exercise. Teach her context for why certain clothes are more appropriate than others (“It’s disrespectful to wear short shorts at church. Wear them to the beach if you want, but church is for formal clothes/business casual/etc”).
But for the love of god never tell her she’s too fat or too skinny. Never tell her she’s “lucky she’s pretty”. Never prioritize her beauty over her personality. Never tell her she should wear different clothes for her body type (e.g. “Your legs look better in long pants than in shorts”).
If she makes an effort to look nice, comment on specifics, like, “You did a good job on your makeup,” or, “That dress is a nice color on you,” or “I like what you did with your hair.” That takes the focus off her inherent looks (“You look gorgeous”) and puts it on her effort and attention to detail.
She will get enough self-esteem blows and unrealistic expectations from society at large. She deserves better from you.
1. A lesson best learned young.
Don’t treat her like she’s a precious, delicate flower. The world won’t and she will have a hard time learning that when she’s older. Same with boys, don’t treat them like they are indistructable. Some day they will want to feel vulnerable and won’t think they have a right to do so.
I am someone who identifies as a cis female and I love all of this advice.
There are too many people out there with antiquated views on what it means to be a girl, what it should look like, how we should act, and what the world expects of us.
It’s high time fathers – and everyone else – realize their kids are humans first and girls (or boys or et al) second.