20 Daughters Share What They Wished Their Fathers Knew About Them
A healthy upbringing of a child requires unconditional support from both parents, even if the child and the parent’s genders are opposite. Values between a mother and son, or a father and a daughter might clash against each other, but it’s the responsibility of the parents to set their values aside to let their children grow, without instilling those in them.
In a Reddit thread by MeisterStenz, we will discover how gender roles could get in the way of a healthy relationship between parents and children of opposite genders. Particularly, the sentiments we’ll be reading below are from daughters who wished their fathers had the right mindset for them. Scroll down below to learn about their experiences.
More info: Reddit
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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.
Image source: ScaryLittleLamb, Gaye Ayaz
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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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.
Image source: CaptnBoots, Kinga Cichewicz
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.
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.
Image source: MitziMay, Laura Fuhrman
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
– 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.
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That we can be very sensitive about our bodies/looks once we become aware of them.
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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.
Image source: none4gretchen, Ron Lach
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.
Image source: writingskimmons, Bruce Reyes-Chow
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.
Image source: anon, Nan Palmero
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.
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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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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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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.
Image source: karonhiakatste, Heather Mount
Your children are always more important than your second or third wife.
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.
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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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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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