- Family and Parenting
From the father of four daughters
What no sons?
I guess I always saw myself as someone who would someday have a son. I just never though I would have all daughters. After all, I was the rugged type, loved the outdoors, loved just about every sport known to man, didn't have a feminine bone in my body, so of course I would someday have a son. Wrong. My youngest and last child is now 16, the last of four daughters. And before we go any further, let me say this, having all daughters was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I grew up in a family of three boys and one girl, my sister and I were the middle children, I was the second, she was the third. Although I know my parents tried their best to maintain an even playing field, as you may imagine, the boys usually won out. That applied to TV shows, family activities, you name it, however I do have to give my parents credit, they always did their best to make my sister feel special. And it paid off.
What, advice from me? Yes, from me.
So here I am, possibly the most unlikely candidate of all, in a position to give you advice on how to raise a daughter. I know many times I've been accused of being thick headed, stubborn, you name it, but here's the thing, I was actually very perceptive and I was really learning some very valuable lessons over the years.
You are the pillar of strength.
Probably the most important job you have as a father to a daughter is to let her know you are there for her. Daughters need a strong male figure in their lives possibly even more so than sons. They need to know that no matter what obstacles in life they may face, dad is always there. Your strength builds her confidence, It's like a quarterback with a good offensive line, he knows he is going to have time to look down field and find the open receiver. He isn't panicking, he isn't nervous, he's confident. He's going to run through his check offs and find the right receiver. You are your daughters offensive line. With you in front of her, she is confident, she is empowered, she knows, my dad has my back. That confidence will stay with her her entire life. Let's face it. It is still a man's world, for a woman to make it she needs to be confident, she needs to be strong and you have the ability to give her the confidence and strength that she will need.
Who will she choose to date or possibly marry?
Do you realize the impact you have on the choices your daughters make when it comes to dating and eventually choosing a partner? Who do you think sets the standard for how she should be treated? Where does she formulate her opinion of what qualities she seeks in a companion? It comes from you. Unfortunately, you can teach her in two ways. You can show her the right way or the wrong way. See, here is the problem, if you never instilled a sense of confidence in her and by example all you have ever shown her is how not to be a great partner, guess what kind of guy she is going to end up with. Yea, not the guy you would have hoped. So what can you do? Easy, set the example for her. Treat your wife the way you want your daughters to be treated. Set an example for how a man should treat a woman. You may not realize it, but you are setting standards and expectations that she will embrace and adhere to for the rest of her life, so set the standard high!
They are smarter than you.
You may not realize this, and I certainly would never had realized this had I not raised four daughters, but they are , at times, smarter than you. This thing called a woman's intuition is real, it works, I don't know how it works, but it does. Now this will apply to your wife as well as to your daughters. You can't really trick them. They are like walking lie detectors. They know when you are bluffing, they know when you are serious. They know when you are acting, they know when you are sincere. Now here is one of the more baffling aspects of the woman's demeanor, they don't consider signs of emotion, such as crying at a movie or even tears of joy as a sign of weakness. In fact ,when you show such signs of emotion, they seem to respect you more for it. So I guess the lesson here is to be straight with you daughters, they will respect you for it. It isn't always easy, I know I always felt that if I open up too much I may be showing too much of my hand, but the thing is, they are not playing against you, they are playing for you, so give them the chance.
In retrospect, having all daughters has helped me grow as a person more that I could have ever imagined. Did I have to give up all the things I loved because they were not the things my daughters would have enjoyed? No, I did my things. Did I have to do them by myself most of the time? Yes, but that's OK, I still did them. My girls were true girls, they liked to do girl things. I tried to get them into the activities I enjoyed, but it just wasn't in the cards. My wife and daughters still do allot of "girl" things together. Do I feel left out? No, because, I now have my daughter's boyfriends, fiancees and husbands that I do things with, and, because of the influence I had on my daughters lives, they chose partners who's interests and values were very similar to mine. So I never had a son, but I now have a group of guys I would be proud to call my sons, so I guess things really do work out in the end. We fish together, we go to sporting events together , we do all the guy things you would expect, And I hold just a little piece of satisfaction knowing I helped bring this group of guys into my daughter's lives.
One final note. I don't in any way want to diminish or detract from the tremendous impact my wife had on our daughters lives. The intent here was to provide the prospective from a father's side.