Daughters of reddit, what is something you wish your father knew about girls when you were growing up?

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14 Mar 2018 23:44 - +30338
Guess I kind of consider myself a daddy's girl, so here are all the things I'd probably tell him now. * All those times you just accepted things that were girly without ever attracting any kind of attention to it really went a long way towards helping me build a healthy perception of guys. You never expressed any kind of disdain or machismo when I asked for your help untangling my Barbie's hair or prodding you with magic fairy wands. * You never hesitated to teach me practical skills - and you never attributed gender to them. It was always, "Come over here and let me show you how to snake the drain, because you're going to need to do this." BTW dad, I snaked my first drain all on my own last month! I'm so glad you taught me. * Thank you for bailing me out when I was in a pinch, no questions asked. No guilting, no attempts at squeezing out information. I felt like I could come to you with any dilemma. This took a load of my shoulders because Mom is so reactive and "freak out first, maybe resolve later." * You respect me, which makes me respect you even more. When I call you out on BS, you actually repent and reflect. You don't deflect back on me and pull the, "I'm the parent and know better than you" spiel. * You actually took the time to sit and watch my cartoons or (attempt) to understand my video games or other hobbies. Mom always turned up her nose. You didn't. Do you know how awesome it is to watch your Dad actually laugh at the cartoon your mother just dismissed as "dumb" minutes before? So gratifying. * All those times you went shopping for groceries and picked up ladies sanitary supplies without any hesitation, even if you did affectionately rename the long super maxi pads, "low-salt maxis." * Thank you for all those secret times you let me pick something out of the vending machine to eat when we were on trips together - you knew Mom would never allow it. * You take great pride in "embarrassing me" - but you know exactly where to draw the line so it's endearingly goofy, not genuinely embarrassing. You know your audience and play to it. I feel no shame when my friends (or now-fiance) are around you. * It's okay if your hands were too callused to properly tie my ballet skirt before classes. I could tie it myself. But I didn't tell you at the time because I knew it made you happy to help me. So don't be embarrassed because the fabric kept snagging on your calluses. * I wish you took your dental hygiene more seriously. I think your lax attitude and seeing you lose a lot of your teeth didn't set the best example for my sister while we were growing up. **EDIT - did not expect Gold, yikes!** I realize closing with a comment about my Dad's flossing habits is kind of lame but it was stream of consciousness. I'm getting married in the fall and have been planning on writing a letter to my parents separately, so many of the points I made here I already want to share with him. He's my hero!
14 Mar 2018 23:07 - +25664
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*.
14 Mar 2018 23:44 - +20033
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. **EDIT**: MY FIRST GOLD! Thank you! Was not expecting that. And thank you all for the comments. I'm going to send my Dad this post so he can see what an awesome response it got and how special he really is. 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. :)
15 Mar 2018 00:36 - +18343
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 Edit: extra words
14 Mar 2018 23:28 - +14079
Your children are always more important than your second or third wife. **Edit: Wow, thank you for gold!**
14 Mar 2018 23:57 - +12668
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 shit and we assume being treated like shit is normal. *Edit: my fist reddit gold :3 thanks stranger. And to everyone else, I'm glad to hear this may have given some of you insight into why you or a loved one are the way you are. This applies to all genders and family dynamics.*
14 Mar 2018 23:17 - +11254
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.
15 Mar 2018 00:17 - +10226
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:51 - +9323
I'm a dad who grew up with three brothers. All of my brothers had a boy first. I had a girl first and was terrified of how I was going to raise a little girl. She's 14 now and is awesome to be around. I have been a stay at home dad since she was 6 months old and we have a tight relationship. My son is 18 months younger and I have learned that the big things aren't that different. I think it's extremely important to take an interest in what they love. Their interest may not align with yours entirely, but showing an interest in their hobbies is the best way to connect with them as they get older. Don't try to pick their hobbies or interest for them either. Kids are their own people. If you are looking forward to tea parties but your daughter prefers baseball, get out their in the yard and toss the ball around. If you are looking forward to bonding over football but your daughter wants to play princesses, then get ready to dress up. Just treat your child as an individual. Raise the child you have, not the child you want. Edit: I did not expect this comment to blow up. I'll address some of the concerns I have seen expressed in my replies. 1. Yes, I know I am not a daughter. This wasn't tagged as serious so I commented. 2. Yes, introduce your children to your interest and hobbies. I never said that wasn't important. Sometimes you may even have to push a little for them to discover that they like something. Some of my kids biggest interest have come from my wife and I introducing it to them. I'm simply saying that if your child is interested in something you aren't, find out why they love it so much. I'm not huge on horseback riding or middle school wrestling tournaments but those are important to my kids so they are now important to me. 3. Yes, I like Peyton Manning. 4. Thanks for the gold and the great comments. I am sorry that some of you guys and your parents struggled with this growing up. I did as well and that's why it was important for me to change things with my own two. 5. My wife works as a surgeon while I have gotten to stay home and raise my kids. It was a decision that we made for our family because we could afford it and it was well worth it. You can laugh if you want, but I'm chilling in my amazing house on a Wednesday afternoon. What are you doing? (Note: This isn't directed towards everyone. Just the people who think they know my life better than I do.)
14 Mar 2018 23:26 - +9207
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:45 - +8163
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:46 - +7944
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.
15 Mar 2018 00:00 - +6184
I do not have a bond with my dad. At best hes like... a cool uncle When I was in middle school I stayed with him a lot because his house was right next to my school. He told me I only got my period because my friends had it and I wanted to be like them... however it wasn't all bad because for some reason he thought pads and tampons cost 40 dollars so he gave me 50 every month when I got my period... until my mom ratted me out. Edit because someone called me out for not answering the question. My answer is know about periods and what a girl goes through during puberty. Its fucking brutal. Watch Big Mouth on Netflix. Jk don't watch big mouth
15 Mar 2018 00:26 - +4748
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 shit 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.
14 Mar 2018 23:20 - +2706
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 ass 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.
15 Mar 2018 00:42 - +2058
*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.
15 Mar 2018 00:04 - +1923
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:55 - +1829
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.
15 Mar 2018 00:12 - +1803
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:41 - +1501
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:22 - +1426
Additional Question: What can the father of an adopted teenage daughter do best?
14 Mar 2018 23:41 - +1032
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:26 - +888
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!
14 Mar 2018 23:06 - +783
Don’t tell them that having eating disorders is better than being fat.
15 Mar 2018 00:10 - +742
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
14 Mar 2018 23:19 - +559
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
14 Mar 2018 23:57 - +478
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:18 - +326
I have a 6 year old and only realized recently I am pretty much about as clueless as a man can be about women. Not many female relatives and only have had guy friends. So this is important info.
15 Mar 2018 02:12 - +312
15 Mar 2018 00:18 - +242
My dad is awesome. I remember him telling me once that “the best thing a father can do for his daughter is love and respect her mother.”
14 Mar 2018 23:56 - +226
That his well meaning overprotection would turn me into an adult with very low self-efficacy and fear of change/taking chances/following my heart. 30 and still battling this pretty hard.
15 Mar 2018 01:39 - +192
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 they were 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.
15 Mar 2018 00:32 - +191
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).
14 Mar 2018 23:43 - +183
That we can be very sensitive about our bodies/looks once we become aware of them
15 Mar 2018 00:26 - +147
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.
15 Mar 2018 00:55 - +131
I wish my dad understood more about PMS and period symptoms. He never wanted us (three daughters) to complain about our periods or use having cramps as an excuse to stay home from school because millions of women had their period every day and they were able to go to school, work, etc. I thought my debilitating periods and unbearable cramps were normal and I needed to just suck it up. Except as adults my sisters and I all discovered individually that our periods are not normal. In fact, we have endometriosis which not only left us in terrible pain each month, but also eroded our fertility month by month. Taught to shut up and bear it, none of us talked to our gynecologists about our terrible period symptoms and never sought birth control to help mitigate the damage done to our bodies. Now, two out of three of us have had to go through IVF to have children. My youngest sister assumes she will have to go through the same if she ever chooses to have kids. After my diagnosis and fertility treatments, i was able to get on hormonal birth control to help manage the pain. If I’d talk to my gyno much earlier and gotten on BC, I could have been living pain-free and possibly preserved my fertility. I know without a doubt that I will advocate for my daughter as she gets older if she shows any sign of having endo.
15 Mar 2018 02:30 - +97
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.
14 Mar 2018 23:50 - +83
My dad actually did a pretty good job of raising me as a single dad as I'm pretty sure my step-mother contributed nothing to my upbringing. The only thing I guess he could have done better was been more knowledgeable about what he called "female issues." He didn't really understand periods & cramps & all that associated nonsense because when he was growing up, he was never taught about them and men didn't need to learn. It was just icky to him.
14 Mar 2018 23:59 - +73
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.
15 Mar 2018 00:41 - +62
That I deserved just as much freedom as my younger brothers had and should have been treated the same way. It was never a big deal for them to go out with their friends or have sex with their girlfriends, but if I did it, I was in the wrong. Very very old school mentality.
15 Mar 2018 00:43 - +50
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.
15 Mar 2018 00:03 - +45
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.

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