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An Open Letter To My Entitled Pre-Teen Daughter Who Thinks I Know Nothing About Anything

The following was syndicated from Babble for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

Dear precious, (entitled) daughter of mine,

As you lay sound asleep in the bed I paid for, I’ve decided to take a moment to send you a letter expressing my affection and the overwhelming joy I have from being your father. It’s an awesome gig because you really are an amazing kid and I love being your dad. Mostly I love that with you in the house, I’ll always be reminded of how little I know about the world around me, even though I’ve lived in it for the past 40 years!

Let me first begin this letter by saying, I know. I really do know

I know how difficult it is to go without Starbucks for a day.

I know how tough it is to have us explain the necessity of showering properly every day, or tell you that the gallon of “body splash” you coated yourself with does not replace deodorant.

I know the pressure of not having an iPhone 6 or an iPad Mini like “everyone else in your school.”

And it is totally life-ending to be asked to keep your room clean or place your backpack on its proper hook after school.

And trust me, I totally get the devastation of not being able to watch Teen Beach Movie 2 for the four-thousandth time in a 2-day period because mom and I decided to take a break from keeping you and your siblings ALIVE and HAPPY to watch something that we enjoy on the TV (that we paid for). It was just once though — won’t happen again!

Oh, and it must be tough being told that bedtime is at 9 PM — on a school night, a day in which you could quickly turn into a flesh-eating zombie because you’re sleep-deprived and totally exhausted. Call me crazy.

I also wanted to apologize for not spending a small fortune on Gap or Justice clothing so you could out-do the girl who sits next to you in math class. I figured that since I’ve already spent the equivalent of an NFL quarterback’s annual salary (plus signing bonus) on clothing for you, that we could go with Target this time around.

Bummer that a thunderstorm knocked out Nickelodeon last night. I really wanted you to be able to finish watching that show that oddly resembles the other 78 pre-teen shows that have aired over the past month. I would’ve rolled my eyes, too, when my parents explained that children in third-world countries are simply hoping to have a meal the next day and care nothing about watching their favorite Nick show.

You’re right. You should get to have an Instagram and Facebook account with no restrictions or guidelines! By golly, this is America, land of the free! What intrusive and unfair parents we are, always saying outrageous things like, “the Internet is dangerous,” or “you’re not old enough or responsible enough yet for a social media account.” What were we thinking? If only we were like so-and-so’s parents, you would be so better off!

Already talked with mom. She’s committing to a full-blown search of the depths of her soul for a more humble approach to self-absorbed behavior such as wanting to eat an entire meal without having to get up from the dinner table to get something for someone, or asking you to put away your basket of laundry that she washed and folded in the midst of the other 29 loads she already did. She’s well aware of the soul-searching she has to do, and she thanks you for keeping her on track with eye-rolling and constant foot-stomping. Oh, and it was super helpful for both of us to find out recently that we have ruined your life!

We are working through our parenting issues. We promise.

Love always,


Mike Berry is a husband, father, blogger, public speaker, Taylor Swift fan, Thin-Mint cookie consumer, and fan of slip on shoes. You can read more from Babble here: