Raising kids comes with a whole lot of responsibility. We want to have our little ones grow up knowing they’re loved but also equipped with the tools they need to lead happy lives. And those differences are replicated across gender. How do you raise strong, emotionally-in-touch boys, and girls who are resilient and know their self-worth?
These questions have plagued parents for decades. But perhaps the answer is best found in the grown-ups who used to be little kids. That’s probably why one Reddit post, a r/AskReddit thread that asked what women wished their dads knew when they were younger, has gone viral. Redditors flooded to the comments to give their advice, and honestly, it should be required reading for every parent.
Reddit user travelingjay posted in AskReddit posed the question: “what’s something you wish all fathers of girls knew or could do?” And the thread went viral with answers that ranged from tips to help dads bond with their daughters to advice that could make a world of difference for when those little girls grow up to become women in the world.
“How you treat their mother, whether still together or not, matters a whole lot,” meggymeg12 wrote. “Treating your daughter as number one and treating your wife like crap causes a very weird duality and struggle that’s compounded when you start looking for a partner.”
Reddit user VarlaSantana wrote: “Realize that your daughter will have a totally different experience than you with the same people,” they said. Adding that “‘Nice’ people may treat YOU with respect, but they may not treat a young girl like that.”
“Try and see if they have an interest in things not specifically generated towards girls,” suggested manicpixie. That’s a great reminder for all parents. “If you change your oil, or are handy around the house/do any woodworking etc., ask if they want to help. My dad was very girls are girls growing up. I’d have loved a head start in areas he was knowledgeable in, that I’m currently interested in,” they continued. Doing things together is a great way to grow that bond, even if it’s changing the oil in the car, and it helps give girls practical skills in stuff we all have to deal with in life.
For midwest_vanilla, they wish their dad knew that it’s OK and healthy to show affection to their daughters. “Show them an appropriate amount of affection, so they don’t go looking for it somewhere else when they’re not really old enough,” they added.
Let her be her own person and grow up, PersonMcNugget advised. “Accept the fact that your daughter will not want to live like a nun, just because you can’t handle the thought of her being a sexual person.” The continued, “Threatening every male that looks in her direction is just gross. Prom photos of you standing behind her with a shotgun…super gross.”
Many chimed in to say that the words dad uses to talk to his wife and daughters matter. Choose words carefully, stay away from offensive insults. It’s sad how often this advice came up but an important reminder nonetheless. The entire thread is full of great advice for dads, but also for parents in general.