My dad was the best ever and will always be to me, despite his habit of chasing away our “gentlemen callers” by screaming at them from the living room window. Who could blame him? He had three daughters and was always worried about ill-intentioned boys hurting his perpetually little girls. He had to protect us because no matter how hard we work to rewrite the narrative, the world is still a far more dangerous place for women.
However, the gender equality argument is never going to gain any solid ground if parents do not give their female children more room to grow freely. Female empowerment for millennials wouldn’t have been such a tough sell if parents and teachers had begun indoctrinating kids from a young age.
It’s a beautiful thing for a father to look out for his female children, but it would make more sense today if he considered their budding individuality. It’s high time the overprotective-dad-wielding-shotgun stereotype was put to rest, and the loving-dad-discussing-safety-with-his-girls image takes over. Instead of telling your daughters to come running to you whenever someone disrespects them, why not teach them how to handle themselves in such situations? It bodes well for a girl’s confidence and self-reliance when she can command respect from other people without mentioning her father.
According to renowned American poet J. Warren Welch, dad to three girls and stepdad to two more, his rule for his girls at dating age is simple – they make the rules . As long as he’s done his bit by teaching them about safety precautions and how to defend themselves, it’s still their lives their bodies, and the decisions are entirely up to them.
She’s the boss of her own life
Welch posted his pictured words on Facebook in September 2017 with the caption, “I ain’t raisin’ no princesses.”
Here’s what the hands-on dad wrote: “You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy possessive badass in order for them to be treated with respect. You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place. Good luck pumpkin.”
With over 68,000 shares, 10,000 reactions and 2,100 comments on Facebook, the post went wildly viral as many parents were introduced to a better perspective. Welch’s post isn’t implying that parents shouldn’t have a say in their children’s affairs, but remember that they won’t remain with you forever. A time will come when they’ll have to look out for themselves and the transition from daddy’s overprotected little girl to an independent woman isn’t as easy as most people think. It’s in the best interest of the girl child to allow her to explore her individuality from her teenage years, safely but firmly.
It all boils down to communication. Instead of talking to your teenage girls, parents can do better to talk with them. Listen to them and they’ll listen to you. You’ll always be worried about people with bad intentions getting too close to them, so teaching them to boldly defend themselves in every situation is imperative. Despite natural limitations, the female child is still a powerful force to be reckoned with. Parents need to always remember this.
Welch believes his post was received so many positive reactions because the idea of caging girls is beginning to fade away in modern times. He wrote in an email to Upworthy: “I think [the stereotype of the overly protective dad] really is rooted in a genuine protective instinct that any good father SHOULD feel toward their daughters,” he writes in an email. “But it can also plant a mindset in our daughters that they need a man’s stamp of approval on major decisions they have to make.”
- “This dad’s ‘rules’ for dating his daughters are perfect for 2017.” Upworthy. Evan Porter. Retrieved October 8, 2020.