We’ve been hearing things like, “No one will ever be good enough for my daughter,” or “Maybe I’ll be polishing my gun collection when Tommy comes to pick you up,” forever. And I realize when a father “threatens” a gentleman caller or decides to wear a tank top and puff out his chest in front of all the young men to scare them away from his little girl, it’s supposed to be a little bit of a joke.
But we all know there is some truth behind it. None of us want to see our kids get hurt or taken advantage of. We want to protect them and filter out as*holes, but here’s the thing: As the mother of two sons and a daughter, I don’t find it funny or helpful, and I find a lot of things funny.
This mentality doesn’t give our boys the credit they deserve, and it shows a lack of confidence in our daughters. It sends the message that daughters are their father’s property and they lack the ability to decide whether their boyfriend, or someone who has a crush on them, is worthy of their time.
How can we raise strong, independent females with this attitude? Isn’t who our daughters date up to them to decide? We need to give the young men of the world more credit and wait and see if they actually are going to act like a dirt bag bag before we try and scare them off.
I don’t expect every guy that comes calling for my daughter to be malicious or take advantage of her. I will expect that their parents have raised them the same way I am raising my boys: To respect females, to ask their permission before kissing and touching, to be polite and honest, unless I see otherwise.
And if I see anyone acting in a way that is disrespectful to my child, or in a way that’s completely inappropriate, that’s the time to speak up. I will have a talk with my child (and possibly the other person involved) but I am not going to jump to conclusions and assume before I’ve even gotten to know them that just because they have a penis, they are not going to make good decisions.
As a teenage girl I was just as curious and interested in sex as all the boys my age were. I remember wanting to kiss, touch, and experiment. Even with some boys I wasn’t even sure I liked. No one threatened me or said anything about how I better “behave.” There was never anyone trying to intimidate me into not hanging out with her son.
And it’s just as important for me to teach my daughter to be honest and respectful. I talk to her about not screwing around with anyone’s feelings just as much as I talk to my son’s about it.
Listen, girls aren’t exempt from playing games, breaking hearts, and spreading rumors. They are all just young adults trying to figure it out. And it’s our job as parents to watch and teach as much as we can. But I know my daughter won’t get the instant judgment my sons will as soon as they knock on the front door of their latest crush.
Instead of resorting to threats (joking or not), how about we try to keep all the “bad guys” away from our daughters by raising kids who grow into compassionate adults? Let’s teach our children how to respect themselves enough to walk away from a person or partner who is treating them in a way that doesn’t match what they deserve.
Let’s teach them that just because someone desires you, it doesn’t mean they value you. Let’s give them the tools to know if something feels off it probably is, and they need to stand up for themselves. Self-respect should be equal for all of our children regardless of their gender.
Because threatening the amazing boys of the world isn’t going to fix anything. But raising kids who know their worth, know when to say when, and know how to treat others with honesty and respect is. It starts at home and when we show them what it feels like to be loved they will accept nothing less.