There is one thing a dad of a daughter fears more than anything else: BOYS.
I have three daughters.
I am in trouble.
Our oldest turns 10 soon and the talk around the playground at school is already about which boys like which girls. Apparently our daughter has several admirers. She isn’t interested in any boys yet though. I’m sure that will change sooner than I’d like.
The reason I’m afraid of boys is because I used to be a boy. I vividly remember my thoughts and feelings about the girls who were my age. Pretty soon there will be boys thinking and feeling those same things about our daughters.
Undoubtedly there will be arguments with my daughters about clothes that are too revealing, make-up that makes them look too old and appropriate curfew times. Even if I win any of these arguments, there will still be too many boys texting them, taking them on dates, kissing them and wanting to… Maybe I can convince them to be nuns — by age 12.
If not, I’ll have to face reality. I’ll have to face my fears. I’ll have to buy a shovel and a plot of land no one knows about… Just in case.
What I will not do is pretend I don’t know what’s going on and hope for the best. I will listen to them. I will guide them to be strong and confident young women. I will tell them what boys are really thinking. I will make sure they are prepared if they decide to go beyond kissing. Then, I will start taking blood pressure medication.
The bottom line is I think I will be less scared if our daughters get more of their information about boys from me and their mom than anyone else. This means I’ll have to be understanding and empowering instead of strict and forbidding.
More than anything I want our daughters to be happy and healthy. And not to hate me. Well, at least not forever. So, I’ll let them like boys. If they have to.
Al Watts is an at-home dad of four children living in west Omaha. He also is the president of The National At-Home Dad Network (formerly Daddyshome, Inc). He writes regularly for The Good Men Project and Role/Reboot and is co-editing a book project titled “Dads Behaving Dadly: Chronicles of the Fatherhood Revolution.” Read him Wednesdays on momaha.com.