There are some tired stereotypes out there about dads and daughters. The trope of the dad on the porch with a shotgun when his daughter is on her first date is all over the place and many think this is the ideal way for a father to parent a girl. I can see the sentiment behind it and I’m sure the natural instinct as a dad to protect your daughter is a strong one. However, actually bringing her up that way will do her no favors as she grows up and works her way through life. It’s better to actually teach her how to handle certain situations rather than hover over her and be overly restrictive hoping that fear will make her do the “right” thing.
This Reddit dad is actually in my camp as far as the right way to go about educating and raising a daughter. It’s his wife that feels he should be very aggressive in sheltering their daughter from life’s every threat:
Yikes. To start with, can we all give huge props to this father? His daughter is only six months old but it sounds like he already has a very solid grip on what it means to be a good parent. It’s his unreasonable wife that might tank things as their child grows up unless she pulls her head out of her rear-end and sees reason. Again, I get the instinct. As my daughter starts looking older and I see hints of the long-legged teenager she will be, I feel a little nervous. That does not mean, however, that I’m encouraging her father or my son to freak out and buy a gun to make sure her virtue remains intact. I feel exactly as this father does — that we are much better off equipping her with the right information and not being overly restrictive with her mode of dress.
As someone who grew large breasts at a very young age and was made to feel they should be covered at all times, I can tell you that this overly protective method did nothing positive for my self-esteem or views on my sexuality. I know my parents meant nothing ill by it and only did what they thought was right at the time, but I am 33 years old and still struggle once in a blue moon with showing a hint of cleavage. As a woman with D-cup breasts, hiding them is nearly impossible but that was always my instinct until I got a little older and realized I had nothing to be ashamed of. Knowing this, I have long told my husband that I plan to be pretty lenient with our daughter and her wardrobe. At the very least, I won’t be vetoing outfit choices because they’re a little revealing. I want no part in shaming my daughter for the body she was born with.
That said, this couple’s daughter is only a baby. They have a long time to find their groove as parents and the mom’s point-of-view right now could just be the result of overwhelmed new motherhood. I know when I first had my daughter, I had many ideas on raising her that seem ridiculous to me now. I hope that the rational viewpoint of her husband helps to change her mind before their daughter is old enough for this attitude to do damage to her psyche. As parents of girls, we need to equip them with the tools to navigate their world. Not stand over them with a shotgun making sure they do nothing “wrong”.