A Mother’s Message to Her Sons On Father’s Day
Gail‘s editorial as it first appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise on Father’s Day, June 17, 2012
I have two grown sons who became fathers to their own sons before they each had a daughter this last year. Since I was a single mother for most of their growing up years I thought they could use a bit of guidance on this Father’s Day. I’m sharing my letter that will give insight to all dads with little girls.
I know you enjoy your son and that you like being a dad to him. Now you have a precious and adorable baby girl. On this Father’s Day please accept your mother’s guidance on fathering a daughter.
Girls are tender. They may seem like their brothers at first, needing to be fed, diapered, bathed, burped, and rocked. However, don’t be fooled into thinking she will just be another kid to add to the team. Girls are sensitive and their dads have a huge impact on the women they grown up to be. Their dads demonstrate for them what a man is. She will see in you what to expect in her future husband, the man who will be the father of your grandchildren. She will learn how she ought to be treated by men from the way you treat her mother and her.
Girls are tender. Here are some things you can do to be the father your darling daughter deserves.
T-Teach her to recognize and only tolerate appropriate touch. She will come to expect respect from others by the way you demonstrate respect for her. And she will respect herself.
E-Encourage her often. She needs to be told out loud and frequently that she is capable. She needs to hear praise coming from you. And she needs to hear your sincere compliments about her worth and her abilities.
N-Never, ever, criticize harshly. Of course she needs your guidance and direction, but not in a threatening way. Speak to her gently yet firmly.
D-Do things with her. Women remember for years into adulthood being with Dad even if for something as simple as grocery shopping. Take her on a ‘date’ night, just the two of you. Your daughter wants to know she is part of your world. She needs to know she is cherished even if she can’t throw a ball or repair an engine like her brother.
E-Explain why carefully. When you must say “No” to her, explain in a way that lets her know it is because you are her protector. And, yes, girls need protection in a way that is different than boys. As long as she understands that your primary concern is her safety, she will be able to accept the limitations that you must set.
R-Remain by her side all the way to the aisle. Stand with her when she faces life’s tough times. Don’t try to make them disappear. She needs to learn how to cope to become the woman you know she can be. Guide her as only a dad can do when it comes to boys and men. So that when you do walk her down the aisle it will be a day of celebration for both of you.
When I was attending Lamar University I recall coming through the door and seeing Daddy sitting in his faded brown recliner. I’m sure he didn’t feel well as the disease that later killed him, still undiagnosed, caused him great fatigue. However, when he saw me his face lit up and he asked me questions about courses I was taking. We would talk and he even read some of the required reading I had in my history class. Daughters look to their fathers as their champions and protector. She needs to know that she lights up your life. Be sure that your face lights up every time your daughter walks into the room.
Research shows that daughters who have secure, healthy relationships with their dads make better grades, have a good sense of self worth, are more confident in relationships with men, and are more likely to complete college.
More important than all the research is the love between a dad and his little girl. The tender love a daughter receives from her dad can cover a multitude of hurts and heartaches. Your little girl will become an amazing woman when she knows her dad loves her unconditionally.
Your mother, who was fortunate enough to have had a loving dad.