An open letter to overprotective fathers of little girls

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This mum of sons has something to say to you...

Dads and daughters. They have a special bond that my husband may not ever know since we have two sons. But I have plenty of dad friends who have daughters and the beautiful connection between them is unmistakable.

If you are a dad of a daughter and reading this, you must know that I admire your relationship with your little girl immensely.

But, as a mum of sons, something that has caught my attention and aroused my curiosity many times has been “the overprotective father of daughters” paternal phenomenon.

This involves those dads who proudly dress their baby girls in onesies that read “I’m not allowed to date. Ever.” (and firmly believe in this statement), or in Gordon Ramsey style, want to install cameras in their daughters’ rooms to spy on them.

If you are one of these dads, I want to tell you that I understand — as girls grow older there may be some males out there who wouldn’t think twice about taking advantage of a young girl.

But at the same time, I want to tell you that there are also mums of boys, like myself and plenty of others, who are raising our boys not to be like this.

Let me use my sons as examples to try and explain to you why you don’t have to pull out your biggest guns if they approach your daughters when they are older.

Yes, one day my sons will be teenagers with raging hormones (and so will your daughters). But this doesn’t mean they will paw at and grab your daughter, given the chance.

This is because they are being taught to respect me, their aunts, grandmothers and female friends — and you can rest assured that this same respect will be shown to your daughter.

It’s wrong to assume that their hormones will take over their beings, because in reality (and you know this, because you were also a teenage boy, once) thoughts don’t equal actions.

I also don’t buy this whole “boys will will boys” statement. When a boy acts inappropriately, many of us tend to brush it off as part of their innate boyish nature.

I feel this is wrong because when we do this, we are teaching young men that it’s okay to act like neanderthals, and worse, that they can get away with it.

So, because I want to raise my boys to be kind, thoughtful and sensitive, I’m teaching them to own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. I’m teaching them to be sensitive to the emotions of others and stand up for those who are vulnerable.

And I am quite certain that they will display this same behaviour around your daughters, too.

So, dear overprotective dad, please don’t fear my sons if they befriend your girl one day. If they do make a slip-up, because they’re only human, feel free to approach them (without your guns, please) and talk to them about it.

At the same time, I hope you are raising your girls to be strong, confident young ladies who can help themselves if need be, without anyone else’s assistance.

Then, you can be sure that if she does come across the odd neanderthal, she’ll know exactly how to handle him.

Yours,

A mum who doesn’t want her sons to be threatened for dating your daughters.

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