Daddy's little girl - a father's love for his daughter
Tan Meng Wei, Managing Director of Star Learners Childcare Centre and father of 4, gives his take on the uniqueness of a father's love.
Have you seen the video of the father using a vacuum cleaner to style his daughter’s hair into a ponytail? Mothers roll their eyes and fathers think its brilliant.
The truth is that dads are usually the fixers in the family and they will use any available resources to solve a problem. Leave it to us dads to streamline a process, find shortcuts and still achieve, what we believe to be, the same end result. Using the vacuum method, a ponytail can be done in 50 seconds flat. So “where’s the problem?” we wonder.
Not a problem per se but when a mother ties a ponytail, she will sit her daughter in front of a mirror, gently but firmly brush her daughters hair, select the right hairband and adjust the height and tension. It takes more than 50 seconds but this is not just another task on her to-do list. It is another perfect opportunity to bond with her daughter, to talk, to laugh and admire her child.
Shopping with daughters is a minefield for fathers. Not because we don’t like shopping but because the male/female shopping style is completely incompatible. Men shop with mental or physical shoppping list, he makes a beeline for the store, cross the item off his list and he’s done. Its a sprint.
But female shopping is an entirely different beast. We’re talking about a marathon here. Little girls, even those who have made a list, will easily be distracted. They will walk past the item on their list and circle back twenty times before deciding on a purchase. Their daddies will never really be able to understand their love of plush toys and Barbie dolls and lovely glittering things.
This only gets worse as girls mature. As teens their shopping lists include expensive dresses, makeup kits and something called mascara. For fathers, shopping with their teenage daughters is now a fully-fledged nightmare. They do not know what shapes their daughters’ bodies are or what colours complement which skin types. Help!
It is not that fathers are lazy or that they do not care enough to do some research into these things. Here’s the thing – daughters are always going to be daddy’s little girl. Perfect in every way. Just the way they are. Fathers genuinely believe that their daughters are beautiful and there is no need for fancy dresses or expensive makeup.
This is why daughters need their fathers. Daddys can always be relied upon to provide a healthy dose of self-esteem. However she wears her hair (50 second ponytail or not), however independent she has become, she will always remain the precious little girl daddy loves unconditionally.
When it comes to their daughters, fathers instinctively become protective. You’ll find a list floating around the internet that was written by a father to his daughter’s boyfriend. A modern day shotgun, this list details ten rules for dating his daughter. It covers issues from sexual abstinence to treating her with respect.
Fathers may not be the best shopping partners or movie dates or even ponytail stylists but they will always step up and be the heroes who will be there to protect their girls whatever the cost. For a girl, her father is the first man that they will ever love. This relationship will shape her other relationships with men throughout her life.
So fathers, soldier on. Our relationships with our daughters may sometimes be fraught but they know that our love for them is unconditional, even if we do give them a 50 second vacuum ponytail.