This is why the overprotective dad stereotype must die

Share this article with other mums

Maybe instead of messages of the overprotective dad, we need more messages about respectful young men and independent young women.

We all have this image in our heads of what a typical father is like, tough but loving, and chances are he possesses this fatherly quality—overprotectiveness.

“Like many stereotypes, it is funny because there is a grain of truth in it,” said Christien Organ in her Scary Mommy article. “Ask almost any dad, and he will tell you that he feels a fierce protectiveness for his daughter.”

But like most stereotypes, she argues, there is a point at which the joke crosses the line between funny and outdated, between innocent and damaging.

Christine believes that we have crossed that line.

She has two issues about this stereotype.

On one hand, as a mother to two boys, “it breaks my heart to think that regardless of how respectful, kind, and considerate my boys might be…there will be members of their own gender who assume my sons would be hurtful, conniving, or manipulative.”

Boys are hostages to the idea that they are incapable of controlling their ranging hormones. They deserve to be held to a higher standard.

On the other, “the joke is saying that our daughters—young women—are incapable of taking care of themselves, that they need someone—a man no less—to protect them.”

That assumption, quite frankly, is hurtful, offensive, and damaging,” she said.

Society dictates women to play hard to get, which weakens their concept of sexuality and autonomy.

“This societal role of women as the pursued is sending dangerous messages about sexual identity, control, and personal boundaries.”

Growing up, Christine said she had had strict parents, but in general her father showed no interest in her dating life or the men she was interested in.

It was an empowering experience.

Her parents trusted her to make her own decisions, and in a way she felt secure in the knowledge that she was capable of taking responsibility of her own life.

Of course she made terrible decisions, both with regard to boys and life in general—but isn’t that the whole point, to make mistakes and learn from it?

“When I eventually met my husband, I was confident in my ability to decide for myself that he was without a doubt The One—not because my father would approve, but because I did.”

She ends her article with this killer statement:

“Maybe instead of messages of the overprotective dad, we need more messages about respectful young men and independent young women.

“After all, isn’t that what we expect our children to be?”


If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us!

For Dads only Family Life