A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband)

Untitled-Father-and-Daughter

After stumbling across destructive advice, licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan writes a letter to his daughter about what really matters in a relationship.

Dear Cutie-Pie,

Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”

It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.

And I got angry.

Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”

Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)

If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.

I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.

I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.

I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.

I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.

I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.

I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.

In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:

You.

Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.

Your eternally interested guy,

Daddy

♦◊♦

This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.

I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”

I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.

And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.

 

This post was originally published here.

Image credit: patrick_bird via Compfight cc

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About Kelly Flanagan

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Wheaton, IL. He writes and blogs regularly about life, love, and community at his blog, UnTangled. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Comments

  1. Beautiful letter and post, Daddy. I wish all daddies understood the importance of their relationship and building into their daughters from the time they are young. It is beyond critical. Your post reminds me so much of a a great new, actually renewed, book we’ve been reading. Great for all dads of daughters. We’re loving it, so I have to share… It’s called “She Calls Me Daddy: 7 Things You Need to Know About Building a Complete Daughter,” by Robert Wolgemuth. Originally released in the 90s, it was a best seller. His girls are grown up and give their own input along with their husbands who are daddies to girls. I understand 40% of the book is new material. It’s so unique in this way. Robert puts the anxieties of Daddy raising his girl(s) to rest, guiding you through challenges and good times – protecting, conversation, affection, discipline, laughter, faith, conduct. So great for helping daddies learn to lead, love and cherish. I highly recommend it!

  2. Suddenly, something nicely put always turns into a religious battle. Will you all, no matter what religion or belief you have, cut this bullshit and enjoy the wisdom that was displayed on this page? It’s because of simple minded people such as some individuals who always tend to bring ‘god and jesus’ and so forth into a picture the moment it doesn’t fit right with them. Stop shoving your beliefs and religions down other peoples throats and just enjoy what’s put out there. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it and leave others to their own faith. No one is raised the same and taught the same, nor should they be ridiculed because they don’t agree or see from the same point of view as you. If religion has taught you anything, it should be that we’re all one and we’re all connected. No matter what aspect of religion you look at, we’re all children of another and you are part of them and they are part of you. Point a finger and 4 point back at you. Enjoy it, stop criticizing, no one here is telling anyone how to raise their kids. Those of you *cough Lori *, if you were told raising your daughter Christian is just ridiculous and no one should even believe in shit like Chris and God, you wouldn’t feel good about it, so why do it to others. Stop being one of THOSE Christians and just let it be. If you REALLY believe in your faith, there would never be need for you to prove anything.

  3. Thank you for writing this… I did not have a dad like this.

  4. I’ve just re-read this letter, but in the gender reverse (i.e. replacing every “he should do this” with “she should do this”).

    Do this mind excersise yourself, and ask whether the letter would have been so positively received as it has been here.

    Then ask yourself whether we have equality.

  5. Some of these comments??? I can’t believe the beauty and sincerity of this article has been so easily overlooked.
    It’s such a shame.
    Anyway, this article is awesome mostly because it is genuine and heartfelt. It is a gem because it is exposing the lies in magazines etc. Mind you, I do not plan on marriage or any kind of romantic relationship, but this is truly valuable. Thank you Dr. I had to figure out my worth on my own, no one really told me but God-willingly I made ok choices and ended up valuing myself very much. This is really sweet – Iove it.

  6. Why must religion be always discussed? I was raised in a strong faith Catholic family. I would love for my future wife to be Catholic, but it is not the most important thing. This man hit it right on the head. As long as a man is strong in values and merit, what else is there? I have believed for a while that as long as a person respects my faith and acts within the basic laws of Christ, which every man of any faith can abide to, that is a good person. Treat each other fairly, do not steal, lie, cheat or murder. Act in compassion and love, not hate or anger. Forgive. Why can’t we act this way?

  7. I’ll have to disagree. While being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a good person and not being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a bad person, it’s quite it important that two people who intend spending the rest of their lives together and raising children together; it’s important that they have the same fundamental values, not just about right and wrong but also specifically about religion.

    For example suppose a couple has a teen child. Suppose the child has a big test/exam coming up on Monday and one of the “Good” parents, who’s not religious, feels the child should spend Sunday studying so as to be ready for the exam. But suppose the other “Good” parent feels the child should rather dedicate Sunday (The Sabbath) to the Lord and that the Lord will help them to remember all that they had been taught and all that they had already studied. Now to the irreligious parent this will sound like complete nonsense and he knows (or rather thinks he knows) that there is no God and that no-one and nothing can help that child pass more than spending more time studying. To the religious parent it is utterly ridiculous to even question the existence and power of God.

    Another example: in the Mormon faith they believe that a family can be together forever. Some other faith’s believe in “death do us part” and other people believe there is no life after death. Imagine one spouse looking forward to an eternity with the man/woman they love while the man or woman they loves sees nothing beyond the few decades (if their lucky) that they will have on earth.

    That’s just a couple of many example of the importance of having the same fundamental faith: whether it’s Christian, Muslim, atheist, scientologist or whatever it might be.

  8. I agree with what this man has said. I think it is important for everyone to understand the importance of unconditional love. It is important to learn to give it and it is important to learn to receive it.
    I do just want to say that while love should not need to be earned in a marriage, marriages are not built on love alone. Strong marriages are built on service, respect, sacrifice and communication and commitment. Those are all actions. Those are things this man’s daughter will have to do to keep her marriage strong. She cannot just sit by and expect to be loved unconditionally. I don’t think it’s what he meant but I just felt I needed to clarify that.
    I remember a talk given by a leader at my church about the love of God. He said it’s better to be trusted than to be loved.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @Thanda: “She cannot just sit by and expect to be loved unconditionally. I don’t think it’s what he meant”

      I don’t know if that’s what he meant, but the article sounded dangerously like it: “the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.”
      On all the points, the author mentioned what the guy should do, but never what her daughter should. Thus, all the burden seem to fall on the guy’s shoulders.

      I’m sure the author had the best intention, but the message to his daughter sounds very close to entitlement: “You deserve to be loved without doing anything”.
      Yeah, in theory that sounds dreamy… but, to me, it smells like narcissism as well.

      • Valter said it best. I am a woman raising a little boy, and I would send him a similar, albeit different message.

        This letters reads like something someone wrote primarily to get attention. I apologize for sounding so cynical, but the letter is laden with lovely ideas, sentimental images, and poetic devices which all actually amount to very little in an actual romantic relationship. Perhaps he didn’t write this letter so that women can gush all over its warm and fuzzy sentiments. After all, he is right: it is sickening how many “what can you do to nab your guy” advice is trolling our girls today, all the while boys receive virtually no “advice” of this type. However, it’s detrimental to tell someone (who is already loved by her parent) that she simply needs to “be herself”. I did that throughout my twenties and I had to learn the hard way that all my relationships failed because my temper tantrums were inexcusable, I had the tendency to place blame in my partner before I examined my own behavior, my interactions with guys lacked loving warmth and intimacy, my words when communicating with guys rarely involved positive messages to them about who they are and what they meant to me, and so on, and so forth. A relationship is a two-way street. I intend to tell my son to be the best he can be, and that he should appreciate and cherish himself for all the efforts he’ll put forth in self-improvement. Of course, if his partner does not see all those thoughtful efforts, then yes, move on. But the effort of examining one-self is a constantly evolving effort, and the lessons you learn from this intellectual growth is the heart of maintaining a loving relationship.

        • Part of being yourself is accepting others just the way they are. Don’t try to chenge them. And if the decide to leave, you didn’t “fail” – they wanted to leave! Gosh, you guys need to learn how to be happy on your own, or you’ll never make someone else happy…

        • Ah, people, why do you always always have to lament about something that hasn’t been said in a post, e.g. the girls behaviour towards the guy? This is a highly positive letter with an idea which has been explained in detain by the author – its not implying that a girl/woman must expect a guy to deliver without reciprocating in the same manner. It emphasises just one moment from all the relationship dynamics – the importance that a guy/man respects the girls/womans personality and acceps it. Way too many young women and girls don‘t hear the things that have been said in this lovely letter, even growing up in loving families (e.g. my parents were never good at vocalising such things and I had to learn all that in a way of trials and heartbreaks). Theres nothing about entitlement – its all about knowing your own worth, so that you don‘t end up in unhealthy relationship, where you are required to change (not just make normal compromises) in order to be „loved“.

  9. What a beautiful letter you have written. Your daughter is blessed to have a father as loving as you are. Thank you for writing this letter to all of us girls who’s father won’t and don’t care to be here for us. You made me cry. I just had my 3rd little girl and my husband adores them all so much. I am so thankful that my girls will always know unconditional from their Daddy.

  10. Brooklyn says:

    Wow! These comments are absolutely ridiculous! This letter from a daddy to a daughter is hate free, beautiful in every way…. There’s nothing but positive loving words! Goes to show that haters will hate no matter what! Instead of looking at the positive you all try to dissect it, trying your hardest to find something wrong with anything! Get a grip! Religious or not! Who cares….! I hope that kind of man for my little ones! But most of all I hope they don’t grow to be a hater… Finding the negative in people because they are so insecure and unhappy with themselves they have to find something wrong with anything and everything. Open your eyes!!!

  11. Samantha says:

    Wow. I don’t think for one second that this guy intentionally left out anything… People, quit being so sensitive! The bottom line, he wants her to be loved and respected and cherished… As long as those requirements are met, he doesn’t CARE about gay straight black yellow white Christian or not! Stop reading between the lines… There is NO hidden agenda here, just a wonderful letter written from daddy to daughter. End of story.

  12. That’s what makes a real dad! Alot of great points in this letter. Came across this article on Evan Marck Katz blog and thought i’d continue reading it. glad i did! 🙂

  13. MMGomez says:

    “I don’t care if he is a she..” its the only thing I think is missing in that letter, and probably the exact same thing my dad lacks of don’t caring.

    • that’s exactly right. Thank you pointing it out. My grandmother immigrated to the US in the 50’s and had 9 children. 4 of which then married people of radically different racial background and one who was gay. Her love and acceptance of non-traditional norms (especially in the 60’s and 70’s) has earned her a place of utmost love and respect in our family. She was, and is, the most loving, open minded person I have ever known. Point is, we need more parents and grandparents who set aside societal fears, and embrace their children for whomever they aspire to be and to love.

  14. Strangely Familiar says:

    You know, I understand the point this man is trying to get across, but I think he went about it in the worst way possible. Once upon a time, my parents told me the exact same thing. That one day, I would meet the man of my dreams. That we would settle down and have some kids, and life would be a fairy tale.
    Well, five years later, I moved two thousand miles away because I couldn’t stand disappointing my family anymore. I’m never gonna have that perfect white-picket fence my parents want for me, because I’m gay. Also, childbirth is just about the most horrifying thing I can think of, so not planning on having kids any time soon (which I have repeatedly been told is just a phase, and that some magical maternal instinct will kick in “when I’m ready”). So for all you nay-sayers who think that we should be looking at what he MEANT to say rather than what he actually said, let me tell you personally, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t feel worthless for the bulk of my childhood because my parents were abusive -they weren’t. They were good honest people who did a great job raising me. I felt worthless because that wasn’t enough for me to turn out right. No matter what, I’m never gonna give them the future they wanted to give me. Why? Because that future involved a man.

    • He can’t think of every thing, but it’s good not to settle for someone who treats you bad. A fairy tale would be a handsome, rich prince which this guy isn’t saying is important. You can still “turn out right” if you don’t have a man (or woman), but if you choose, choose wisely. You can’t always please your parents, you do the best you can for you, and you can’t control another’s disappointment.

    • Who says you did not turn out right? You being who you want to be, how you want to be and with who you want sound right to me. People who can’t accept and love you as you are, are not worth your time.

    • So the message to you is… know that you are worthy of interest. Right now, you are not feeling your worth. Live your life… the way you feel is right. Don’t let these creepy, sad Christians or people’s expectations bring you down! I don’t. To me, love is love… it’s regardless of gender. Take that, hateful Christians!

    • Jennifer G. says:

      7 Iyar 5774

      Hi:
      Our father was a bit of a tyrant, and will never forget the time when he said, “When you are in my house you do as I say, and when you are married, you will do as your husband says.” Not in my lifetime.
      Or he would bleat “When you have children you will understand.” Never was interested in that, knew at age 11, this gal would be forever childfree by choice. He looked a bit stunned and once had the nerve to bleat that it would be nice to have grandchildren, and all I could think was “Better shop at the Grandkids store, ’cause my brother and I want no part of that.”

  15. Technically it’s the man who gives her the child, not the other way round. But that’s just a nitpick. Actually I agreed with pretty much all of it

  16. Who is he praying to, the God that he doesn’t care if his future son in law believes in? If you are Christian, you definitely care if your daughter finds someone she is equally yoked with. I tell my daughter it is one of the most important things.

    • Or she could find someone and introduce him to Jesus. Stop being judgmental. Not everyone is raised with knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    • It’s because you speak your beliefs so harshly that people get driven away by Christianity. (I don’t mean to single you out, Lori, but I have poor wording so please excuse it.) I respect your point, and can even agree with it… But it’s because you lack compassion, even I feel a bit resentful.

      Obviously you tell your daughter this out of love and concern, yes? So where is that love now? Do you post this to spite the man, and others?

      I can understand you being a bit up-set… But please don’t post things like this with such rude commentary. God loves each and everyone all the same; just because you’re a believer, doesn’t mean you’re any better than anyone else. Thank you.

    • You are so wrong. I’m currently dating a girl who did not have many Christian values at all. It is because of me that she has found faith and the community of faith has grown once more. Even if she did not come to know God in God’s essence as I have come to, I would still love her, so too would our Lord.

      • I’m happy for you! But please don’t say it was because of you that she found God – in the end, all credit goes to Him… God used you to bring her to His truth, that I am sure of… However, it wasn’t you alone who did it.

    • To be honest, I respect that you have found faith and it helps you, but this idea that somehow a man of a certain faith is the only one who will bring your daughter (or woman in the case of a son) happiness is kind of ludicrous. Being close minded is one of those very traps that good people fall into when it comes to things such as marriage and finding love. It doesn’t matter what “God” they worship but whether or not they believe in and practice some of the core values that all humans should share.

      Ultimately, religion is extremely subjective, and Lori whether you like it or not, people of every faith in the world will continue to believe they have the truth. But if your daughter found somebody who truly loved her for who she was and possessed the qualities that would keep him faithful for the rest of their lives, would you really care about something like “faith”? At that point, the fact that he is a good human being who truly cares for your daughter should easily trump the fact that he is of a different faith.

      Responding to this beautiful piece with close mindedness and a blatant statement about religious similarities dictating a peaceful happy marriage (which in some cases is true, but in other cases not true) simply reiterates the point that Kelly Flanagan makes about the lack of credible advice about the topic he has chosen to write about in the first place. Because of so many misguided preconceptions, we end up perpetuating negative aspects of society. When it comes to religion, you can believe anything, but there is no verifiable truth that any group actually holds the truth; it’s just something we take on faith (and some people choose not to believe). Ultimately, the one thing we can ALL agree on are some of the universal values that benefit all of humanity and if a man possesses those and is able to see past the material, HUMAN constructs that we have built between ourselves, whether they be racial, socioeconomic, cultural or religious, then this man should be deemed worthy of marrying your daughter regardless of his religious affiliation.

      • And I would like to amend the fact that this love can be found between a woman and a woman, or a man and a man.

    • That’s just lame. It’s not up to her to keep him interested, but it’s up to him to do all the job and to treat her like a princess. What is that a fairy tale?

      • The way I read it, I don’t think that’s quite what he is trying to say. I think it’s more about finding someone who cherishes and respects all of who you are, not someone who will ask you to change any part of you that makes you, well, you. And about respecting yourself. It shouldn’t be your job at all to alter the essence of your being to make yourself more appealing to your partner.

      • Where does it say he has to treat her like a princess? if you think loving someone everyday for who they are, respecting them, valuing they heart and mind is being a princes.. If you think being humble, loving, compassionate, and sacrificing and working hard to give someone a a good honest is just treating them like a princess…. I am pretty sure you will never have a healthy, mature , true,relationship – you will never understand what its like to out the person you love before you… … trust me none of those things are lame.

      • Jennifer G. says:

        7 IYAR 5774
        A bit late, just saw this, but where, in that article did the man state that “it’s up to him to do all the job and to treat her like a princess?”

        That article was spot-on, and I say this as a female who has been reading this cal [with a great deal of laughter] most of my life: Always aimed at the gal, this is the hairstyle you must have, make him feel masculine, and remember that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach [stupid, stupid], so learn to cook, bring him a drink [forget about his ever getting her a soda] and have the beer chilled just right, or to sum up: Be a good droogie, a slave, anticipate HIS needs and he will be your prize. That’s pathetic.

    • Excuse me, but if you are a christian, all you care is that he will act like one, live like one, been a loving husband, a nice person, a good father and a nice human been. Thats all. Religions are made by people, but nice actions are just as christian as going to church every sunday.

    • Wow! This was beautiful! Thank you so much for writing this!
      I have come across books and websites that tell you who to be, how to be, how to
      “catch” a man! Its SO SAD!!! All one has to do is be themselves and love who they are!
      and only be with a man they receive love from! This was wonderful specially written by a man! Thank you!

  17. People need to start calming down and stop looking into points that haven’t been made on this letter.
    It’s a beautiful piece of writing and it is what it is. It’s not implying more than what it is saying and everyone should take from it whatever they feel appropriate.
    Stop making it about yourself guys. I totally agree with what he’s saying given that not so long ago (1950s) women were ‘expected’ to behave in a certain way around their husbands and portray a certain image to ‘keep them interested.’ So much progress has been done since then and women now have a much more powerful voice and vote.

    Well done Dr. Flanagan!

  18. Speaking as a woman who’s dad never played an active role in her life, I think this letter is lovely. Every child should hear words like these. Words to encourage them to be themselves and happy with who they are. We all should just take this at face value…it’s a letter of acceptance and love from a father to a daughter. Nothing more. Nothing less. It seems this little girl is blessed.

  19. Hi people,

    For whoever gave comments about feminism and all that, you have really lost the plot!

    I think should should read David Deida’s ‘Dear lover’ & ‘The Way of the Superior man’ and then you will understand that it is not about genders.

    Have a great day everyone 🙂

  20. I love this. Thankyou. There are beautiful men all over the world who would love to be a Daddy, not all of them are. Please enjoy the blog I wrote about it here:

    http://deannetindale.com/the-forgotten-ones-want-to-be-dads

  21. I wish that’s the advice my dad had given me. His was useless:

    “Try to make the man feel like he’s the dominant one.”

    ????

    And why would I want to marry a man who wants to dominate me? Thanks dad!

  22. Awesome read. Not just from a little girl standpoint of emotional support from a Dad. But from the striving standpoint of little boys seeking to understand manhood at an early age.

  23. David May says:

    Thank you for this. These are the messages I tried to instill my daughter as she was growing, comments best distilled what I said to her when she twelve or so and really looking at boys for the first time: “If he doesn’t worship the ground you walk on, I want to know why.” Today, her wonderful husband’s motto is the old addage: “Happy wife, happy life.” I think the message got through.

  24. It is not my interest to discuss if the letter is heterenormative or not, the spirit of the letter is clear and undestandable. But i do think that you cite a thing as really important and then you completely miss it, and i want to ask your permission to add it as complement to this beautiful letter (sorry about my english): You told her, at the end she JUST NEEDS TO BE HERSELF, but you dont talk her about how to be herself. You dont learn how to be yourself just by respecting how your parner vote or not, who he/she prays for or not, etc, You learn to be yourself when you understand you should keep hunting your dreams despite how many times you fail, and failures hasnt anything to be ashamed of, when you understand you have the right, or obligation, to ask again when you didnt understand, that you need to defend others when they’re being attacked just for being themselves. You grow when you ask yourself why do you really dress/dance/talk/think the way you do and you have the enough bravery to ask others and hear them why do they dress/dance/talk/think the way they do. You won’t become yourself just by doing the things in the way you want to do them, you become yourself by confronting why have you or havent you done the most important things in your life, taking decisions about those feelings and commit to act upon them.

  25. Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”

    Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

    I hope he also tells his son the same message…

    that it will never be his job to keep a woman interested, make her laugh, make her feel XYZ, prove himself to her etc, because women will know e’s interesting.

  26. All I can say about this wonderful post is that if my daughter who lost her daddy at age 10 feels that this is a letter he could have written to her; it is good!

  27. Big boii says:

    Honestly I have to say, when I become a father and if I have a daughter the last two things that you said don’t matter defiantly do. First he should be in some sort of Christian church, and I would never let a daughter of mine date a foreigner or a black cause that’s just not right.

  28. This is simply about parental love and is all encompassing across cultures not because parents are trying to raise saviours of the World, but because parents are trying to raise good happy normal people who will naturally undertake all cycles of normal human life, progeneration included.This is about just very simple pure deep love for one another, how to recognise it and how to reciprocate to such love, that a parent is trying to introduce his ‘little girl’ to and it is so clearly and well stated. It also indicates, what ever the circumstance enroute through life love must remain central. How does that effect any emancipation or enslavement except to help, heal or reaffirm, I fail to understand. Lovely thoughts, thanks for sharing, Doc.

  29. Kelly, this is a beautiful piece and thank you SO MUCH for writing it. Thank you for my daughter’s sake and for my own. This is a lesson and a truth that needs much review and reflection.

    To those who are concerned about the heteronormative tone: my daughter began showing her preferences before she turned 1 year of age. She played with women and flirted with men; in other words, she happens to be hetero. I believe that the good Doctor here is likewise aware of his daughter’s tendencies.

  30. Daddy's disappointment says:

    My happening upon this was a miracle. Those of you who want to hate on his views let me give you a little insight.
    My dad didn’t force ideals on me. But subconsciously, as with any parent, he had unspoken ideals. I was his little tomboy and when my baby brother was born and he finally got the boy he wanted I got shoved to the back burner. Never living up to what he wanted. IMPLORING God that I might have some insight to what he wanted me to be to be in good graces again.
    Four weeks ago to this day, when I happened upon this letter he and I had a series of terrible fights in the preceding days and the pressure of those along with losing the two men I have ever loved – that like dear ole daddy were attractive but never gave me the attention I needed- I attempted suicide cause daddy told me I ruined his life and he wished I wasn’t around anymore.
    This very weekend. I went on a date with a type daddy wouldn’t approve of. A guy who wasnt the “type” I’ve always sought to please pops. And he was a perfect gentlemen and was all about my happiness. Even after a night out drinking with his friends when we were both hungover I have back issues and got sick but he sat up with me as the sun rose and watched a Disney movie with me and played with my hair until i was able to fall asleep. But as soon as I got back from my weekend with this phenomenal guy. I was ready to run cause I have no idea how to handle a man treating me this way. Daddy never has. And never will treat me like a princess and the guys he’s always approved of haven’t either.
    But my sister had happened to email a link to this.
    And it has changed my life. I’m blocking out daddy’s disapproval and all the guys he would want me with and giving a real man a chance.
    So thank you, to the man who wrote this. Thank you for showing those of us with daddy issues that there are good daddys out there and we can have a man who isn’t the jerk our father was.

    • Your note touched me in a way that few have. Never, never be afraid to care or be cared for. You may sometimes be disappointed but that will fade and you will still be left with knowing that you cared. It is a two way street, and the reward is happiness.

  31. I think the general content, emotion, and dedication this father has for his daughter is THE most important thing here; the fact that he is in her life and wants the best for her is equally important as well, and every father should instill this in his daughter’s life, and possibly every woman that he knows life. Why must it be broken down into some political, separatist, anti/pro thing? Why can’t we just view it for the message and the sentiment?

  32. Atypical says:

    Why aren’t more mommies writing letters to there little boys? Why are men so obsessed with the future men in their daughters’ lives? Why can’t little girls just live their life without feeling the pressure of finding “a good man” from the day their parents find out the baby is a girl? Just curious.

    • Why are men so obsessed with the future men in their daughters’ lives?

      Because that is part of the job description. It is one of those little codicils in the contract that feminazis would like to see excised. However, it IS a man’s job to care about and guide the welfare of his children and for whatever reason father’s tend to be protective of, and dote on, their daughter’s more – just as mother’s tend to dote on son’s and worry more about their guidance and upbringing. However, it is specifically in the job description of a MAN to be protective of and caring for his children. And I won’t say what I think of men who don’t as I doubt that kind of language would be acceptable.

    • Having been around lots of different people from different areas of life, with different sexual preferences and gender identities, I’ll tell you this: the people who scream the loudest and pick at everything we say the most are usually equally as narrow-minded in some other facet of life. You can act all accepting and caring for others with regards to sexuality and gender, but it would probably only take chatting with you for a day to find that you hold racist attitudes, or maybe you’re just generally a dick. Get off your soapboxes, and see the positive side of this warm, caring and open-minded parent. He’s not perfect but he’s clearly willing to learn!

  33. Roberta Grant says:

    Some of the most important words that I have given to my daughter and granddaughters and all single females in my circle. How does he treat his mother? If he treats her like a Queen you can be assured he will treat you the same way.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Roberta:
      What about a man who treats his mother like a Queen, but she still treats him like a servant?

    • “How does he treat his mother? If he treats her like a Queen you can be assured he will treat you the same way.”
      No no and no. I don’t always treat my mother with utmost respect, I have told her off before (because her throwing a can of pringles at your head tends to get you voicing disapproval). Not every mother is respectful, there are mothers who are abusive and children of those mothers that have lost respect and do not like them at all…but that doesn’t mean they hate women or won’t love their daughter. Get the full story before judging how someone treats their mother. Pay attention to how they treat ALL women and ALL men.

      • kashdoller says:

        Yes I agree. A man’s relationship with his mother really doesn’t have much barring on his future relationship with women. There really isn’t much correlation other than what you might expect from being raised by a woman.

        But the fathers relationship with his daughter has devastating impact on her future relationship with men. It’s so critical and this is because society is filled with open, nurturing, women in positions such as babysitter, nanny, teacher, etc. A woman’s father on the other hand might be her first and only example of what to expect from a man. Society is filled with women in such roles, men not so much.

      • I both agree and disagree. What I disagree with is the implied idea that an abusive mother can’t inflict harm on the son and affect his ability to relate to women – which is the implication kashdoller ran with below. In some circumstances an abusive mother will affect the child’s relation to other women – for instance I recently read a thesis where male victims of sexual abuse were interviewed and in this thesis the victim’s of mother-son incest all related how that negatively impacted their ability to have a normal sexual relationship with a woman.

        In other circumstances the abuse doesn’t impact the man’s future relationships with women to any significant degree.

  34. Call the PC police!!! Something as personal as a letter to a small child, a DAD has to watch his words so as to not offend someone else. Pathetic at best.

    Kelly, you write your letter any way you want. Go out and buy your daughter the most frilly clothes, Barbie Dolls and even a toy kitchen for her bedroom. NO ONE has the right to tell you how to raise YOUR daughter.

    One other thing, I’m happy as hell that you are part of your daughters life. Good for you!

    • Well said Tom.

    • Heteronormative all the way…

    • Exactly! It’s amazing how those who won so many freedoms because of other people’s tolerance are themselves intolerant of others. If you believe in being straight teach your kids to be straight. If you believe in being gay, teach you kids to be gay. And if you don’t think it matters then teach them it doesn’t matter.

      And whatever you teach your kids they will eventually grow up and become whatever they want to be. At that point you will obviously have to accept them and their choices as they will be full grown adults.

  35. nah, grace is 100% right. this letter is a very comforting message, but it is heteronormative. let’s add a “doesn’t matter what gender they are, or if they are any gender at all! as long as they respect your gender orientation.” to the letter. lgbt+ youth need to hear something like that way more than anyone needs to hear “doesn’t matter their religion” or “doesn’t matter who they vote for”. the homelessness rate of kids isn’t ridiculously high for kids of the “wrong religion” or “the wrong vote”.

  36. I’m surprised that with such feminist ideas you are giving your daughter that you are enforcing such heteronormative ideals on her. I started to read your letter and was impressed by what you were saying until you began to talk about how one day you hope she will find a ‘boy’ who will love her etc. For one thing, I think it’s more empowering to be telling her that she should be able to be strong and empowered without being in a relationship at all and if she finds love then that is wonderful but that she can be happy on her own. She may also fall in love with a woman, or a man, or with both. I can’t believe that you are not allowing that as an option. You also mentioned “when she has a baby”… What about empowering her by telling her that not every woman has to have a baby? She may want to have a baby, she may not, but she should at least know that she has the choice. That would be really empowering your daughter.

    • Carrie says:

      You need to chill out. You’re totally missing the message. Someone needs to give you a big fat hug!

      • Actually, you’re missing the message. What he doesn’t say here is as important as what he says, and the assumption of his daughter’s heterosexuality is a burden every LGBT can relate to. As a gay man who grew up in an otherwise loving home, this assumption is soul-crushing. It made the love I felt conditional, and it left me feeling broken. If this letter seems benign to you, go check out an organization like The Trevor Project. Listen to the stories of kids, some of whom come from homes filled with good intentions, and get enlightened. Children need to feel they are loved unconditionally. This sweet letter to his little girl might be the one thing that haunts her throughout her childhood.

        • CaptLex says:

          Well said John and Grace. It made me sad to see that he left out the same things you mentioned and I hope his child is never hurt by it. Some people will never get it.

        • Melinda says:

          I think you’re all missing the message. He was answering the ‘sexism’ type guidelines. If he writes a letter in the future addressing anything else I would assume being the great example of a father he is he will say simply I will love you no matter who or what you find yourself being. The ‘sexism’ type things he was directly addressing relate directly to ‘male female’ I don’t think he was leaving anything out, merely addressing, very eloquently, ONE point in many that you have pointed out that there are out there, if he went into the multitudes of different things she could become in detail and individually addressed them all THE INITIAL POINT WOULD BE LOST there would be to much information. The initial point in the entire message is BE WHO YOU ARE. Surely before anyone bags this poor guy out, bashing him for not addressing their particular issue they see it really covers the point he will accept her no matter how she turns out, he just wants her to love herself, and know she is valid, worthy and perfect the way she is, that’s the point he’s making. Every human needs to hear that. You could argue till the cows come home that he should have addressed it to sons too, or gay or transgender or disabled There are so many. I know it’s hard to be different in this world in any way. I am disgusted at some types who cannot accept others for what they are. And I wish the world was not this way, but cynicism and pulling things apart and demanding your spot in the sunshine really does nothing to help this. You can’t draw the assumption that someone rejects you because your not personally mentioned. Walking around with a chip on your shoulder feeds the beast your trying to slay. I say let him speak as it is they are great words that moved me. We should not put such pressure on everyone to be so overly politically correct, if we do we risk losing a great speech like this out of fear to write incase someone gets offended. RELAX. So long as you accept yourself, it really does not matter what others think.

        • I disagree. With a dad like that, his daughter WILL get the point he’s trying to make regardless of whether or not she decides she’s gay. You don’t need to be sexy to keep anyone interested. THAT’S what he’s saying. There’s no need to think through EVERY possible situation his daughter could encounter, always write things like he/she or “if you love a man OR a woman”. It’s quite simple. He addressed a topic he found disturbing; he mentioned that he works with a lot of women who may have felt this way (given he’s a psychiatrist); that is all. Nothing complicated.

        • I’m LGBT, both transsexual AND gay and a parent.

          Regardless of what this girl turns out to be (LGBT, straight, mother of 10, mother of zero, etc) I think if she has an ounce of brain in her head she will understand exactly the point that her Dad was trying to make with the letter. The real point is that Dad wants a mate for his child who puts his child above all else. That’s the point. Daddy here wants a strong daughter who is confident and that is what is really important. I would tell my daughter similar.

    • kashdoller says:

      Hey Empowered ,

      I’m with Carrie, you need to calm the hell down you got yourself all worked up with empower this and empower that. Mother of god do you think he’s raising the next dictator of north Korea or something?

      reality check: he’s a father raising a _girl_. Naturally we assume as fathers, due to the nature of things, that she will eventually end up with a man and likely bear children. that is what women have done since the dawn of time, right? in fact if they didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because humans would of gone extinct.

      it isn’t of a fathers nature to encourage his daughter to become this tyrant empowered fire breathing beast like you seem to have envisioned.

      Now I’m pretty damn sure if she _did_ turn out like to be the angry lonely unfilled empowered woman you seem to have glorified with no kids, and she went through life single, empowered and all that dictator stuff, he would love her just the same. But it is not in the NATURE of things for that to happen. Why should he have to account for every breathable possibility when he raises her? If you do that, you get vanilla, because the possibilities are endless.

      Face it — If I had to bet my marbles looking at it like this: she being a girl raised in a traditional family from highly educated parents __in all likelihood__ will end up in the very same position herself as an adult married to an educated man with a nice little family. If not – then fine.

      If all the women decided to become maniacal empowered juggernauts like you seem to want, we will go extinct. Right?

    • I agree: it’s heteronormative. I also don’t like that it might convey a message of complacency or apathy, because just about anyone who has had a positive, equitable, and long-term relationship knows that it takes work. My daughters’ worth and validation do not depend on whether they have significant others, kids, or great jobs, but here’s the issue: *if* they decide to pursue such things, and they decide to base satisfaction in each on positive relationships, they will need to work for it.

      Just about every human being is worthy of interest, and I agree that it’s important that one know this about oneself. But self-validation and in the context of a relationship are two separate issues. If we’re talking about the former, yes, this article is correct, but the problem is that the article stems from an original article about the latter. In that light, it’s crucial to understand that neither his daughter nor her hypothetical partner(s) will be obligated to remain interested in a partner who does not work at the relationship. Each must make the self available to the other side, or else there’s no engagement, and it will usually be difficult for the other person to see what’s worthy of interest. No person should grant romantic interest without cause, so each of us must make a continuous effort give a loved one cause to love us. Because really, could you blame a person for losing interest in someone who has stopped trying, even though that someone is still worthy of interest?

    • The specious “heteronormative” criticism is just that – specious. Hetero is the norm for about 97% of the general population depending upon whose numbers you use (different studies give different numbers but even the most generous (inflated) estimates would put about 93% to 95% of the population in the hetero category and no more than 5% to 7% in other categories). So reality, what a concept, is that the odds are about 19 to 1 that his daughter will grow up in the majority percentage. Deal with it.

      What is important is that he loves and cares. As long as those two are there any revisions can be easily sorted out.

    • Delores says:

      I must say that I love this letter that he wrote to his daughter and will be sharing and tagging mine in it, along with my son. I in fact have 2 daughters one of which is gay. I didn’t take it in any way other than a father of a young daughter ( too young to know her sexual orientation) telling her that she is worth so much more then she will find on the Internet! That she is worthy of a partner (man or woman) that treats her like gold and love her more than anything!

    • I second the motion. Though I am sure his intentions are good, as are hopefully most parents’, he is making a lot of assumptions of how his daughter wants in her life. Marriage? Children? Husband? It would have been enough to say that anyone worth her time and attention would be willing and eager to give it without overt manipulation on her part born out of the constant fear of rejection. She will hopefully learn this anyway through her interaction with him as her father – if he stays fast in his support and affection regardless of the decisions she makes for herself in her life.

    • Kepperkid says:

      I agree, it would have been nice to have a little “I don’t care if ‘he’ is a man or a woman”, but I also think it’s not necessarily sensical to hate on the letter for that. Sometimes, we have to take it one battle at a time, not try and cram all of the messages in there at once. Theoretically, if she values herself the proper amount, she will continue to value herself after discovering her sexual preference, and really that’s all her daddy is asking for.

    • Honestly I believe that all he is trying to do is tell his daughter that love is not conditional and that she should not have to work to keep his interest because she should have it anyway because she is just being herself. He is not saying she has to have a baby or she has to marry an guy. He is telling her that love is not all the sexual favors you can give him or how you make his danm sandwich it is about so much more than that yet at the same time it is so simple. If someone asked me what is love my reply would be simple a heart beat. That’s all you really need. No matter who you are there is something that you love or even somone. And if they really and truelly love someone its not because the brought them a beer instead of a sondwitch and its deffinlty not because she gave him or her the prefect blow job or ate them out. Its not about what they can do for you its about supirting them through everything and never turning your back on them. Sorry for the grammer not really my stroung suit.

  37. Larimer says:

    Wow…….

    One thing can be seen by quite a few of the responses Kelly… you’re never going to be out of work……

    I imagine if Kelly had a son the letter may have been a bit different…. And as for someone posting a loving letter to their child and being told…not asked, told… they should write one for boys is just sad. Sad because even though you see a need… as a man father or not… you choose to keep your own voice silent. That teaches little boys more than anything a woman could do.

    Mind you given the comments I’m not surprised.

  38. truthbetold says:

    What if she’s not girls, not guys?!!!! I mean cool, but you’re projecting your expectations even if they are nice ones.

  39. What a loser. Why not save this letter for her when she can actually comprehend it, or even better, when she is 18?

    Just another pathetic attention seeking person trying to gain viral credibility.

  40. That’s very loving letter and thank you for reminding some of very sweet things & advise my dad gave me once. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  41. Momma Bear says:

    Thank you for this. I read this while holding my sleeping baby girl and think it is beautiful. Her father didn’t/doesn’t want a girl so I will be saving this for her because someday a daddy’s words will mean something to her and these are good words for her to remember.

  42. I have 2 young daughters; 6 and 9 years of age. No sons; I was told my daughters chose me so I could learn about female energy as I only have brothers and a mother who has no interest in me as a person.
    After reading the letter, my thoughts were that the author was reminding his daughter about the fact that she is a special and beautiful individual and that she should just grow up to be herself and trust that no matter what she chooses in life, that if she is true to herself, she will be happy. So often, people lose themselves in relationships trying to be someone or something that they are not. Life is about balance and finding those who support you and will walk beside you no matter who they are.

    • I think we also project our own prejudices and assumptions into the words and works of others, and as a result lose the point of the letter. Thanks for reeling everyone back in, Kate.

      The reality is that MOST of us are heterosexual, MOST of us view a marriage relationship to be important in society, and MOST of us have no clue on how to have a healthy marriage. A big part of that may be that we have lowered self-concepts thanks to socialization through a variety of media.

      On the flip side, I can see a counter letter brewing for the son who expects his future wife to make him a sandwich or grab a beer so he can watch a game on t.v. with the guys. She’s a life partner for life, and your equal in every way! (I’m saying this as a husband and a father of both a boy and a girl.)

      • While it is true that homosexuals are a minority, there is still a chance that your children or this little girl will be gay. Don’t you think you are showing them more love by at least letting them know that ‘some people’ fall in love with people of the same sex so that if that is how they feel later, they will at least feel as though they are valued for who they are? And that they don’t have to be miserable trying to conform to what you think ‘most of us should be doing’? Also, don’t you think that by telling your children this, they will then have a more open-minded and loving attitude towards others (who may be gay, or in any other minority)?

  43. Not buying it says:

    Sweetie, take him for all his got because you deserve it & more then likely you will get to keep the house, my grandchildren & more then half of everything if you play your cards right, with blessing of society & enforced by the courts, remember there’s a sucker born every minute who will lick your boots when you’re grown.

    • Not buying it either, I feel your pain. How do we fix this?? We all see it, our moral compass off tilt.
      Please don’t be the silent majority…time to speak your mind.

      How can we talk about connection, when our courts and pc society discourage men and women and kids and grandkids from connecting?

      • Not buying it says:

        Joan, thanks for the concern, I believe a strong robust anti-feminism movement is needed & necessary here in the west, while the MHRM is a good start, what is needed is a strong clear message informing & educating the general public about the realities of the gender relations & expose the demagogues of feminism for what they really are, again thank you for your concern & sorry for not getting back to you sooner, I have to work three times as hard to stay alive & afloat financially due to family court obligations, which are hopefully coming to an end soon.

  44. I love this letter. I wish my dad was more encouraging an supportive like that. I hope your daughter finds the value in herself as we all should. We are all human and simply want to be loved and be happy. Your letter has certainly made me think twice about how I view potential boyfriends. If we give value to ourselves then we can give value to each other. At least that’s how I understand it.

  45. George says:

    A letter from a dad written by a woman… strange

    This concept of today’s individualistic society that everyone is inherently interesting bothers me. Many people are not and the fact they’re told they are, stops them from trying to improve themselves.

    Both parties in a relationship have to adapt at least a bit to try and keep the other person interested. People change over time so it’s quite possible a couple grows apart. It would be too easy to just proclaim “this is who I am, take it or leave it”. Trying to adapt and trying to keep the other person interested would significantly reduce the number of divorces.

    • George says:

      Then it turns out Kelly is also a man’s name….
      Well, I was wrong there. Point taken.

      • Jameseq says:

        not only ‘also a man’s name’ – kelly, like about 20 other western eng language names, was originally a man’s name.

        in my lifetime(im 38) ive seen hillary, lesley become women’s names. ashley as a male name hangs on by its finger tips, here in the uk.

  46. I love this letter from a father’s heart….that it is written from a father that so wants his daughter to be in the world knowing her worth and knowing she is loveable and worthy of love…

    None of us know what life may bring this precious child, but this we know… She has a Daddy that loves her…

    That is good medicine for her, for her daddy, for us, and for the world as it reverberates like a stone cast into a pond…We don’t know who i will touch or how it will touch others, but the stone is so obviously cast in love…

    Thanks through the tears, thanks from the heart that recognizes love…

    sparrow mattes

  47. Mom of 3 says:

    I would like to say this is a wonderful letter. It is NOT meant to imply ANYTHING but a person deserves respect from their partner. They do not need to do something to keep them interested… IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE GENDER SPECIFIC… Because it goes BOTH ways and ALL ways… Please take the nature of this article instead of picking it to pieces about hetro and homo sexual relationships. This father loves his daughter and believes that she deserves someone who loves her unconditionally. Also stated at the end of the article… it was written for his wife, and anyone without a father figure… I appreciate it as I wish I had someone to give me that information many years ago. THANK YOU.

  48. This is a great letter from a father to a daughter about how _he_ feels. As a letter to a woman about how her relationship should go, it’s terrible. You are wanting her to be treated like a princess who only takes and never gives. Why should she not keep him interested? Should all the heavy lifting in the relationship be on his shoulders? Electing to a place of honor? Are you kidding? She’s a person just like anyone else. She not royalty, an angel, or a deity. She deserves no more honor than he does within the relationship.

    I dated a woman like this once. I was expected to do nothing but “make her happy”, while she sat there and did nothing. I learned a lot from that experience and got out of that relationship by the skin of my teeth. I can tell you though that I learned to steer clear of those type women as they will mistreat, use, and belittle the men in their lives.

    • Jimbo & Jax, your theme is echoed throughout many men’s stories. To be fair, I don’t think the author is sending the entitlement message to his daughter. I think he’s sending a message of love and belongingness, because women deal with self-worth issues just like men.

      BUT, you’re right. Women need to be taught how to be giving partners and helpers, not just how to be good receivers. Another man on this site said it well. He said, some women he’s dated take up all the emotional space in the relationship and it becomes an emotional tapeworm that he’d constantly feed…he felt he was doing all the heavy lifting and always helping her.

      I liked his tapeworm metaphor, because emotions are like tapeworms inside of us; emotions are unstable, ever-changing, and need monitoring and feeding. The fact is emotions and feelings are human; women do not corner the market on feelings. News flash, men have feelings and need their feelings validated too.
      My hope is that you guys stake your claim in relationships and not subordinate your feelings to please her all the time. Moreover she’s not afraid to say, how may I help you? When you find a woman like that…spend the rest of your life spoiling each other.

  49. Rochelle says:

    I have saved this for future reference. I have a 9-year old son and often think about the ways I can steer him toward being the kind of man I would want my (non-existent) daughter to marry. Although I’m constantly informed by professionals (teachers, doctors, etc) who interact with my son that he is not of the “cookie cutter” variety and is indeed a giving and sensitive boy, as a parent I always feel like I can never do enough to help shaping him into an adult. Thank you for sharing a very well-written part of your personal life and thoughts with us. Your daughter is fortunate to have you as her father.

    • kashdoller says:

      ” I have a 9-year old son and often think about the ways I can steer him toward being the kind of man I would want my (non-existent) daughter to marry. ”

      again….like is stated above…..therein is the essence of the problem. This whole attitude this mother has regarding her son without her realizing it pretty much sums everything up for me. It goes right in line with the other commenters who were complaining about how all the letters to sons are about how not to be rapists and how the letters to daughters are about how precious they are.

      Here we have a mother who admits to giving a great deal of thought all the time how she can shape her son into a husband that that would be good for a daughter who doesn’t even exist!

      So let’s think about this. Kelly (who seems like a level-headed good man from as far as I can tell) writes a letter about essentially his daughter accepting herself for who she is and as the title suggests for her (future husband). No where in the entire article does he even once mention his daughter as a future wife. The word isn’t muttered once. That’s because he was more concerned about her as a little girl growing up into a woman.

      Do you see the problem here? The mother above seeks to mold her son into a husband that her non-existent daughter would want to marry (I’m assuming she meant qualities and not insist). The message is the same and it is this:

      Boys/Men’s purpose is so serve women. Girls/Women’s purpose is to find a man worthy enough to be a husband to them.

  50. I reckon the responders to this letter could find fault with a rainbow ! Great letter Kelly !

    • wellokaythen says:

      Goddam rainbows. Who decided that green was the middle color of the rainbow? What a stupid, pointless arbitrary way to organize the visible spectrum. I would have done it totally differently. Red should be in the middle and green at one end. And no violet. I had a bad experience with violet once, so I think it should be completely banned.

  51. Teresa says:

    Kelly,
    Thank you for this letter. All children need this message from their parents. They need to know they have worth and are cherished. Sadly, not all children receive that, and not all parents know how to give that knowledge, having never been told themselves. This is a message loving families send without words. We can’t truly love anyone at the deepest level if we never learned how to value ourselves.

  52. I really love this letter. I would like to be such a husband and to have such a wife as well. Would you consider writing another version of this for husbands? I believe men struggle, though differently, with self-worth issues too. That would definitely be helpful for me to read!

    • So-G, Good point. Whilst teaching our girls how to have high self-worth and not focus so much on “keeping their husbands interested”, we need to be teaching boys the same message. Boys need to know that they don’t have to continually impress their wives to be unconditionally accepted, respected, and loved. Basically teach about unconditional love and how to show respect for each other.

      I think a “letter to a son about his future wife” would be helpful for me too.

  53. Brandon says:

    It’s weird. I like this letter, but it stirs up so much cynicism within. Tired of this theme that women are better than men and perfect just the way they are no matter what. Especially when we’re told we need to do all these really difficult things and be a certain way in order to get a girl and absolutely nothing is expected of them except apparently to be as self-absorbed as possible. Especially when they say they want to be treated like equals. Just so tired of it all.

    • Brandon, when you started off by admitting the tension between liking the letter but also being cynical, I instantly liked you. Continue to be true to yourself in that kind of way, honest about it, and articulate like this, and you will meet a partner who loves you without you having to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

  54. Danielle Paradis says:

    That was such a sweet letter. I will continue to ignore the bitter dudes in the comments and leave with a good feeling.

    • Danielle,
      Who is bitter?

      • wellokaythen says:

        And why is everyone so down on “bitter” anyway? Why can’t it be a feeling, just like any other feeling? It’s part of the full spectrum of human emotions. Once we start to ban some feelings from being expressed, then we start down the path to some really twisted social interaction.

    • Call me bitter if you’d like, Danielle, but this “daddy’s special little princess” attitude was what made my ex-girlfriend believe she had the right to emotionally abuse and cheat on me for pretty much the entirety of our relationship. And the “men are inherently monstrous” attitude that society has about men and boys was what kept me in the relationship the whole time, taking her abuse. Because I felt, that since I was a man, I DESERVED IT.

      Frankly, I think I’ve earned the right to a little bitterness.

      • Jax, I just wanted to take a moment to affirm you. Boys/men are also inherently worthy of love and belonging. I hope you meet a woman who appreciates how special you are. Try not to let your bitterness get in the way of being open to such a woman. Blessings to you, brother.

  55. Will the Psych-dude sternly instruct his little Princess that she must remain “interested” in her husband no matter what he does or becomes?
    To ask the question is to answer it. Why would any guy with options make a binding committment to a spoiled, super entitled person like this?

    • It is interesting that all the “letters to sons” are basically “don’t rape her” and all the letters to daughters are “make sure he knows you’re special.”

      What does it say about us as a culture that we basically treat boys like they’re inherently monstrous and only constant vigilence on their parts will keep them from becoming a werewolf, and we treat girls like they’re made of diamonds and any man would be lucky to have them, regardless of how they actually act?

      But, whatever, I’m jaded and a cynic. It’s probably too late for me anyway.

      Incidentally: https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&q=how+to+keep+her+interested&oq=how+to+keep+her+intere&gs_l=hp.3.0.0l10.1096.6103.0.7204.22.13.0.9.9.0.184.1475.4j9.13.0…0.0…1c.1.11.hp.hvVJT96KFgc

      • It’s never too late for anyone.

        But I look at it the opposite way. What does it say of a culture where we still need to tell young men and boys not to rape girls and we still need to tell girls that they matter as people? Whether we like it or not, there are a lot of news stories about boys raping girls. I’m not saying that the other way doesn’t happen. But we all hear the stories of bright young men with their futures infront of them messing it all up because they didn’t know how to properly interact with young women. And as a woman, I see countless messages and articles about how to “make him happy”. Maybe you aren’t asking the question in the right direction Jax. Just a thought. Or maybe I’m not. Or maybe there is truth to both our sides.

        • Egalitarian says:

          >What does it say of a culture where we still need to tell young men and boys not to rape girls and we still need to tell girls that they matter as people?

          Actually, women often rape men if you properly include being “made to penetrate” in the definition of rape, and many men feel they don’t matter as people. So why not tell girls not to rape or tell boys that they matter as people?

          • “So why not tell girls not to rape or tell boys that they matter as people?”
            Cuz society, and yes even many mothers n fathers, really don’t give much of a fuck about them. We recently had major stats show that level of abuse was huge, yet most media was silent on it, major feminist organizations that are usually first in line to scream bloody murder whenever new stats for rape are released STAYED pretty fucking silent on the real level of abuse against men (most I saw only said 1 in 71, because they fail at reading past the cliff notes or prefer to use sexist versions of the word “rape”).

            The day I see a mother telling her daughter to not rape someone, especially a man, is the day I will go buy lotto tickets. I’ve seen maybe 5+ of these articles written to young boys to respect women n not rape, and not a single one from a mother (or even father) to her (or his) daughters. That says a huge amount about societies view of men.

            “What does it say of a culture where we still need to tell young men and boys not to rape girls and we still need to tell girls that they matter as people?”

            That society cares about the rape of women, and since women being told to stop rape doesn’t really happen yet women rape men a lot then it also says society doesn’t care much about the rape of men. Women are privileged in that society actually gives a flying fuck about their victimization and does something about it.

        • Erin: “What does it say of a culture where we still need to tell young men and boys not to rape girls and we still need to tell girls that they matter as people? Whether we like it or not, there are a lot of news stories about boys raping girls.”

          Doesn’t the fact that these stories actually appear on the news *at all* tell you something? Have you ever seen a news story about a woman raping an adult man (or any adult male rape victim, frankly) that *didn’t* turn into some kind of a joke? I sure as hell haven’t.

          And frankly, as long as forced envelopment is treated as “other sexual violence” and not rape, I refuse to trust any statistics about the prevalence of female rapists or male rape victims. Because until we actually are willing to admit (legally and scientifically) that adult women are capable of raping adult men, we don’t actually no how common it is. We just don’t.

          “And as a woman, I see countless messages and articles about how to “make him happy”. ”

          So what? Those same articles exist for men too. You apparently aren’t reading them.

          • I felt compelled to add my two cents here. You both have valid points, but the nature of your discourse is inherently competitive (e.g., which sex has it worse in our culture?). And by entering into the dialogue from a competitive place, you replicate the relational patterns that cause problems for BOTH sexes.

            One of the interesting reactions to my letter was the assumption that by affirming the worth of a girl, I’m devaluing the worth of men. Again, as if worthiness is a zero sum and scarce resource that must be competed for. As if in affirming the worth of my daughter, I’m somehow less likely to affirm the worth of my two sons. Perhaps we can begin to make things better for both sexes by giving up our competition in favor of connection. I think we can only do so when we begin to understand that worthiness and affirmation are limitless resources.

          • Jax, I ‘m not too sure what to say to you after your response to something I said was simply: “So what”. Usually the phrase “So what” implies a level of simply not caring. If I have misunderstood you though, do let me know. But if you don’t care, I’m not sure
            what more I’m really to say to you.

            Kelly, yeah you put it in perspective there and that’s the problem I often find even myself caught up in. How do we fix that mentality in our discussions though? I have actually tried to forgo the competition in favor of the connection and affirmation but at some point, you feel like your giving and giving and you *still* feel like your side isn’t being heard. And that’s part of the problem. Even when I approach discussion from the vantage point you mentioned, there is still something missing in the discussion itself.

            • It’s not that I don’t care, i just don’t see how “articles about how to keep a man’s interests” are really relevant. It seems sometimes that people want to point to things that happen to women as evidence of some big oppression going on, when it’s things that *everybody* goes through. I mean as I already pointed out there are articles about “how to keep the interest of your girlfriend” too.

              • They are revelant to me even if they aren’t to you Jax. I do find these articles oppressive for women. Especially since women are socialized to undermine their own needs for everyone else. I do not think men get articles pushed on them as much about how to keep your girlfriend interested. What I’ve largely seen in magazines for men are articles about how to get laid and interviews with whatever female celebrity is the most popular in Hollywood at the current time. But they largely don’t promote material that is about working on one relationship with your partner. That’s been my experience at least.

                • Erin: Did it ever occur to you that you don’t see these messages because you are not a man and they are not targetted to you?

                  I find it laughable that you think women are socialized to undermine their own needs for others (with the implication that men aren’t) when men are constantly told that it’s our job to protect women and children, our job to work our bodies to death providing for women and children, and our job to shut up and deal with the fallout of those things by ourselves.

    • Rum, thanks for your question. I have a couple of thoughts. First, if I could go back and rename my website, I would definitely go with PsychDude. Where were you when I needed you 18 months ago? 🙂

      Second, I think it’s important to clarify what creates entitlement in people. Selfishness, entitlement, and narcissism are actually the result of two separate but related factors. First, entitlement is created by a latent
      sense of worthlessness. Individuals who have a deep and unwavering sense of their worthiness are free from all of the ego needs that produce entitlement, selfishness, and narcissism. Children who have been mirrored well and affirmed of their worthiness are far more likely to spend their lives caring for others
      than obsessively caring for themselves, because they have already been cared for well. Second, entitlement is created when a child does not learn boundaries and limits. Thus, the recipe for an un-entitled child is unconditional affirmation of their worthiness…and healthy boundaries, limits, expectations, and consequences. Those two things may seem mutually exclusive, but they’re not, and when a kid gets both, in my opinion, they typically end up pretty selfless and loving.

  56. wellokaythen says:

    If she’s heterosexual.

    If she wants to be in a long-term relationship.

    If she actually cares about whether or not he’s interested.

    Unlike the title, at least you didn’t assume that she was going to get married….

    • I feel like I’m always “that person,”…cuz yeah, that’s basically what I was thinking. Can’t ever just leave well enough alone, me.

      Plus the bit about “children you give him,” rubbed me the wrong way. Like, that’s assuming she wants children…and even if she does the whole idea that children are something women give their husband is a bit, ugh.

      But, aside from that…this was SUCH a wonderful letter. The emotional core of it is really awesome.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I liked the emotional tone of the letter as well. I can actually set aside my snarky PC tripwires and appreciate the sentiments in it. If all parents could express things like this to their children most of the time, the world would be a much better place. (Perhaps a lot more such expressions like this to me as a kid would have made me less snarky my own self….)

      • As someone who is struggling with multiple miscarriages and not having children (not by choice) right now that part about the children rubbed me the wrong way too.

        I know this comes from a good place and all but how about instead of either person putting the other on a pedestal, wanting your daughter instead to find a man who can be her best friend and partner?

    • I can understand your concerns about the potential heterosexism of the letter, and thank you for expressing them. I think it’s worth mentioning that the sentiments expressed in the letter were triggered in me by a Google search, which revealed countless articles about how women try to keep men interested. That naturally led to a post concerning men and women. But the message of the letter has no exceptions: my daughter’s worth is unconditional, regardless of whether or not she identifies as a lesbian, becomes a nun, runs a corporation and chooses a career over family, etc. She need do nothing or become anything to be interesting to anyone. She already is. 🙂

      • wellokaythen says:

        That makes sense. Thanks for explaining that a little more. I did like the sentiment of the letter. I left my critical sensor cranked up to “ultrasensitive.” Gotta dial it down sometimes…..

      • se_men says:

        “you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.”

        “my daughter’s worth is unconditional….She need do nothing or become anything to be interesting to anyone. She already is.”

        I wonder if those quotes are expeced to be true if the gender is reversed, i.e: girl for boy, son for daughter, he for she :). What do u say? 😉

        • Of course they hold the same….why would they not?

          I think some of you are missing the main sentiments and points in the letter and taking it too literally. Contextualize a little folks.

    • I think the author did a great job and it’s ok to assume our children will be heterosexual when they grow up and raise them that way. We as adults need to make some assumptions and guide our children, at least a bit, otherwise we fail our kids. If a father raises his child to be heterosexual and accepting of oneself and others, what’s wrong with that? That’s his fatherly guidance and I can respect that.

      Simply because the news portrays gay as the new norm and hetrosexuality as something outdated, doesn’t mean it’s reality. The majority of people are still straight and still are attracted to the opposite sex and still raise their kids with hope and desire for a loving long-term relationship with the opposite sex.

      I assume little girls will be attracted to boys and vice versa. Don’t you?

      • wellokaythen says:

        I have the great luxury of not having children, so my expertise is entirely free from anything like personal experience. Take my advice, I have no use for it…. : – )

        In answer to your questions, I would try not to assume that my child was or would grow up to be heterosexual. There’s a difference between recognizing a high probability and assuming something as fact. Of course there’s around a 95% chance that your child is or will be hetero, and at some point as a parent you have to play the odds, but “raising her to be interested in boys” seems to suggest that you can just teach her not to be a lesbian. (Ethics aside, that doesn’t seem to work anyway, so what’s the point?)

        I assume that a little boy will probably like girls. That’s not the same as assuming he will and telling him all about he’s supposed to like girls.

        I’m not necessarily suggesting something radical or subversive. How about just using “if” a little more when you talk to your child and using “when” a little less?

        • wellokaythen, your first comment just struck my funny bone that’s all. I’m thinking what’s wrong society when parents are now ‘shamed’ for raising their kids to be heterosexual and hoping their kids have a successful marriage. Heaven forbid a father suggest his daughter or son will be happily married someday, not miserably divorced.
          If you’re around kids, you’ll know why parents use both ‘if’ and ‘when’ statements and you’ll also know why husbands and wives, grandparents, aunties, uncles view children as a shared gift.

      • I agree the idea of the letter is good, but it most certainly isn’t okay to raise your children assuming they’ll be heterosexual. I’m basically agreeing with wellokaythen, here…but I’ll explain a bit more with an example:

        So my parents both love the hell out of me, and were (and still are) amazing parents. They weren’t perfect, but no one is…and they did a kick ass job. They also raised me assuming I’d be heterosexual, and it turns out I’m not. I had the whole emotional upheaval of trying to figure out what my sexuality was, and trying to find the time to come out, and then worrying about what my parents’ reaction would be if/when I came out…all of that. To be clear, I never worried my parents would throw me out or hate me or anything. My piano teacher was a gay man, and my parents had no problem with that.

        Just by assuming I would be straight, when it turned out I wasn’t…well it caused a bit of anxiety and tension in my relationship with my parents. As wellokaythen suggested…it’s just about adding a bit more “ifs” rather than “whens.” Or saying “boyfriend or girlfriend” sometimes, instead of assuming the gender is obvious.

        • HeatherN, I’m not anti-gay, simply pro-hetrosexual when it comes to raising kids–especially during pre-sexual ages of development, so are your parents.

          Your parents were shaping you for a ‘normed’ family life. But we know that may not always be the case. It’s best for parents (and our society) to raise our kids assuming they will be straight and someday have a family and children of their own. Why? Family is where we find unconditional love and acceptance, not in the single life or at the workplace or school. Your folks were simply were prepping you for a family…because when you were 8-12 years old you didn’t know what you wanted out of sex-partner-family life…no kid does.

          Luckily, your inner turmoil was minimized because your parents responded with unconditional love. That still doesn’t change the fact that 95% of people are straight and raise their kids to be straight. If you believe in democratic priniciples, maybe your parents and the author are right and we should raise kids to be straight. Don’t worry, I’m not extremist, just part of the silent majority.

          I apologize…went way off the original topic of the article.

          • What I find bizarre about your argument is that you seem to think that someone being gay will mean that they will be lonely, sad and without a family. Gay people have wonderful, loving realtionships and have children. Just like straight couples. I grew up in a family that ‘shaped me for normal life’, always making comments about the kind of man I would marry etc. It was very confusing and I spent a very miserable 15 years in extremely unhappy relationships with men, wondering what was wrong with me and wondering why everyone else is so happy, when I wasn’t. When I realised that there were other ‘options’ than heterosexual relationships and started a relationship with a woman, I finally found the unconditional love, happiness and freedom that others have in their relationships. By telling your kids that one day they might fall in love with a boy or girl, you are not teaching them to be gay, you are not encouraging them to be gay. You are not talking about sex. You are saying that to be in love with someone who makes them happy is what is important. You can’t raise your kids to be straight or gay, but what you CAN do is know that some people love someone of the same or opposite sex, and that that is okay and that you will love them no matter what. Your child will be gay or straight (there are other things I know, but for simplicity I am going with those two) anyway, no matter how you raise them, and it is up to you to let them know that how they are is okay.

            • G – I’m sorry you were conflicted but you have found someone now. It appears you may have misunderstood my term ‘The single life’. “Family is where we find unconditional love and acceptance, not in the single life or at the workplace or school.”

              The Single Life is an empty, shallow life and can be lonely and isolating. It applies to anyone on their own; I didn’t mean to imply the single life is only reserved for gay people. No offense, gay guys and gals need to know you’re special and we love you, but you don’t corner the market on single life, nor do you corner the market on marriage or parenting. Sheesh.

              More importantly, as a woman (straight or gay) I have no business telling a straight father that he’s wrong and I’m right, especially when it comes to raising his beloved kids. I have never walked a mile as man or a father, but I can respect his rules and guidance.

      • MelissaJane says:

        I am not assuming my two boys (now 6) will grow up to be heterosexual. Sure, odds are, they’re straight. But the stakes are pretty high, and I don’t see any particular reason to assume I know my kids’ sexuality at this point. When we talk about the future, we say things like “if you marry a boy or girl.” They know that either is a possibility.

        Sending the message that one sexuality is the right one can have a high price I don’t want my kids to have to pay.

        • Tom Brechlin says:

          I can’t believe this guy is getting grief for writing a heartfelt letter to his 5 year old daughter. And people wonder why men don’t expose their feelings and sentiments more?

          Is it the letter I would have wrote to my daughter? No, but that sure as heck doesn’t warrant my critique.

          As a dad, it’s amazing, the moment your child enters this world, you mind goes in a million directions. You visualize a future, realistic or not, you see what your childs life could be. That’s why losing a child is so devastating, when you lose a child you also lose a perceived future.

          Kelly, thank you for sharing your feelings as a “dad.”

        • MelissaJane when you talk to your boys about their future, and say things such as “if you marry a boy or girl” that is being presumptive that they will marry rather than co-habitate or stay single. You may not be gendering them but you are still pigeon holing them into being a ‘nuclear family’ when there are other forms of family now.

    • I don’t think assuming a child’s heterosexuality is making an statement that homosexuality is wrong.

      If we wanted to get real technical here, we could pile on Kelly F. about how he also didn’t include disclaimers about the possibility of his little girl growing up to either be a transexual, bi-sexual, transvestite or asexual; or falling in love with a man, woman or hermaphrodite that is a transexual, bi-sexual, transvestite or asexual. How far do we want to carry it? Or should we only carry it to homosexuals for it to be *fair*?

      Yes. People have varying sexualities and we all come in different packages and we all deserve equality. However, if a father wants to write a letter to his daughter about navigating relationships with other men, he should be free to do that without it having to turn into a equal rights commentary. This is not an equal rights topic.

      As a heterosexual woman is very strongly identifies with the messages I’ve received about what things I have to do to get a man’s attention and keep him interested in me, this letter Kelly wrote to his daughter made me cry. My wish is for more fathers to teach their daughters the message Kelly wants to teach his daughter.

      Thank you for writing this Kelly. It’s so beautiful and as a woman, it touched my deeply feminine heart wonderfully.

      PS. Joan, I’m with you.

      • It’s not just that we should include other ‘options’ in there to be ‘fair’. It’s that all those articles about how to ‘get a man’ or ‘keep him interested’ are everywhere. As a girl and a young woman we are inundated with them. This is bad enough if you are heterosexual. If you are not, or are questioning your sexuality, then not only have you not been given any other ‘option’ but you also are confused by these constant messages. To really empower your daughters, you should tell them that you can fall in love with someone other than someone of the opposite sex as a way for them to navigate these message better.

        • G, if that is how *you* want to empower *your* daughter, you are free to do so.

          And if you don’t mind, I will choose to impower *my* daughter, the best way I see as well.

          There is no one way of anything we should be making mandatory to raise our children.

          Yes, children get a lot of confusing messages about sexuality. But telling your child that they can fall in love with this kind person or that or have this kind of sexuality or that, doesn’t mean you aren’t making it any less confusing for them.

          I am all for not pigeon holing everyone. But I am not convinced that telling your child that they can fall in love with this type of person or that is any less confusing. If we wanted to get realy into it, you could spend all day giving your childre a list of all the different types of people they *can* fall in-love with. Why not add race, religion, political party to the pot? “Honey, you can fall in love with a man or woman, with an african american, Indian or Korean person, you can fall in love with a democrat or a republican…” Yada yada yada. I think that if parents display equality to all, that they don’t have to always outright give their children a detalied list of what they *can* do. My parents never said to me, “You can date and African-American man just as much as a white man.” But I have dated both and it was never an issue.

          I’m all for people who are homosexual gaining more equality so they can live the life they want an alife free from judgement. But there is a point where we are really going overboard.

Trackbacks

  1. […] A Letter to My Little Girl […]

  2. […] Entitled A Daddy’s Letter To His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband), Dr Flanagan’s letter has received thousands of Facebook likes since appearing on a popular blog called The Good Men Project. […]

  3. […] A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband) […]

  4. […] Getting what I need in the most unlikely of places. Like this letter from a father to his daughter and in re-watching movies like “Must Love Dogs.” http://goodmenproject.com/families/a-daddys-letter-to-his-little-girl-about-her-future-husband-aklap… […]

  5. […] Entitled A Daddy’s Letter To His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband), Dr Flanagan’s letter has received thousands of Facebook likes since appearing on a popular blog called The Good Men Project. […]

  6. […] am completely fascinated by this letter–A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband) By Dr. Kelly Flanagan. It caught my interest and I can’t stop thinking about […]

  7. […] Kenny Flanagan’s full letter here and get inspired to be the person you truly are and not the show media tells you to put on for your […]

  8. […] letter has been viral From The Good Men Project and for good reason. Please […]

  9. […] Entitled A Daddy’s Letter To His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband), Dr Flanagan’s letter has received thousands of Facebook likes since appearing on a popular blog called The Good Men Project. […]

  10. […] As soon fathers hold their daughters, they begin worrying about protecting them. Part of that protection is keeping them away from bad guys and hoping they find one of the good ones. That’s what Kelly Flanagan, a psychologist, addressed in an open letter to his young daughter, posted on the Good Men Project. […]

  11. […] dad’s letter to his daughter about relationships (via The Good Men […]

  12. […] After stumbling across destructive advice, licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan writes a letter to his daughter about what really matters in a relationship.  […]

  13. […] beautiful letter from a Dad to his daughter about her future husband (this is of course assuming she is straight and actually going to get […]

  14. […] A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl […]

  15. […] A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband) @ Good Men Project […]

  16. […] A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband) — The Good Men Project. […]

  17. […] Original Letter here. http://goodmenproject.com/families/a-daddys-letter-to-his-little-girl-about-her-future-husband-aklap… […]

  18. […] reading: A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband). Though, I would say, the sentiment here could easily extend way beyond these gender/sexuality […]

  19. […] it’s apparent the intent behind A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband) – written by Dr. Kelly Flanagan and published on what appears to be his own site, the Good […]

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