“Don’t Treat My Daughter Like Property—That’s MY Job!”

 

Rules for Dating My Daughter

Aaron Gouveia looks at the “rules” some fathers are setting for their daughters and hopes they understand the meaning of the word irony.

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When I read the headline “Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex,” I cringed and steeled myself for massive amounts of outrage. But as it turns out, the piece was a wonderful, grounded, common sense call to action for fathers to stop thinking of themselves as protectors of virginity, and start making sure our daughters have safe and meaningful sexual experiences.

Throwing the words “daughter” and “sex” in the same sentence is vomit-inducing for many dads. It’s much easier to think of the innocent little girl you know and love, while you guard her against any and all male suitors and act as her knight in shining armor. The idea of dad polishing his gun while meeting the new boyfriend is often the lazy commentary when it comes to how fathers will handle their daughters dating. That leads to memes like this one that spell out the “rules” boys will have to follow.

I get that this is hyperbole – to an extent. Unfortunately, even when it’s mentioned in jest, there are more than a few nuggets of truth when this subject is discussed in my online dad communities. Which is confusing and slightly amazing to me, because it leaves me wondering how the dads who feel this way manage to avoid being crushed under the weight of all the irony.

First of all, this whole thing neglects to take one important factor into consideration – girls are just as interested in sex as boys. In fact, it was my experience they were actually the aggressors. So if you see some “sexts” on your daughter’s phone, perhaps it’s a good idea to deal with her instead of shooting him. Because obviously you haven’t done a very good job of talking to your own daughter about sex.

But the part that really gets me and made me do a double take was “#7: She is not your property and as such you can’t try to change her.”

Is this for real? Dads who agree with the idiotic notions in this meme are basically putting a “Keep Out: No Trespassing” sign on their daughters’ proverbial front lawns, and they have the gall to tell the would-be boyfriend to not treat their little girl like property? It’s asinine.

Fellas, it’s time to start heeding your own advice.

whatever photo by Camera Eye Photography

 

 

Read also: Mom’s “Rules for Dating My Son” Are as Bad as Dad’s “Rules for Dating My Daughter”

 

If you haven’t read it yet: “Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex.”

Rules image found by Twitter Tipster @RayMcLennan1 —  Photo by camera eye photography / flickr

 

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About Aaron Gouveia

Aaron is husband to a woman far too beautiful to have married him, and father of two sons far too perfect to be his. After nearly a decade as a Boston-area journalist, he decided to actually get paid and became a content manager. When he's not griping about his beloved Boston sports teams, he's detailing life as a dad at The Daddy Files. You can follow him on Twitter (@DaddyFiles) and Facebook.

Comments

  1. Tom Williams says:

    I hope that my relationship with my daughter and her partners is a LITTLE more respectful than what this meme portrays.

  2. Aaron, as you probably have seen lately I am a culprit of the postings that you are referring too. The irony and hyperbole are not lost on me, but I am having fun with it anyways. My daughter is 3 months old and all I want to do is protect her and keep her from being harmed in anyway including emotionally. Do I know that this is completely unreasonable and I have to teach her appropriate social skills? Yes, yes I do. I am not disillusioned in any way. Sometimes it is just meant for the giggle and then you move on. My goal is to have a well rounded daughter that has goals and dreams and that she does whatever she can do to achieve them.

    • Actually Bobby I hadn’t seen that. This post came from the previous GMP one about the dad talking to his daughter, as well as a heated thread that took place in my dads related Facebook page. I just don’t want you to think you were being singled out, because nothing could be further from the truth. This is one of those topics that’s always in play in the parent blogosphere.

      • I was not thinking that at all. I wish I had that much pull!! A whole response just for me…

        All kidding aside, I had been posting stuff like that on Facebook because I think it is funny in it’s simplicity. I am sure this is a big topic, as I am new to Parenting in general, nevermind how it works on the internet.

    • Bobby, I fully understand the emotions you describe and the wants you have. However, it still baffles me the you’d find this silly meme amusing.

  3. Alex Wording says:

    “So if you see some “sexts” on your daughter’s phone, perhaps it’s a good idea to deal with her instead of shooting him. Because obviously you haven’t done a very good job of talking to your own daughter about sex.”

    So the presence of ‘sexts’ (sexually oriented texts) on a young girls phone ‘obviously’ means that her father didn’t do a good job talking to her about sex? Sorry, but that is absurd…

    What about adults, if you find the ‘sexts’ on my 29 year old girlfriend’s phone, does that mean that her father failed to properly educate her about sex too?

    When I was a teenager my parents didn’t read my journal, they didn’t open my mail, they didn’t listen in on my phone calls. I had a degree of privacy which, thinking back now, actually meant a lot to me. Yet my parents and I enjoyed a high degree of honesty and candor. Now, If they had been invading my privacy – I probably would have shut them out and kept my thoughts, feelings, and actions under a far more opaque veil of secrecy. If your daughter is old enough to be having sex, and sending/receiving ‘sexts’ then you probably have no business reviewing her private correspondence. Now of course there are exceptions to that and under certain circumstances it is entirely reasonable to go through you kid’s private things, for their safety in response to particular threats. But that step should not be taken lightly, and the threat should be much greater than ‘puberty’.

    • Alex: I’m clearly talking about teens, not consenting adults. If a 29-year-old wants to sext with someone so be it. But I can’t envision a scenario in which 15-16 year olds sexting is a good thing.

      My point was why go after the guy when your daughter is the one sending pictures? Maybe she initiated it. In that case, it makes very little sense to direct your anger at the guy. Talk to your daughter.

      • Jacob Schmidt says:

        What are you thinking when you think “sext”? If you mean naked photos, then certainly, teenagers are too young. But sexual language in a text? No, teenagers can talk about sex.

        • My working definition of sexting is pictures, but if I’m wrong then I apologize.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            I think it’s any sort of “sexy texting” – that being said, I’ve been married since text messages were invented, so I’m probably clueless.

          • Sexting isn’t pictures..? Sexting.. sex-texting.. as in “text”. Text is words. Big difference between sexting/accidental child porn.

            • Actually sexting can be inadvertent child porn. I wrote a story about 8th graders in Falmouth, Mass who were charged with dissemination of child porn after they shared a pic of a half-naked 13-year-old female classmate. So sexting to me equals pictures.

            • It can be pictures, but doesn’t have to be. It can just be rather graphic texts, for example, um… Describing in detail what would you do to the person. It’s just text, but as bad to find in your kid’s phone as a picture.

            • Irina is correct.
              I am a sixteen year old girl and the generally accepted definition of sexting as the exchange or text messages that explicitly describes your sexual intentions, or nude/very suggestive pictures. Texts like “I think we should consider having sex” or even “I want to fuck you right now” (not classy) can even be considered sexts but do not often hold up under peer review or have the same seriousness.
              http://www.urbandictionary.com is also a very valuable resource for all you curious and brave parents out there, but not everything posted is correct (or even a thing).
              Lastly, parents, don’t freak out. A lot of the time people who have no intention of actually having sex in the near future will exchange sexts.

            • Is sexting not safe sex? There is no risk of STI or unwanted pregnancy in doing so, which is exactly what we’re protecting young people from, no?

            • Wordy Librarian says:

              In some cases, it’s a legal thing. I knew a couple who had issues with their daughter repeatedly getting in trouble for sexting. She was around fourteen or so at the time, and as far as I know the other person or people involved were boy(s) around the same age, all consenting. I think the legal issues cropped up after the girl was caught at school. Many of the incidences didn’t involve pictures. Apparently in some areas it is illegal to graphically discuss or suggest sex to a minor, even if the offender is another minor. If that is not the case, parents in some areas are being misinformed by legal authorities in that way. It’s late, and I haven’t done any extensive fact checking. Just pointing out that even if parents are fine with their children safely exploring sex, sometimes it’s not left entirely up to them.

      • Mr Jackman says:

        I’m sorry sir, but I think your wrong. Teenagers can have a healthy sexual life, it’s kind of the time in our lives where we are experiencing such feelings most strongly and for the first time. It’s rather natural to be experimenting, and as long as they practice safe sex, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Trying to prevent it might result in them hiding it or not caring to lissen… Not a good idea…

        Never moralize another persons sex life, daughter, son or anybody else. Educate, and trust their ability to be able to handle themselves.

        • I think some wires are crossed. I agree with you. I’m not advocating for the rules laid out in that meme, I’m doing the opposite. I’m against minors sending naked pictures via text because the Internet is written in ink and everything is permanent.

      • I agree with alex,

        Sexting is a perfectly normal thing for a teenage girl to be doing. I’d rather my daughter was exploring sexually on her phone than in some dark carpark where she is at risk of who knows what. A teenage girl sexting does not require a ‘talking too’ and is actually none of anyone’s business but hers. the irony here is that you are challenging men to stop thinking of their daughters as their property yet seem to be advocating for violating her right to privacy.

        • You think a minor sending naked pictures of him/herself via text is normal and acceptable? Pictures that could end up posted online, haunting that person in a myriad of ways for years to come? Pictures that ARE considered child pornography if the subject is under 16 & could result in legal action?

          If you’re ok with that then good luck to you. I’m not and I think any parent that lets that go unchecked is crazy. That’s not treating your daughter like property, it’s looking out for the well being of your minor child. I’m not sure how you can’t see the plain difference.

  4. I read this article after reading the one about the dad who wishes his daughter lots of great sex. I wish this piece had gone viral rather than the other one. I think we need to strike a balance between being deadbeats who neglect our children’s real need for moral and ethical guidance and being monsters who replace respectful parenting with dehumanizing threats and fear tactics.

    Bravo.

    As parents, our children are not our property. But legally and ethically, we have a responsibility to bring them into adulthood. Too often, we see things as back and white issues…. And, for most of my peers (who don’t have any children of their own), this means embracing the foolish idea that ANY guidance that suggests they think and grow before they get intimate with someone is anti-sex.

    But you make room for sanity in the middle.

    • Incredibly insulting of you to imply that the piece wishing for his daughter to experience great sex in her life – which brought tears to my eyes – made the author one of the “deadbeats who neglect our children’s real need for moral and ethical guidance”. I saw absolutely nothing in that piece that made me believe he didn’t provide moral / ethical guidance to his daughter. There was nothing to say he didn’t want her to think and grow before she gets intimate with someone. You are falsely polarizing their views.

  5. My partner and I have been together for nearly four years, and my dad doesn’t really seem to mind if we’re having sex or not. In fact, when I had what we thought was a cold sore, he implied I should be careful not to give my partner herpes xD

  6. John Smith says:

    Unfortunately too many Fathers (and Mothers) do these things, and take them seriously. My (now) father in law tried to have a conversation about myself and my now wife having sex. She was 19 and I was 20. We both told him where to shove it and that we were adults.

    It is a damaging attitude that some people have, that they have to protect there daughter, have that much say in there lives and that they think violence and threats of violence are fine against a teenage boy.

  7. Mabusha Masekela says:

    I’m not a parent, but I am a human being – and what I always find so striking about these conversations about teenagers and sex is how difficult many older folks have with putting those two things together. Sex and sexuality don’t suddenly appear on the landscape willy-nilly somewhere during “puberty”. That’s just a myth that’s been perpetrated. We all come from sex and sexuality, and from birth it is part of our makeup. Children, all over the world, are constantly playing some form of “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.” Babies, girls and boys, find pleasure in fondling their genitals – in the face of much parental and societal disapproval. The difficulty with sex that runs so rampant in “westernized”, “civilized”, “christianized” or “islamisized” is that it remains a secret, is not discussed or dealt with openly (and respectfully). This is not a global phenomenon. Thanks to the Brits colonizing India (or Hindustan as it was once known) we know of the Kama Sutra which clearly indicates a society that finds great value in sex instruction. In the 70’s in the US you had “The Joy Of Sex”, and subsequently there has been a flood of these sort “sex instruction manual”, also videos and DVD’s. Still these you can usually only find in some funky “sex shop” – though San Francisco boasts a few sex shops that you could visit with your Dad (or Mom). And the internet has just popped the whole secrecy bubble around sex. If we as people do not begin to appreciate that sex and sexuality are innate qualities of humanity. They are part of the package of life – like water or oxygen, and you wouldn’t minimize or deprive anyone intimate knowledge of either of these things and expect them to live and lead a healthy life. Sex is no different. Parents and adults of the world have to begin to find a way to address sex and sexuality from birth, in a loving, non-judgmental fashion, but in a way that acknowledges the integral part that sex and sexuality play in life. And find ways of keeping these sexual communication lines open. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is essential.

  8. Actually, if you find any “sexts” on your daughter’s phone, you should put it the hell down and start respecting her privacy! How on earth do you expect her to set her own boundaries and say no to whoever she’d rather say no to if you invade her life like this? By all means, have an open dialogue about sex, boundaries and the respect for her own and others bodies, but let HER be the one to set these boundaries, and don’t break them yourself! I know that I use the word “boundaries” a lot here, but that’s really what it’s all about. You meet someone, you reach out to them, you respect each others.

    (As an afterthough: Exactly what do you mean by “Because obviously you haven’t done a very good job of talking to your own daughter about sex” regarding finding “sexts” on her phone? What is so wrong about sending a sexual message to someone you like?)

    And why on earth is all this concentrated on the girls? Where is the discussion on how dads teach their sons to treat women? Or you could say the DO teach their sons about how to view women, by the way they treat their daughters. Which would be the same point that is cleverly made in the post, I suppose.

    I’ll end it here, but again: GET OFF YOUR DAUGHTER’S PHONE!

    • PernRider says:

      As a mother of three (all daughters), I disagree. While kids needs to be given a certain degree of privacy, they also need to have transparency.

      I remember myself as a teen. I snuck beer on a few occasions with my friends, I smoked behind my parents’ back, I did quite a few things that, as a parent, I’d be terrified of my kids doing. Not because I was better than them, but because I want them to be better than ME.

      I also think there’s a fine line between invasion of privacy and needful transparency. Reading your daughter’s (or son’s) journal is inappropriate. Reading her texts? Utterly appropriate. I check my daughter’s Facebook regularly, check her phone, etc. My oldest is still a tween, but as she gets older, I’ll still continue to check, still continue to be involved with what she’s involved with. We also discuss what’s going on, who she’s talking to, what she posts, etc. She knows what I expect from her because we’ve talked about it since she was a toddler, as I have with her sisters.

      As a parent, I need to know that my daughter is safe, and that she’s making safe decisions. One way to do that IS to see who and what she’s talking to and about.

      She also knows my expectations regarding sex, namely that she refrain until she’s ready. And she won’t be ready for years. I’ve told them that I don’t expect them to wait until marriage (I don’t advocate for marriage at all, unless they’re absolutely sure that it’s the right choice, the right person, the right time; I was told “don’t come home pregnant without a ring,” so I married her father … big mistake!), but I DO expect them to wait until they’re physically and emotionally ready, and until the boy is as well. I’ve told them not to let someone pressure them, not to do anything they’re not comfortable with, and not to do anything “just because”. I’ve done my best to teach them to respect their own bodies, and to OWN their bodies.

      My job is to help them to do that, and part of that is in knowing what they’re doing. They know that I will monitor them, so they’re less likely to do something that I won’t approve of. They also know that I’ll be discussing it with them, that it’s an ONGOING discussion.

      I just asked my daughter if she has a problem with my checking her texts or her FB, if she thinks that’s bad or invasive parenting. She looked confused, and said “No … that’s good parenting!”

      With regards to SEXTING specifically, I think this relates to sexually explicit photos. And I completely agree. Even as an adult, I think they’re crass and tasteless, and I’ve jumped down the throat of any man who’s sent me any. I’m not about to be sending them myself, either. As a MINOR, they’re additionally dangerous, in that they can and HAVE been considered child pornography, and there have been several cases of teens sending pics of THEMSELVES who’ve been charged with dissemination of child pornography. In addition to being a violation of SELF, sexting by minors can be a violation of LAW, and this needs to be addressed to kids BEFORE they’re handed phones with the capability to send these. Girls AND boys.

      As to the reason that these are aimed at girls, it’s because historically, girls are expected to remain chaste, and fathers to keep them that way. Boys aren’t slut-shamed, but rather are EXPECTED to be having sex as soon as the parts work, practically. A boy who finishes high school a virgin is seen as odd, while a girl who DOESN’T is considered a slut. This double-standard needs to be addressed.

      I do agree that boys need to be taught how to treat women. That’s essential, and needs to receive more focus. But part of that is teach our DAUGHTERS that THEY have power, the power to say no, but also to say yes. That neither is a bad thing, if it’s done appropriately.

      • To PernRider (and Daddy Files, a little)
        Wow, thank you for your answer! This is really interesting, seeing as we have very different backgrounds. Let me first make some things clear:

        1.I admit that I’m not a mother, and I recognise that you will have perspectives and experiences I don’t have simply by raising kids, which I have not. I am, however, a daughter, raised by mom (and dad) along with two younger sisters, and as I plan to have kids in the not too far future (I’m 27 years old), I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of mother/parent I want to be for my kids, be it daughters or sons. I’ve also spent a lot of time around kids, working professionally as a babysitter and looking after younger cousins and friends’ kids, but that’s a little beside the point here. Just trying to give an outlining of my experience on which I base my points of view, is all.

        2.I recognise the fact that we have very different cultural backgrounds, as stated earlier, unless you too have grown up in and are currently living in Norway. Despite all the cultural influence we get from the U.S. through movies, music, magazines, books and so forth, there are a lot of cultural differences that I sometimes find it very hard to wrap my head around. When you add the complexity of such a large country consisting of several states which differs from each other, it gets even harder to put together an accurate impression.
        Even so, there seems to be SOME general points to the American culture that baffles me. Among them is the focus, in this day and age, about girls in specific and young adults in general being chaste, pure, virginal and so on. It is my belief that there’s a link between Americas very … puritan attitude towards sex before marriage, and the amount of teenage pregnancies. If you don’t get any education in school about contraception and handling sexual feelings and advances, how are you supposed to know?
        I’m not implying that Norwegian culture is perfect regarding these aspects; we do have teenage pregnancies, rape culture and sexual harrasment, to mention some problems. But we do NOT have chastity balls or the sometimes quite abhorrent abortion laws that some states practice. Nor, do I think, do we have this hangup on «my innocent little girl»-thing, or the idea of girls being chaste. I don’t have any strong opinions about the fact that our age of  sexual consent is 16, unlike that of the US, which I believe to be 18?

        But that was just a background description of my standing. Back to the issue at hand, namely your arguments (and mine) about privacy and wanting your kids to be safe. I really understand and respect that. I do not necessarily think you are a bad mother, and I agree with you on a lot of your points, including what you say about discussing «what’s going on, who she’s talking to, what she posts, etc.». I strongly believe that parents should be involved in their childrens lives; my parents certainly were with me. They asked me about my day at school, talked with my friends when they visited, asked me where I was going when I left the house in the afternoon and called me (ir)regularly when I was old enough to stay home alone during the holidays to work while they traveled with my younger sisters. But I do not believe for a second that they searched my phone for messages, or read my private mail (I’ll get back to that in a second) or in any way invaded my privacy in order to monitor me. They trusted me, while making it clear what they expected of me.

        Of course, I made it easy for them. I didn’t start drinking until I was nearly 21 (18 is the legal age in Norway, 20 for hard liquor), and I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was about the same age, by which time I had moved out and was living and studying in another city, so we never had the awkward talk about bringing boys home. ;) I do remember one occasion, though, when I was emptying my purse for some reason with my mom present (NOT at her request) and found a forgotten condom (I was not sexually active at the time; I think I’d recieved it at school and just put it in my purse). Oh, well do I remember that her only comment was «Well, I’m glad your being responsible, Ingrid» and me wanting to sink through the floor. But I’m sidetracking.

        My point is, as it was in my previous comment, that respecting your kids’ privacy is crucial to the development of their integrity, not to say their understanding of others integrity and privacy. My belief is simply this: If your daughter grows up with having her privacy invaded as «normal», how do you think she will handle a controlling, jealous boyfriend, or even a boyfriend pressing for sex? Her body is just another part of her privacy, which she has grown used to being ignored and invaded in the name of her own safety. Again, I do believe your good intentions, but I think you’re using very wrong means.

        From another perspective: How would you feel about your daughter or your husband reading your private messages? Or your letters? Do you read their letters? How do you think your daughter’s future boyfriend would feel about her checking his phone without his consent? I know that I’d have felt spied on. If my husband (or parents) were to check my phone without my consent, or even asking for my consent to do that, I would feel very mistrusted, and have problems giving trust in return.

        To address the other means/problems you mention: I do believe that there’s a big difference between looking at your daughter’s public facebook profile and checking her phone. Maybe you don’t see the difference clearly, and it’s not necessarily easy to define. But still, what she and others write on her public wall is … public. Not so with her messages. I think that if I’d had a daughter in her early teens (or younger) who wanted to be active on Facebook, on of the conditions would be that I was her “friend” there and was allowed to check out her wall every now and then. And yes, have an ongoing dialogue about what she writes, what her friends write and what she chooses to publicise. But that’s it.

        In regard to «sexts» and «sexting», I admit that it’s not a word I’m very familiar with, and as other commenters have pointed out, it could apparently mean a wide range of content. I do not think Norwegian laws are similar to American on this account; I’ve surely never heard of any child or teenager being prosecuted for spreading child pornography when sending naked pictures of themselves. Regardless, it is seldom a wise thing to do, and needs to be discussed with your child thoroughly. Of course. But NOT by spying on her!

        I hope I’ve made my points of view clear, without straying too far from the original discussion. And it is also my hope that we will all do our best to raise children who respect each other and learn to give and recieve trust.

      • PernRider,
        for me, as a daughter, as a mother, as a friend, and in ALL cases a human being, I would like to say, that to me “needful transparency” equals mutual consentual exchange of information and NOT sneaking behind my childrens backs just because I think I can make their life better or safer by controlling them. I can create realtionships that endorse honest two way communication. I cannot control someone in a way that does not teach them that it is okay to be controlled by someone who declares themselves to be smarter, more experienced and stronger than they are.

    • Ingrid: Sorry, but I disagree with you completely. Let’s say you have a 14-year-old daughter with a cell phone for which you are footing the bill, and you find naked pictures of herself she’s sending out to classmates. That’s not only wrong, it’s illegal. And if those boys pass that picture on, it’s dissemination of child pornography — a felony.

      But beyond the legal problems, I see nothing wrong as a parent with performing a check-in on a phone for which I’m paying. If she’s paying for it, well that’s a different story. But kids — even the best ones — can be utterly stupid as teenagers. And while we need to give them some space, we also need to give them guidance and let them know there are rules. Naked pictures on the Internet never go away, and that’s a good reason to snoop on kids.

      As for your point about boys, I have written about that. I have two sons and no daughters. I was responding specifically to the post I mentioned at the beginning of this article, and that is why it’s about daughters and not sons.

  9. I don’t know if it means anything, but there *is* a female version of this floating around

    http://rosesandwaterfalls.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/20130813-025815.jpg?w=495

  10. The really sad thing is that I thought I was my dads property. I thought ALL children were property of their fathers and that was why we had to wait on them and do everything they wanted before they asked it or risk their wrath and I only found out a few years ago that not all dads are like that.

  11. What kind of relationship you want to have with your daughter if you read her texts???????????

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      You have a parent that’s watching out for the best interest of their child. Key word “child.” Can’t count the number of parents who have kids that have been seriously hurt saying, “I should have been more aware.”

      I’m a parent, not a friend and I work with countless kids that wished their parents had been more diligent.

  12. The one that really stands out is #4, I think. If I ever start acting like I get to decide who my daughter can have as friends, not to mention romantic partner, and that I can make them go away if I don’t like them, I trust that I have brought her up with enough self-respect and strength that she will tell me just exactly where I can stuff it.

    Anyway, the whole thing smacks of being in denial.

    Within the next couple of years my daughter will probably start being sexually active. When that happens, i hope she’ll trust that we’ll respect her and support her, and that she will bring her boyfriend or girlfriend home to meet us, have dinner, hang out, whatever. And I hope that she’ll opt to have sex upstairs in her room, that her partner will sleep over, rather than doing something silly at a party or having her debut in the backseat of a car. I hope that she understand that we’re comfortable with her as a sexual being and the she will feel comfortable being open with us.

  13. Thank you so much for writing this. I have been waiting for someone to write about this. I am a mother to a son and not a father to a daughter but still…I find this emphasis on protecting daughters smacks of territorial-ism. I know my son at 17 is reaching out to explore physical affection and sexuality and I want him to have experiences that are meaningful and respectful towards himself and his girlfriend. Why shouldn’t I want the same things for a daughter if I were her father? Yes I would want her to have good experiences but no, I would not want to lock her up in a tower or scare off a man who was interested in her. I agree that there is very little acknowledgment of young women having sexual feelings and desires and for the most part they are treated as possessions to be “protected.” As someone who was once a teenage daughter feel angry that some fathers feel entitled to behave this way.

  14. I can see why going through your teenager’s phone might feel like you’re protecting them. Intuitively, you’d think more monitoring is safer. Problem is, teenagers are brighter than they get credit for. I was an incredibly awkward teenager, so sexting and relationships were things I heard about, rather than things I did. But if I had been sending explicit text messages, and if I’d suspected or known that my parents went through my phone, I’d simply have deleted any risqué texts. My parents wouldn’t have found anything unless they’d asked the cell company to give them a copy of all of that month’s texts, which they wouldn’t have done if they didn’t have reason to suspect I’d been sending such texts, which they wouldn’t have reason to suspect since they’d never have found any in my phone. I mean yes, they could’ve just asked for monthly copies from the company no matter what they found or didn’t find, but if I felt mistrusted and infantilized at the idea of their checking my phone, their going behind my back to receive paper or email copies of my texts would’ve been completely alienating. From that, if I’d ever actually needed their help in an awkward situation (ie. calling for a ride home if a party I’d secretly gone to was getting out of hand), I’d’ve been that much less likely to ask for help when I needed it.

    Granted, this is all theoretical. I was nowhere near popular enough to get invited places, and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyways. Not one for crowds, really. Plus, my phone didn’t have a camera, so there wasn’t the ‘accidental child porn’ dimension to worry about. Still though, food for thought.

  15. When i was 17 i was actively having sexual intercourse, as were my 3 older sisters, the oldest at the time being 22. Inadvertently, or rather, to the obliviousness of my boyfriend, my father came across a used condom. He called us together and simply said, “While I don’t condone this, at least you’re protecting yourself,” and left it at that. He knew all of our boyfriends and never batted an eye at them, even after this incident. Moral: Have faith in your upbringing of your child, believe in their ability to make wise choices, allow them to learn from the mistakes made by others as well as the mistakes they themselves make, and don’t drastically interfere with their future. If you did a good job raising them then you have nothing to worry about.

  16. Jackie Morrison says:

    The meme describes classic old school parenting. Personally, the best thing a father can do for his daughter is to show her that he is protective because he cares. In this regard, hopefully the message for her is that only a quality man who utterly respects and loves her can win her.

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