Aaron Gouveia looks at the “rules” some fathers are setting for their daughters and hopes they understand the meaning of the word irony.
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.
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.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock
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.
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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,… Read more »
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… Read more »
What kind of relationship you want to have with your daughter if you read her texts???????????
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.
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.
I don’t know if it means anything, but there *is* a female version of this floating around
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
I just want to congratulate you on a very well thought out statement and I hope you won’t mind if I share it.
Many true observations here, thank you!
Thank you, Mabusha!
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.
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
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… Read more »
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.
“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… Read more »
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.
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.
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,… Read more »
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?
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
I hope that my relationship with my daughter and her partners is a LITTLE more respectful than what this meme portrays.