Because being a great dad is not as hard as you think….
I always knew I’d have girls. Maybe that’s some woo-woo premonition, or maybe I just lucked out. Odds of going girl-girl is like… 25%. It’s not like I hit the lottery.
They’re simultaneously the center of my world and the source of that headache-y hangover feeling I get as they’re tearing around our living room at Mach—crashing into everything and completely failing to use an inside voice.
Still, I love having girls. They’re daddy’s girls to the bone. Although it’s waning as they get older, I still get to look forward to “DADDY’S HOME!!! RAAAAAAAA!!!!!” at the end of a long work day, followed by a couple of hugs and then this horrible squawking noise that includes something exciting about their day as they yell over each other trying to get my attention.
As a modern-day Dad, it’s tough to know how to do a really good job.
Should I discourage my daughter when she talks about having 20 children and applaud her for saying she wants to grow up to be a scientist?
That’s not right. We’re supposed to be teaching our young ladies that they can be anything. Last time I checked, anything includes being a mom.
My role as a dad isn’t to encourage anything other than growth. As they grow, they’ll figure out what they want and I’ll support their decisions.
For now, they’re just little girls and these are my 5 tips:
- Love her mom. When you talk, kids hear the teacher from Charlie Brown. Wah wah wah waaaaaaaaaah! But when you act, they pay attention. Treat her mother how you’d like your daughter to be treated by her partner someday, and when that someday comes (hopefully a LONG time from now), she’ll know if that partner is a real contender for her heart or just a pretender.
- Show up. Work may be important, but nobody ever sat on their deathbed wishing they’d worked more. They do often complain about missing out on the things that really matter. Be there for her birthdays, graduations, soccer matches, and holidays. Be there for no reason. Watching a kids’ show won’t kill you. You might even like it, tough guy.
- Tell her NO. She’s going to have you wrapped around her little finger. Don’t even try to deny it. But learning that she can’t have everything she wants is a key part of growing up. My house, my rules as they say. That means, no, she cannot have a puppy. Sorry, go ahead and call me a jerk. I don’t care.
- Teach her about money. Too many women end up feeling trapped in a bad situation because the man handles the money, and often poorly. Teamwork is the best money management policy in a happy family. Women aren’t necessarily better than men with money, but they are typically a bit more conservative and manage (hopefully, avoid) debts better. One of the biggest regrets in my marriage is thinking I could handle the finances by myself. Big mistake, one that we’re fixing right now!
- Let her go. Parenting isn’t about raising kids, it’s about raising an adult. Someday, she’s going to leave you.Trust that you’ve raised her to be strong and independent. Give her a little more freedom every day so the transition is easier on her. Nothing will make it easier on you.
Originally appeared on CarolynandJames.com
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