Guiding Principles of a Daughter’s Dad

I’m not the smartest or greatest dad there is. Not even close. I have many faults and made many mistakes over the years that I regret.

However, I do think I’m pretty good at understanding my faults and I work hard to minimize their impact to myself and others, especially to my family, as much as possible.

Even still… just because faults were minimized, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t impact from them from time to time. There was. I regret that.

But… we live and learn and live and relearn and one and on.

My daughter is my first child and when she was born I didn’t have a clue as to how to raise her.

I found out quickly though, that having children, and especially having the first child, is kind of like going to war.

No matter how much you plan for it, once the first shot is fired the best you can hope for is a campaign of organized chaos.

Fortunately, not long after she was born, I happened upon some useful information — probably from articles in a newspaper (remember those things?) — about the results of a couple of different studies.

I don’t remember the newspaper — probably the Stars & Stripes.

And I certainly don’t remember the studies or who conducted them so I cannot attest to the veracity of the reportage.

However, based upon my life experiences, what was reported seemed to speak the truth.

And from these apparent truths that I happened upon long ago, I was changed — or at least I sought to change — from their insights.

And from this change, I hope I became a better father to, not just my daughter, but to my sons as well. For I also hope that when my sons, too, have daughters– and based upon the make up of my lovely and loving wife’s family and mine, they probably will — they understand how their beliefs and, more importantly, their behavior can have such an impact on the outcome of their daughters’ lives.

The first thing I learned that changed my behavior as a father was…

The more education a father has the less the chance will be that his daughter will find herself in an abusive relationship as an adult.

The second was…

Girls with high self-esteem tend to have less sex during their middle and high school years and girls with low self-esteem tend to have more.

The inverse is true for boys.

It’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.



30 thoughts on “Guiding Principles of a Daughter’s Dad”

  1. So true. I have two daughters and I’ve tried to build their self esteem and It seems to be paying off. They are both strong women with a strong faith. My sons not doing bad either. Not to pat myself on the back, I’m a flawed individul, but with good intentions and lots of prayer, I hope I’ve overcome these flaws where my kids are concerned.

    • When it comes to raising children, it’s my belief that good intentions, while certainly not foolproof and like any other of actions and intent risk unintended consequences, do matter.

  2. One of the main things I tried to do both as father and throughout my teaching career was to empower not only my daughter but my female students as well. It’s hard to overcome some cultural barriers where patriarchal mandates control the lives of their female family members, but being as sensitive as I could to that, I believe I managed for the most part to at least instill some confidence that their thoughts and dreams were valid and should be pursued as soon as opportunity presented itself. As for my own daughter, she was a late-bloomer, and kept a lot private, and took a longer time to finish college, but as a kid who wouldn’t come out of a corner at parties, she suddenly goes to China to teach for a year, and lands a job back in the States as an associate editor at American History Magazine, living on her own and thriving. (Her boyfriend’s a Marine, though, not a sailor. You learn to settle… 🙂

    • In our dark times of Trump, thanks for reminding me that there are many good folks out there like yourself working hard to uplift others and inspire positive change. Thanks, my friend. And as for your daughter’s Marine… please remind him often despite how much he’d rather not hear nor acknowledge it – Marines are branch within the Department of the NAVY. 🙂

  3. Being a new parent was certainly a steep learning curve for me – I stumbled into a few minefields along the way, but I have to admit, I have the easier minefields to negotiate Kurt – I only have a son 😉

  4. Your articles are thought provoking. Whatever is read and taught, being parent is altogether a new practical experience that is individualised too. In the life of a girl child dad makes a lot of difference, particularly in our culture (Indian). A girl, in fact, a child brought up by both parents have high self esteem than the one brought up by single parent.

    • Thank you for you kind comment, shivasiddula, as well as your thoughtful insight on parenting. The more love there is in a child’s life will always be for the the better.


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