Three Moments Every Father Dreads (and How to Cope)

by A Manly Guest Contributor on March 25, 2010 · 50 comments

in Fatherhood, Relationships & Family

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Curtis Silver.

As a parent, there is much to enjoy about that role in your life. There are so many wonderful moments you have with your children over their lifespan that are impossible to properly track and catalogue. Some stand out above the rest-their first words, learning to walk, their first day of school and so on. These moments are to be cherished and to be remembered and make parenting worth every hair pulling second. It’s the reason I’m half bald and going gray; it’s the reason that I worry about their safety and well being every waking second (and some sleeping ones.)

However, there are moments in your child’s life, that while they may be monumentally happy moments, can also be ones that you simply dread. Especially when you are raising a precocious daughter. Boys have their expected moments in life, from bailing them out of trouble at school to getting in fights, but girls are a completely different animal. Yes, I am drawing a line in the sand between the sexes. Anyone who’s raised both boys and girls know they present two uniquely different and hair graying challenges.

No matter how much we dread these following moments that will come up in the lives of our daughters, we must also realize that we will cherish these moments once they have come and especially when they have gone. The memory never fades as it were, and each of these moments will produce a proud and sometimes gleeful memory when thinking back. Until that point, however, there is no reason for any father not to dread the moments up until these events. That’s just being a caring and protective father. Here are three moments in our daughter’s lives that we will undoubtedly dread, and how to cope with them like a man and as a competent, loving father.

Puberty

The first ten years or so of your daughter’s life are generally complacent ones in that she’s not asking to borrow the car yet and kissing boys is still yucky. These are the golden years for a father, when she’s still learning and curious about the world. You know, before she becomes a teenager. There is a new period now between childhood and the teen years, they call it the ‘tween’ years.

This term is supposed to put parents at ease about their children becoming teenagers earlier than they should. Not much can be done about it. The environment we live in has made sure of that. Unless you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere with no cable television and homeschool your children, it’s hard for them to not be exposed to the so-called adult world. They will receive and process a lot of information in these years, from a whole plethora of outside influences.

Then one day, out of the blue she’ll say she hates you. She’ll slam her door and pout for hours, texting her friends about how horrible you are. She’ll say how she wants to run away and never come back, and cry some more. Then she’ll come out, after she’s now missed the show you said she couldn’t watch, you’ll make up and eat Oreos. This is because teenagers are crazy. Puberty, coupled with a still developing brain, makes teenagers veer between completely adult-like behavior and going stinking nuts. The complications of becoming a woman (not like becoming a man is a walk in the park, but that’s not what we’re talking about here) only add to the already heightened sense of looney.

Suddenly you are working harder than ever to appease this monster that has replaced your little princess. Her moods shift more than a NASCAR driver makes left turns. She says nasty and hurtful things, and picks fights over things that used to be minute details of life. She used to volunteer to do the dishes, now she’d rather spend 40 minutes arguing and screaming something about how it’s personal. God forbid your child gets a sense of politics. Nothing is more stressful and confusing than a teenager mixing political motives into why you’ve asked them to simply take out the trash.

The hardest thing about trying to cope with teenage girl behavior is to not let it get to you. Remember the part about them being out of their minds? Why argue with a crazy person? Rather, let them get it all out and feel the pangs of guilt as you stay stoic and refuse to fuel their passionate fire of misplaced rage and hormones. Handle each situation with calm and logical reasoning; it’ll drive them freaking nuts. They’ll try other tactics, calmer and more thought out tactics in an attempt to prove their dominance. This is what you want, you want them thinking and learning, using their brains for things other than raw emotion.

With a daughter, this will be difficult. You’ll still want to hug them and tell them everything is going to be alright, but you know damn well that isn’t going to happen – at least not on your terms. At the most unexpected times they’ll show you they care and appreciate your efforts. A hug from your daughter for just being there is one of the best things about having a daughter. Soon you’ll both settle into an acceptable truce throughout the teen years, with only a few road-bumps on the way to full blown womanhood.

First Date

Road bump number one sneaks right up on you. You know its coming, every father does. That overplayed father-meets-boyfriend joke repeats in your head. You are sitting at the kitchen table; everything is silent besides your daughter’s footsteps pacing upstairs above your head. On the table, the innards of your Winchester Model 101. You hear a car door slam shut outside.

Your daughter comes bounding down the stairs, reaching the front door (which you have a clear line of sight to) before the doorbell finishes ringing. You slowly start to reassemble the gun. As she approaches, you take note of the ear to ear smile on her face. She’s completely ignoring your chosen evening activity. This is part of the truce, you ignore her crazy and she ignores yours.

She’s holding the hand of a young man; you raise your gaze to meet his eyes. You glare. He blinks with fear. You complete the gun and cock it into position. The loud click breaks the awkward silence. His hand drops from hers and takes a cautious step backwards. Holding the gun in your hand, and standing slowly you clear your throat. Your daughter is still smiling, but she’s starting to wonder. She starts to introduce him to you; you interrupt as you slide a round into the chamber. You ever been shot? You ask the boy. He runs. She cries.

None of that actually happens however. Many a night in your easy chair leading up to that inevitable first encounter you fantasize about that scenario. That’s your princess! How dare some teenage lothario trespass into your house with nothing but the most nefarious of intents in mind?

Remember, calm and collected, calm and collected.

You will shake his hand; you will take him aside and remind him to be courteous and gentleman-like. You will not threaten his life; you will not break his knuckles with your gorilla-like handshake. You will not turn your daughter against you by destroying her first boyfriend’s spirit and/or legs. Because he will not be the last. Chances are there will be many more before she takes her leave of your watchful care. It will never get easier, but every time it will give you an opportunity to be a man and handle each of them with mutual respect. No matter what justification you try to make, you were once that shaggy young man, and you are still standing.

Can I Borrow The Car?

It is statistically shown that teenagers are some of the worst drivers on the road. Remember that bit about their fitfully developing brain? Well, apply that to driving. So what you have are a bunch of crazy people on the road with limited driving experience. Not to mention the current issues with teenagers texting and driving and just plain not paying attention. It’s a scary world for teenager drivers, and I am not looking forward to the day that my daughter comes of age and wants to learn to drive. Yes, I dread that day of all days the most.

No matter how much you teach your child about driving, there is only so much you can learn without actually experiencing it for yourself. We all learned the hard way, by getting out there and doing it and so will our children.

So here’s my solution to the problem: I will enthusiastically teach my daughter to drive without any argument or telling her she’s not old enough. The catch – in a car of my choosing. The trick is to not buy the car before learning to drive, or teaching them in a car full of gadgets and distractions. Yes, they need to learn to drive with such distractions, but they need to learn to drive first. No make-up at stoplights because there is no visor for reflections, no checking the cell phone on the highway because the cigarette lighter doesn’t work and no setting the radio before the seatbelt clicks in because there is no radio. All this might seem extreme, but I just described my car.

Not to mention the lack of air conditioning and the “Oldsmobile Shakes” above 80 miles per hour.

The thing is, these are our daughters. Having children of both sexes I have found that it’s much easier to tell my sons “no” than it is my daughter. I’m sure most of you have the same experience. They make this face, this pouty cute face that is impossible to deny. I don’t foresee that changing. I don’t foresee that it’s going to be easy to deny them the opportunity to learn to drive in a nice car with Bluetooth wireless, radio buttons on the steering wheel and electric windows. You know, a normal car that shouldn’t be rusting in a junkyard. So sadly my conclusion on this one is giving in. At least to the driving machine.

Never forget the lessons though. Even though it’s your daughter and she’s dealing out the pouty face like a blackjack dealer spreads busts across the table, you’ve got to stick to the basics and pull no punches when it comes to the rules of the road. Most important lesson they can learn at that age, one my father taught me, is to always be aware of your surroundings. I have read too many horror stories of teenage girls (and boys) dying in car accidents because they weren’t paying attention to their surroundings. It can’t hurt to print out those horror stories and post them on her bedroom wall either. Nothing like some conscious scare tactic reinforcements.

At this point you may be wondering – is that it? Isn’t there much more than just that in our daughter’s lives? Yes, there is much more. So stay tuned to the Art of Manliness next month for the next three moments. I hope you don’t dread the coming of part two.

Curtis Silver is a core contributor to Wired’s Geek Dad blog, a founder of the daddy blog Everyotherthursday.com, a contributor at Shamable.com and trolls the internets on his blog. Follow on Twitter @cebsilver for regular tomfoolerly and manly cynicism.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 analycer March 25, 2010 at 12:43 am

Scary, but true :D

2 Patrick March 25, 2010 at 4:46 am

I don’t have any children yet, but I absolutely love all the reenactments of the “father meets boyfriend” scenario :D The story contained in this entry cracked me up :D

3 Bharat Patel March 25, 2010 at 6:11 am

that first date scenario cracked me up
i have a little sister who is just about to turn 13 this summer, i try not to keep tabs but once in a while I’ll even I run across her web imprints; already i’m starting to dread more and more and more. I can only imagine what it must be like for my father and mother.

4 Dee Lauderdale March 25, 2010 at 7:13 am

Yep, pretty good recreation of first date scenario. When it comes to boy, my motto is simple “If she cries, you cry”

5 Waltman March 25, 2010 at 8:37 am

Pouty face doesnt work in my house. It is the primary signal that we’re being manipulated, and it shuts both parents down. At that point Daughter can choose to pout (in her room, leaving us alone about it) or talk through it in a calm manner (which has a slim chance of changing our minds about whatever the issue is).

No cell phone, no computer/internet, and no TV in her room is the only way to go folks. Wanna watch TV? Watch it in the living room with the family. Wanna post on Facebook? Use the computer in the living room with the family. We can’t have your email password? Then your computer account is locked.

The surveillance state is alive and well inside my house. It should be in yours as well.

6 MicahWilli March 25, 2010 at 9:04 am

My daughter is 10 days from becoming a teenager (she’s been announcing the countdown for about two months). I have only experienced one of the above moments, that of puberty. I have to admit it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was talking on the phone to my wife when she said, “Oh yeah and ‘started’ today. She was barely 12 at the time and that wasn’t on my radar, so I said, “Started what?”. My wife snickered and explained that she had begin the woman cycle. I’m not ashamed to admit it; I had to sit down, take a minute and call my wife back. It was a much bigger deal fro me than it was for her. Of course, I knew change was coming but I just thought it was always off in the distance. Crazy moods are definitely a part of life in our house and my reaction is really the only thing i can control.

@Waltman can’t agree more. I have a keystroke logger on our “Kid Computer” it saves everything.

7 The Renaissance Wife March 25, 2010 at 10:14 am

This is a good article, but I’d like to stress that confrontation with your teenage daughter and son is absolutely vital for the development of their character. These power struggles shape them and enable them to emancipate themselves from you and outgrow you – becoming their own woman and man in the process.

I remember having countless harsh fights with my parents during that age, and many of them centered around the fact that my friends’ parents were much more lenient when it came to rules and boundaries. They could come home late at any time, skip school, or bring boys home with little or no consequences. I couldn’t and was punished accordingly when I did it anyway.

Back then I hated them and was convinced that they hated me – why else would they treat me so unfairly? As I grew older I came to realize that they did it because they cared and took an actual interest in my life. My friends’ parents didn’t care, avoided the effort that came with setting up rules and enforcing them.

Many of these high school friends are anchorless “adults” now, drifting through life without much purpose or goals. I on the other hand am blessed with a fulfilled and successful life, and I know now that my parents had a big part in this. While I’m not a mother yet, I hope that someday, I too will have the strength to endure a few years of fights and teenage loathing. Because what you get in return is so much more valuable: A lifetime of appreciation and love by a son and a daughter that make you proud.

# 5 Waltman:
I can agree with some of your points. TV and internet time should be limited, and how you establish those time limits is up to you. Putting them in a “public place” (living room) is certainly one way to go.

However your advice makes you sound like a control freak and bears some symptoms of the helicopter parent syndrome. Surveillance state? Monitoring your daughter’s e-mail account? That goes way too far in my opinion. There is a line between enforcing boundaries and breaching her trust by monitoring her *private* conversations via e-mail, IM etc. This is just as bad as reading in her diary. How do you expect her to respect other people’s privacy when you are setting such an example? An atmosphere of distrust and constant monitoring won’t help in raising a responsible, self-reliant and self-confident adult.

Sincerely,
Anna-Sophia

8 Mark Nelson March 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

Those of you putting your faith in the mighty hand of the computer keylogger, I urge you not to become too complacent. Speaking from my own experience, they aren’t nearly as complete a shield as you might think.

Smart teenagers will have already figured out your passwords, either because they are easy (your pet’s name, your birthday, etc) or because they’ve watched you type it in. They will use the task manager and process manager to identify whether you are keylogging, and then they will happily use that password to disable your keylogger when they want to have some privacy on the computer. They may even edit the log to put in false entries — indeed, copying sections out of old IM chatlogs can do wonders to even make the voices sound right.

Not that I would have ever done this. Me? No, never!

9 John Madden March 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

Great post, Curtis.

It reminded me of the line: “With a son, you only have to worry about one penis. With a daughter, you worry about all of them.”

10 Michael March 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

I have to take issue with a lot of this. Perhaps it is true for many but that depends on what kind of father you are from the beginning. Having raised 3 daughters and one son, and 3 sisters and 2 younger bothers (parents died when I was 17 and I managed to keep us all together until I was legal and then until my siblings were grown).

My wife and I never had the teen girl rebellion that many people do. I can say it was for a handful of reasons; Too many dads spoil, coddle and pamper their daughters. I did not my girls worked in the yard, did any chore I did, we worked all household chores and projects as a family, no one ever felt dumped on because everyone shared in the work. My daughters knew that much was expected of them, including civil behavior. We did not allow a lot of TV, we spend a lot of time in family discussions, we never made them thing Daddy or Mommy knew best, they knew from a young age that we made mistakes so they had no delusions when they were teens and no feelings of betrayals or that we were hypocrites. Which brings me to the next point, We were always honest with our kids and never asked them to do things we would not. They knew they had no grounds to claim unfair treatment on anything. They had to earn everything, thy did not have cell phones until the had jobs and cars. We spent a lot of time teaching and discussing morals, ethics, responsibility. We were engaged with them on homework, we required that we knew all their friends and the friends parents if they were going to spend much time with someone.

I did do the shot gun thing when dating new boys. My girls would even remind me to get it out as they were brought up expecting me to do it long before dating age. They knew why too, that it was to intimidate the boys to be respectful, the same thing I expected my daughters to be. We discussed sex with them and did not shy away from any topic. We listened to them, still do (my daughters are all in college and are paying their own way) call me at least once a week or text. We keep communications open. Selfishness was never aloud or indulged when little. We did not dress them like pop stars when they were 5 so they did no grow up wanting to be tarts when they were teens. We encouraged critical thinking, my daughters know they are smart and pretty. And that looks are meaningless it who you are that counts. My girls played sports, learned instruments, singing, theater, camping hiking, shooting (they all shoot better than me), in short they are diversified and have experienced life. Freedom was earned with trust and lost easily so they knew what was expected and how to earn the right to be trusted.

In the end they are more conservative in their choices than me, they dated very nice boys because they grew up with an appreciation for substance and depth not popularity or looks alone. They dated the boys every parent wished their girls were dating. Not the ones ones you expect to go to prison at any moment.

Sorry if this is too long, but the kind of daughter you have a s a teen depends heavily on the kind of parent you are as they are growing up. Were my daughters perfect? Of coarse not. Did they have emotional trials, dating trouble? sure. Did but I can tell you I never had the “I hate you” and “you don’t understand me” crap when they were teens. With high expectations, honesty, and openness your children can communicate with you during those hormonal and challenging years with more respect and knowing they can trust you, and knowing you are not perfect means they don’t have to learn as teens that your a hypocrite or liar, and that you do what you say and live by the same expectations you ask them to live by. The “do as I say not what I do” parenting does not work.

11 Jordan March 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

This article dances around the subject, but never really tackles it head on: Your daughter WILL have sex. Likely before you want her to. Likely with more partners than you want her to. Likely in all of the ‘ways’ you and your wife have had sex… and more.

I want to challenge all men to do whatever it takes to eradicate the Madonna-whore complex from their personal psychology.

You will be able to love your daughters, wives, mothers, etc for what they really are, rather than what you want them to be.

12 Curtis Silver March 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

@Michael Thanks for the great comments. You have all good, valid points. In writing this article, I went from a stereotypical angle, rather than pick a specific style of parenting or child demeanor. When I think of my cousin, who is now a Fullbright Scholar, she had a similar experience growing up to how you detail your daughters lives. However, for every one of her there are hundreds upon hundreds of “typical” teenage girls. I have no idea which path my own daughter will take, as I’m still raising her.

13 Curtis Silver March 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

@Jordan Dude, that’s a whole ‘nother article all to itself! ;-)

14 Jon March 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

I was going to post and rant about how sad this article is and how it is that many men expect this to be a norm for them and their daughters, but I feel like Michael already said what I wanted to and (and probably better.) He’s right, it will ALL depend on how you parents starting from the day their born. AND it will largely come down to how they see you treat their mother.

The one issue I must take is on dating. “Dating” is it is currently done is fruitless and has no place in a teen’s life. If there isn’t a real possibility for a relationship to end in marriage, then the relationship shouldn’t start… and if there is a real possibility of marriage then call it what it is: courtship. The end result is not two kids hanging out and getting overly emotionally involved, but two families actively getting to know each other–much more healthy and safer emotionally for your daughter.

Also Jordan, you’re wrong to assume that our kids will have sex “before we want” or “with more partners than we want.” You’re probably right if that’s the expectation you have and they grow up with that either directly or tacitly coming from you. But, if from birth, you parent them in such a way that they understand sex is for marriage and marriage is for life, and you maintain a health relationship with them through their teens, then as Michael mentioned, you’ll all be on the same page, and sex will be kept for marriage like it’s supposed to be.

15 Chris Mower March 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

Ahhh, I swear some of them never get past the puberty stage. BTW, your first date scenario was cleverly written and a delight to read.

16 Jordan March 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

@Jon

I’m not going to address whether sex is ‘supposed to be for marriage’ but many parents have brought their kids up with the expectation that they ought to save themselves for marriage, but children will make their own decisions. Whether you find out about it or not, most will not wait.

17 Julie March 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm

From the perspective of a woman who was once a girl, that second point about the potential boyfriends is very important. Don’t drive her away or by giving her reason not to introduce to you the boy she is interested in or hanging out with. You want to know him, he ought to know you, and whether or not you can understand it, your daughter still needs you to look out for her and protect her. Never make her feel through your actions or inactions that she cannot come to you when she’ll need to. There may be times when she needs to come to you, or for you to come get her, and you will want to be that dad. And she will want you to be that dad — even tho she’s having a hard time figuring things out in this adolescent moment.

18 Christina March 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I agree with Julie…and I want to add—-as a girl—and a woman (I’m 25 now) I want to know what my dad thinks of him.

I grew up with a very good relationship with my dad and I talk to him most days a week (we both have commutes and tend to chat often) and on top of that I tend to SEE HIM in person at least once a week. Being close to him makes me really want to know his opinion. If I’m with a guy and my dad thinks he’s a snake…….maybe I’m missing something? Maybe all I see is him being slick and shiny and my dad is reading him better without my hormones being in the way.

19 The Renaissance Wife March 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I agree with Julie. It all comes down to trust. The thought of my dad loading his gun to scare off a potential boyfriend seems utterly surreal and absurd to me, and frankly makes him look like an immature fool – luckily he is far from that in real life. How could I respect and trust such a man? The same goes for him snooping through my private stuff like my personal e-mail account or diary. These are simply off-limits and none of a parent’s business.

If you forcibly try to control too many aspects of your daughters’ life, you will most likely accomplish the opposite. She will loose trust in you and withdraw, which means she won’t come to you in those vital moments when she really needs your guidance or protection.

Teenagers need boundaries, but you don’t need to micromanage their life. They require space to grow as a person, at times the freedom to make their own mistakes – and learn from them. Since teenagers are just as diverse in character as adults, some will require more parenting and more boundaries than others.

I don’t see how an atmosphere of total control and micromanagement is going to accomplish that. And I doubt there’s a golden rule of parenting that works on every teenager.

# 14, Jon:
I respect your opinion, however I don’t share this Christian conservative view of the world. Many people don’t. It is your right to raise your daughter as you see fit – but don’t claim that your values are universal and apply to everyone. That is disrespectful towards those of us who enjoyed a different upbringing or follow other courses of parenting.

Sincerely,
Anna-Sophia

20 Michael March 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm

“This is a good article, but I’d like to stress that confrontation with your teenage daughter and son is absolutely vital for the development of their character.”

“Your daughter WILL have sex. Likely before you want her to.”

Boy, some people seem to have a “just give up already” attitude about parenting.

None of me or my siblings have ever had a major confrontation with our parents. Little things, sure, but never anything that I could call serious or bitter or long lived. 3 of us are out of college and married, two are in college now, and 2 are still teenagers at home (and seem unlikely to get into a confrontation either).

Of us three who are married already, we all waited till we were married to have sex. Kids do make their own choices, and there are no guarantees that my other siblings will stick to the same choices I made, but kids pick up on the values their parents teach.

It’s not like we were home schooled recluses on the frontier either, we went to a public school, have been involved in theater, track/basketball/vollyball/soccer, scouts, band, academic programs, Rotary International student exchange, had friends, went to dances, dated…pretty much everything other kids were doing (except the sex and drugs and drinking).

Somehow our parents gave us the freedom to do what we wanted while teaching us to want to be good. I wish I could say what the secret is, but I really don’t know — but that’s no reason to give on parenting ideals.

21 Matt March 25, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Most of what I could say has already been said. I wasn’t going to post until I saw Rennaisance Wife’s comment:

“but don’t claim that your values are universal and apply to everyone”

Sorry, but quite frankly– It don’t work! Basically, one of your values is:”Don’t push your values on other people as “values” aren’t “universal” and don’t “apply to everyone.” Hopefully, the self-defeating nature of this argument is apparent, but just in case it is not, I’ll restate the position bluntly. To tell someone not to impose their values, moral system, ethics… whatever, is doint the very same thing you are telling them not to do! By making this statement, you are imposing YOUR values, moral system, ethics… whatever, on whoever you are giving this command to. It don’t work!

22 Skinny D. March 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm

One of the most fun articles I’ve read in a while. Great writing. I can foresee the shock it will be when my little girl goes through this metamorphosis. She’s so little and cute and innocent now. It’s great to have a “heads up” from you who are already there.

23 The Renaissance Wife March 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm

# 21 Matt:
If I may ask, what is your motivation to play word games with me? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have a feeling that you very well know what I intended to say. There is no need to belittle and lecture me on logical fallacies, because that is completely besides the point of the discussion. So, do you disagree with my remark regarding the universality of “no sex before marriage!”?

#20 Michael:
Good for you. As I pointed out before, everyone is different, including teenagers. Some people react compliant towards authority, others confrontational. We have read about fairly different, yet successful ways of parenting in this discussion. I believe that the common denominator is parents who care, who are involved in their children’s lives, who take an effort. That is not to be taken for granted at this day and age.

Have a good night, gentlemen.

Sincerely,
Anna-Sophia

24 Angelia Sparrow March 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Puberty hits early. My 10 year old is all curvy.

I despise the controlling father who intimidates the boys. That was why I never introduced my boyfriends to my dad.

Teaching her to drive isn’t the worst. It’s when you get the call that she’s been in an accident. For us, this was three weeks ago. She stopped for a red light but the driver behind her didn’t.

Renaissance Wife, I’m with you. We aren’t Christian. We see no need to conform to Christian-imposed morality. Courtship and marital virginity only make for wedding night naivete. It’s a control method, to make sure the girl doesn’t know anything and has no standard to hold her husband to.

25 Chuck March 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Those are scary, indeed. I have 3 adult sons and even more frightening is:
Dad…. ____________, says she might be pregnant.
Dad….Me and ___________, are thinking about divorce.
Dad….I’m being deployed to Baghdad.

26 Shannon March 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Wow! I can’t believe Angelia’s statement! We should have sex before marriage so we have standards for our husband! Is that how we are supposed to pick our husbands out? based on sex? great idea, I bet that would work out great every time! It really helps with the spread of STDs too. I could go on and on about the stupidity of that statement!

27 Playstead March 26, 2010 at 2:58 am

While I agree with a lot of the comments that not all girls are nightmares and some won’t have a lot of the issues that others have, I agree that regardless how you raised them, you still feel uneasy when they go for that first date or get in a car the first time. There are just too many things out there they can’t control. You just have to pray you’ve given them the tools to do what’s right and to get out of a bad situation. After all, that’s a dad’s job.

28 Sir Lancelot March 26, 2010 at 4:11 am

“Courtship and marital virginity only make for wedding night naivete. It’s a control method, to make sure the girl doesn’t know anything and has no standard to hold her husband to.”

Angelia, do you actually believe that’s the origin of the sex-outside-marriage taboo? Do you realise one of the reasons women have traditionally been so pro-Christian from he early days is the fact that Christianism imposes fidelity on the husband?

29 The Renaissance Wife March 26, 2010 at 7:06 am

# 24 Angelia:
I don’t believe this kind of attitude is exclusive to religious people. I know Christians who live and let live, I also know atheists who love to push their values in everyone’s faces. The latter I find disrespectful, so I take offense at the cavalier attitude that shines through claims like “sex is for marriage” and “sex will be kept for marriage like it’s supposed to be”.

30 Octane March 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

Jon, you rock. That is *exactly* the mindset that needs to get brought back.

31 Michael March 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Just to be clear there are more than 1 Michael posting here. I’m the long winded one!

As to the comment about loading my gun when guys come by, this is a family joke, we all talk about it and my girls know I’m a push-over and have a hard time killing bugs let alone pulling a gun on someone. It’s been such a long running joke that as I said when they have guys coming over they remind me to go get my shotgun and clean it. Thats code for I have a guy coming over. And they like to see just how the guys react. All three of my daughters have said it gives them a sense of comfort too knowing that the guys don’t know it’s a joke (I’m really serious while I’m cleaning my already clean gun and trying hard not to crack up) as it is one more reminder to them to consider how they will treat her. They have no problem with it because they were raised around guns and all shoot and have no silly fears like gun control advocates who have no real understanding of guns and most have had no experience with them beyond the hyped lessons TV and anti-gun groups push. Now I’ll leave the rest of that thought for another topic.

Regarding wether or not they have sex I am in a more neutral position, first off all the stats on this even from pro teen sex groups like planned parenthood put it between 45 and 48% off people have sex by the time they are 21. The number everyone seems to miss is the other half, namely that 52-55% of people do not have sex before 21. So when people say everyone having sex it’s only half of everyone, and when people say no one waits until marriage 40-45% of adults say they did, again statistically half.

It is little more than propaganda to push that everyone is doing it therefor it’s okay and should be ignored. I’m not saying how you should raise your kids, but mine were brought up to make their own choices and part of that was they were well aware of the consequences of early sexual activity. Of my 4 children 1 decided to have sex before marriage and said they always regretted it later. The other three so far have decided not to. But that is their choice. As I also mentioned they have grown up much ore conservative than me and generally speaking so are the circle of friends they choose to hang out with. All 4 chose very conservative colleges to go to as well without us parents directing them either way.

I believe in the old adages of teach a man to fish and he will have food for a lifetime and raise them up in correct principles and let them govern themselves. Both principles that speak to the art of manliness but also to the foundations of the US and a way a life at least half us us still espouse, one of self responsibility, self determination and self control. All things once part of our nations national way of thinking and living. Funny then that the people who want the nanny state with all the entitlements and who want others who have worked hard and earned the rewards of that work to pay their way so they can be lazy and irresponsible seem to be the ones pushing a personal and family agenda of permissive behaviors, self gratification and unrealistic praise for accomplishing nothing. I see now raise up your families to not be responsible or exercise self control or delayed gratification engenders the desire to have government step in and do everything for you because you yourselves have grown up wrongly thinking you don’t have to it’s someone else’s job and nothings my fault so I should not be held accountable for my actions or inactions let the government do it. Seems to go hand in hand in raising our kids in over indulgent, permissive, lazy, and yet fearful dependence on big brother.

32 The Renaissance Wife March 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

# 31 Michael:
If I may ask, what constitutes a “nanny state” for you?

Sincerely,
Anna-Sophia

33 Angelia Sparrow March 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Shannon, actualy, I’m a firm advocate of self-love before any activity with partners. If you don’t know what pleases you, how can anyone else? And why shouldn’t we demand our mates be sexually satisfying? After all, we’re going to be sleeping with them for the next 40+ years. That’s a long time to spend with someone you aren’t compatible with.

Fidelity? Stats show that 90% of all men cheat on their wives at some point. And that 75% of all men identify as Christian. Religion has nothing to do with fidelity. Only the people in the relationship can decide if mongamy is right for them.

Lancelot, the “no sex before marriage” taboo comes from the days when women were propety. The best way for a man to insure his children were all his was to control access to women. If you check out actual history, it’s always been more honored in the breach than the observance. Lots of 7 month babies. And recent information shows that not only are our daughts engaging in nonmarital sex, our mothers, grandmothers and possibly great-grandmothers did as well.

The sexual ethic I teach is “enthusiastic consent” and “honor your prior commitments (to yourself or others).” This requires more maturity, negotiation, thought and planning for an encounter than simply “don’t!”

34 The Renaissance Wife March 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm

As for the “no sex before marriage” issue, there are those couples who are wonderfully compatible at an emotional level, but a total mismatch regarding their sexuality. If this happens to someone in a “no sex before marriage” marriage, they’re likely to be in big trouble – unless sex is just not that important to them, unless they are comfortalbe with living in a sexually unfulfilled marriage for the rest of their life.

I would not be surprised if many of these couples are actually unhappier in their marriage than couples who explored all venues of their relationship – including sex – before they got married. It’s just a vital part of a relationship for most couples.

Be that as it may, everyone must pursue their own happiness in their own way, and make their own mistakes.

Have a good night everyone.

Sincerely,
Anna-Sophia

35 Erik March 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm

If you’re hoping that your girl is going to avoid sleeping with an idiot, the way to go about it is to raise her so that she feels secure about herself and does not need to ‘put out’ simply for approval from someone. Religion has little to do with this. I know born-again Christian girls who engage in pre-marital sex with completely unsuitable partners. By unsuitable, I mean guys that are only thinking of themselves (e.g. they actually have other girlfriends, or may even be married to someone else at the time they start boning the girls. And the girls know all this, but they engage in sex anyway because they ‘love’ the guys.)

36 Andy March 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

#33 Angelia Sparrow:
“Stats show that 90% of all men cheat on their wives at some point.”

2 questions. 1.) What is your definition of cheat? and 2.) where did you get this statistic?

To me 90% seems like alot.

37 Sir Lancelot March 27, 2010 at 9:32 am

Angelia, you make a spouse seem like a sex toy. Good luck to you.

38 Erik March 28, 2010 at 8:12 am

Sir Lancelot, I believe it was Kant who said ‘Marriage is a contract for the use of one another’s genitals.’ Like it or not, a spouse (and I include husbands in this) *is* viewed as a ‘sex toy’ to a degree. Very few people, especially if younger, get married expecting sex to be a trivial or unimportant part of their lives. Married people expect satisfying sex from their partners. It’s just part of the deal. Those who don’t satisfy their partners should be prepared to watch their relationships degrade very quickly.
And it’s not just the men who are demanding about sex. Have any of you ever spoken intimately to a woman whose husband hasn’t touched her for four, five, six months? You’ll know how bitter she is (and how willing she is to go with someone else, merely so she can feel like a woman again. As is her right.).

39 ToddBS March 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Good show! My daughter just turned 10 in February. She’s already referring to herself as a “tween”. That was a new one for me.

40 Tyler Logan March 30, 2010 at 4:48 am

Very nicely written post! I’m looking forward to having children – especially a daughter. The challenge will be rewarding! Can’t say how I’d feel on the first date scenario though lol

41 Gloria March 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm

You hit the nail on the head! ~From a daughter to now a mother of a growing “tween”~

42 Korin April 3, 2010 at 1:27 am

I think this article could benefit from a section outlining some possible choices of what to do if your daughter brings home a girl for a date. Is that too risque? I know some people don’t agree with that, but a parent should also be very careful of how they show that disapproval. After all, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, and lgbt teens have an even higher rate than their straight peers.

43 Mr Miyagi April 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

So glad I have boys and not girls. Puberty, first dates, and teaching them to responsibly drive have all been fun.

44 NadiaInconnue April 7, 2010 at 2:37 am

To all those dads out there panicking because your daughters just hit puberty:

Take heart, it *does* get better! The crazy mood swings and (what appear to be) personality transplants don’t last forever. It all settles down after a while as we learn to function with our new adult brains and bodies.

And, no, we don’t really hate your guts even if we say so in the midst of a major PMS episode. :)

From a woman who was once one of those crazy hormonal teen girls.

45 Mr Deal April 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I wouldn’t necessarily say that our kids are exposed to more adult material… more like exposed to a commercial idea of what being an adult is. In the past, kids were probably much more exposed to family deaths, death in general, having to work hard labor on farms, work jobs to help take care of family and other factors. Those are things that build character, and cause one to become more mature and in touch with reality. The new exposure to commercialized “norms” creates an atmosphere in which a more immature adulthood is marketed. If a teenager never grows out of having to keep up with the latest trends, then they can never become truly mature.

46 Skannd Tyagi April 11, 2010 at 11:05 pm

The first date paragraph made me laugh so hard that I might have blown a nerve somewhere. Very well written indeed!

47 Dragon Blogger April 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Enjoyed the article, this is one of the reasons why I am really glad I have two sons and no daughters.

48 Laura April 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm

@Jordan—Thank you. Dividing women into two groups based on sex is not only unrealistic, it doesn’t benefit men who want one partner that fulfills all needs.

@Michael—I think that opinions/expectations of your family and the segment of society that you identify with are key factors in whether or not you regret sex before marriage. Though everything surrounding sexuality is pretty complicated—and there are definitely times that I wish I would have passed over a certain boyfriend or partner—I’m happy to be a more experienced, informed adult.

@The Renaissance Wife—I’m with you; people need to know that they are compatible on multiple levels before making a life-long commitment, especially if they are really interested in it being LIFE-LONG.

And finally, it makes me sad that there have been a few ‘glad I don’t have daughters’ posts. Teenage boys have their own special version of crazy.

49 HM August 19, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I’m 20, so I know a lot about teenagers. They’re stupid and unstable. NEVER let them drive your car without you in it, if at all. NEVER trust them when they say they aren’t on drugs or haven’t tried them. If they are boys, they are looking at porn, and if they’re smart there is nothing you can do about it. Treat them the same way you would a 5 year old basically, but don’t let them know that.

Incidentally, I never even took a puff from a cigarette or got arrested or drunk or into a car accident or anything. I for all intents and purposes, was not a teenager.

50 ellie November 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm

My dad tried the whole “sticking horror stories on my walls” bit when I started driving… after the second round of, him sticking, me removing, I simply sat and waited for him to try it again. I then gently reminded him, my room has a theme, and his, while well-intentioned pieces of white printer paper, on my walls ruined that, and while i would read them, i would appreciate them on my desk in the future. I do believe my exact phrase to begin was ” your macabre pieces of death filled paper clash with the DECOR of my room.” my snarky 16 year old self was pretty proud of my hippie-themed bedroom, and of reading my mom’s old interior design textbooks.

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