I had two teenage girls turn up for a clinic appointment 2 weeks ago. An elderly gentleman was with them. I was not too sure if he was dad or grandad but I admired the relationship they enjoyed portrayed by their conversations.
This elderly gentleman teasingly answered some of the questions I asked, stating that the girls were spending too much time on their phones. He even knew what the girls career ambitions were. When one of them expressed the fact that she wanted to be a medical doctor, I advised her that she needed to get some work experience.
The gentleman then chipped in that their mother would be able to help.
I was curious and wanted to know what their mother did however I hesitated. I did not want to be termed as being intrusive. I thought my opportunity came when it was time to take a certain investigation & the rest people left the room. I was left with one child and popped the question.
To my dismay, she called out loudly ‘dad, what does mum do again?
I got my answer but it got me thinking. The ease in which these girls related to their dad was a pleasure to watch and an indicator of future relationships with men in later life. I also eventually found out that the girls were children from a second marriage and the teenagers had older step=siblings in their thirties.
Could that have made a contribution to the way he related with them? Is it possible for this kind of relationship to be the norm in our relationships with our daughters?
Do fathers love sons more or is it a case of the bias of wanting an heir?
On Father’s day, Keisha admonished that while searching for the “ Y” chromosomes, fathers should realize that they could also be fulfilled in their fatherhood of the ‘X’ chromosome children. In other words, the girl child. Unfortunately, our daughters also know when we are treating them like 2nd class children just because they are of the female gender and it does hurt badly.
I can still remember vividly as a child being told how pretty and intelligen I was by my dad. My self-esteem and confidence were built and boosted at home. If fathers never tell our daughters that they are beautiful, intelligent and we love them for who they are, guess what will happen when they hear this outside?
Somewhere at the back of our minds as ladies, our dads are our heroes and probably the first introduction to the ways and mannerisms of the male species.
So, the way fathers treat their daughters will determine largely the kind of treatment these girls will allow or expect to have when they start dating.
What of showing our daughters that we care, taking them out and having that dad and daughter alone time!? If we normalize going to an eatery, buying suya(meat delicacy), ice-cream , pizzas in our homes, it is unlikely that any guy who buys this for her will get the license to take her to bed.
If dads treat their daughters with respect, not barging their way into their bedrooms without knocking, they will be teaching them respect & boundaries and it will be difficult for another man to be abusive and remain in their lives.
And it is possible that we may have made mistakes. We are only human but can make amends by apologizing to our daughters. Yes, and I promise you, this apology will not kill you or make you small. In short if anything, you would be teaching your child the true marks of a mature adult.
My friend once apologized to her 4 year old son and he replied ‘mummy it is okay, my teacher says mistakes help us to get better ‘.
Never apologizing is actually never taking responsibility for our actions and this only teaches our children pride and contributes to low emotional intelligence as well as lack of social skills
But before I leave, i just want to say that although an apology is good, not all things will be solved by an apology alone. For some fathers & father figures who have abused their daughters, especially sexually, there is a need to get help from professionals.
We can all learn and unlock to become better. Thankfully there are so many resources available, and some are online and free. Good parenting does not just happen. We all have to do the work to receive the gains, which would be mostly long term in nature.
This is where we sign off for this topic this month. We do hope every dad relates & takes care of his daughter in such a way that will make her a confident woman who loves life and has healthy relationships. Dad. take your place.