As a Dad of 3 small kids, two of which are girls aged 7 and 1, life is always very busy and extremely interesting. What has been particularly interesting is not only seeing the differences between my daughters and my son, but also my reactions to things that arise. Here are 5 Things This Dad Regularly Tells His Daughter:
What really makes bringing up kids such an interesting journey is the fact that every age presents very different challenges: just as one child goes through the difficult terrible twos (or threes or fours), another comes along and takes their place!
But of course another fly in the ointment when it comes to child raising, is the fact that boys and girls are just so utterly different by nature. Whereas (in my experience at least), boys are boisterous, hyper-active and intent on making as much noise as possible and leaving a trail of destruction after them, girls tend to be much quieter, more placid, and easier to control within the confines of the four walls of a house.
So, as a Dad with experience of both sexes, here are 5 things that I have found myself telling my eldest daughter…..obviously some of them are also very relevant to my son, most notably the last one which clearly should not be sex specific!
#1. Your brother does love you and he doesn’t really mean it…..
Ah yes, it’s a common complaint in our house: “Daddy, Tom hit me!”. If I had a Euro for every time I heard those four words I’d be a rich man by now….
But the thing is, as Jess is both the eldest child AND a girl, let’s just say Dad can be a little over-protective of her at times. In other words, I have a tendency to wade in as soon as a formal complaint is made, dishing out sympathy and scoldings in equal measure!
But beneath it all, Jess knows well that her younger brother never really means any harm: it’s just that he’s a boy and he does exactly what every boy the world over does.
#2. Girls can play football, not just boys!
It’s funny how many boys and girls seem to have an in-built perception that certain activities are exclusively for boys, and certain ones are exclusively for girls.
For example, although Jessica (7) has zero interest in football, something which has always been the case, it’s funny how she has always believed that that football is for boys and that girls just don’t play it.
Of course, this is clearly no longer the case and it’s great to see more and more girls playing football alongside boys, without anyone thinking it’s anything other than completely normal.
So, I’ll keep on trying to hammer home the message that actually girls do play football – even if Jess doesn’t and won’t.
#3. Wanting to be a waitress is perfectly fine – but maybe look at some other professions too?
Jess is a foodie, no doubt about that. She has always loved her food and much like myself and her Mum, it’s one of the things that is foremost in her mind at all times: how long is it till lunchtime? Have we had our lunch today? What’s for dinner tonight? These are the sort of urgent issues that occupy her mind.
So, when I asked her recently “what do you think you’d like to be when you grow up”? , it shouldn’t have been any surprise that the answer was pretty emphatic: “A waitress”.
Now there is nothing at all wrong with being a waitress but at the age of 7 I would like to think that over the coming years, I might be able to put forward some other alternative career options – just in case!
#4. Mummies and Daddies have to work because when you work you get money…
I must say that 7 is a really lovely age. The questions 7 year olds ask are clever and, in fact, sometimes so logical and sensible that they can be difficult to answer in a straightforward fashion.
One question I am increasingly asked is “why do you and Mummy have to work so much?”. It’s a good question (and one I increasingly ask myself!).
So although young children (thankfully) have no need to understand in any great detail the value of money, I feel it’s still important that they understand, in a very general sense, what money is, how you get it and why you need it….
#5. I love you….that’s brilliant….well done!
Now I’m getting soppy. All I can say is it happens very infrequently so please forgive me!
I never thought I’d be the soppy Dad type, I must admit, but I suppose it’s only when you have kids that you learn these things about yourself.
Anyway, all joking aside, I always make a point of telling my kids how much I love them.
Why? Well I think it’s important they know because I believe it provides them with much needed comfort and re-assurance. Life is incredibly difficult these days for kids (and indeed adults too. And as technology continues to try to replace the need for human interaction, it’s only going to become more and more difficult as they go through their school years.
So, like all Dads out there, I simply want my kids to know that when they are faced with problems and difficulties, they know they can come and talk to me whenever, no matter how bad their situation might be.
And with regard to telling them “that’s brilliant”, “you’re brilliant” or “well done”, offering encouragement and recognising their efforts in whatever they are doing is really important in terms of helping to develop their self-confidence.
I firmly believe that self confidence is an increasingly vital part of a child’s tool-kit when it comes to coping with stressful situations, withstanding peer pressure, and simply being able to thrive and be happy. That’s why I’m a big believer in praising my kids at every opportunity!
Over to you now. What would you add to the list of things to tell your daughter? Share it with us in the comments below.