Doug Ernst Staff Writer
Men naturally focus on the father-son relationship. I have spent most of my adult life searching for my father who had lived a full but short life before he died at age 55. I was 10.
Likewise, I believe that most men who have sons relish the challenge of teaching their boys how to become men. The relationship a boy has with his father is a key relationship for any male.
If a father wants his daughter to live a good life with a good man, dad had better learned how to model good behavior and talk to his daughter about qualities to look for in a man.
However, as a father of daughters, not sons, I also look at the father-daughter relationship as a key toward helping boys learn how to become men.
Here’s why: Young women often choose young men who are most like their fathers. If a father wants his daughter to live a good life with a good man, dad had better learned how to model good behavior and talk to his daughter about qualities to look for in a man.
I learned this lesson while my daughters were teenagers. When boys came to the front door, most of them scared the hell out of me. For one thing, they looked like me when I was a teenager. They had that Eddie Haskell look in their eye that told me everything I needed to know about what they wanted from my daughters. I wanted the same thing from my girlfriends when I was a teenager. I simply had to get past their fathers to get to the promised land.
The wise father will realize that he needs to be more than just the guy at the front door who acts aggressively toward his daughter’s boyfriend. He needs to help teach his daughter how to teach young men about respect.
Boys and men are biologically programmed to want sex. There is really nothing unusual about the male sex drive. Although a mother can coach her daughter to deal with boys, a father can better explain how boys learn.
The context he can teach his daughter is this: She will be better off with boys who can learn to control themselves and respect her wishes.
The girl who receives support from her father to seek respect from boys may have fewer dates, but she will – over time – teach boys how to respect girls.
So, how can a father talk to his daughter about respect?
- First, dad can use examples from his own life to show how he learned the benefits that come with respecting women. It’s one of those life lessons that fathers are uniquely qualified to give to their daughters.
- Second, by telling his daughter she deserves respect, he is telling her that he respects her and her mother.
- Third, he can show his commitment to respecting all of the women in his life.
When I see men with their daughters, I ask myself what kind of impression he is making on his girl, who will soon be a woman looking for a good man.
I believe that most fathers will have a greater impact on sons than daughters. True enough, a daughter will get most of what she needs from her mother.
But men who overlook the impact they have on their daughters are missing a great opportunity to teach respect to daughters and the young men they date. Men who talk to their daughters about respect can help improve relationships between young men and women.
By showing his daughter that he respects women, a father can do something her mother can’t.
He can teach his daughters how a respectful man acts.