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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fathers and Daughters are Complicated

There are lots of blogs and websites that are geared toward parenting, even ones niched in areas like breastfeeding, toddlers, pre-school and teenagers. That's great. Sometimes, however, the advice or recommendations aren't applicable to everyday life. You might say to yourself, "Gee, I can see how that might work in Pollyanna, but that's not going to work for me here in Average Dad-ville.

It's like when I used to get student interns in my department, and my colleagues and I would sit an intern down and lay out for him or her the manner in which we wanted that student to undertake a particular project. Inevitably, the student would gaze at us with a puzzled stare and (say it with me) "but that's not how the Textbook says to do it." Or, the other predictable reply, "But that's not how Professor Smith taught us to do it." At which point my colleagues and I would state: a) your textbook was written by a desk jockey with lots of letters after his name and it's ten years old, b) your professor hasn't held a job in the real world and couldn't find his butt with both hands if he had to get one, c) we've actually been doing this stuff that you're trying to learn, and we have a clue about some things that might work.

I was at an AAU basketball tournament with my daughters (all three play basketball) and I was wearing a T-shirt that my daughters had bought for me that screamed in big white capital letters (against a black shirt) D.A.D.D., and in smaller print below, Dads Against Daughters Dating. I lost count of how many comments I received, from both men and women. but one father said to me, "you should start a support group." So here I am.

I am NOT a doctor, a psychologist, a counselor or a therapist. I'm just an average Dad who wakes up every morning with four women fighting for the bathroom, the one good hair dryer, the flat iron and the hair gel. I do not profess to be an expert on parenting, nor am I the perfect parent.

What I do pride myself on is trying really hard everyday to be the best Dad I can be. Some days that's not as good as others. There's a lot of days that I go to bed and think about something I might've said or done that day, and I knock myself in the head and say, "man, that was really stupid." More often than not, I have a decent day, or as I try to remind myself, "I don't think I scarred anyone for life today."

So I'm going to make you a deal. I'm going to share some stuff, warts and all. I'm going to attempt to bring some common sense to the challenging relationship between fathers and daughters. On occasion I will try to obtain some expert commentary on a particular issue that's important but of which I have no background or experience.

In return, I only ask that you feel free to share and/or comment. We Dads only have one another. One of the things that really honks me off is a female author who writes a parenting book about fathers and daughters. What the heck would she know about it?

And although my three daughters are all teenagers, (yes I've lost my hair, my money and my sanity), I remember when they were smaller and younger. And I have nieces between 2-years old and 12-years old. What I'm saying is, I don't have a script for what I'm going to write about each post. Some days it might be dating, others it might be about changing a loaded diaper.

I'm also not a big fan of criticizing people, and I'd appreciate it if that sentiment carries over to this community. Although I would say that celebrities who put themselves "out there" are fair game. I mean, would any average dad really want Kelly Osborne for his daughter? It's probably a good thing that Ozzie killed most of his brain cells in his younger days.

So welcome aboard. I can't foresee where this path will lead, but I do know as is the relationship between fathers and daughters, it will be humorous, challenging and unpredictable.

Fathers' dating tip for the week: When you answer the door for a young man coming to pick up your daughter for a date, make certain that when you open the door, you have a staple gun, a flyswatter, and anything that can be perceived as a weapon. I'll tell you why next time.

P.S. Don't forget to tell your daughter you love her.