8 Things Dads Should NEVER Say to Their Daughters

parenting Aug 11, 2020
8 Things Dads Should NEVER Say to Their Daughters

The relationship between a dad and daughter is special. However, like in many special bonds, saying the wrong things can cause the relationship to go south quickly.  

Careful communication and understanding are essential when you’re raising a daughter. With that in mind, you need to go and apologize to yours if you’ve said any of these eight things dads should never say. 

1. “Stop Being So Emotional!”

One of the worst things to do to your daughters (and sons, for that matter) is to be dismissive of their emotions. Hence, you shouldn’t tell your daughters to stop being emotional whenever they’re upset. 

Dismissing your children’s emotions isn’t just counterproductive. By telling your daughters to put a pin on their emotions, you’re telling them that you don’t care about their emotions. Doing this can set them up for developing repressed emotions, especially as they get older. 

When your daughter is upset, the best thing you can do as a dad is to hug her and recognize the emotion. Say that you recognize how upset she is and that you’re there if she needs anything.

You’ll be amazed at how far this can go in actually cheering your daughter up. 

2. “Go Talk to Your Mother”

Telling your daughter to “go talk to her mother” has the same effect as telling her you’re too busy. By telling your daughter to consult her mother, you’re being avoidant and subliminally conditioning her not to come to you for things. 

At a glance, the effect may seem harmless. However, your daughter may habitually disclose things to your wife instead of you. This can create communication problems, leading to an estranged relationship between you and your daughter. 

Instead of telling your daughter to “talk to her mother” when she brings something to your attention, be fully present and address her question or concern. If you’re too busy at the time or if you don’t have the energy to hear her out, promise to help her or answer her question at a later time.

3. “Aren’t You Going To Dress Nicer?”

Have you ever seen your daughter dress or groom herself in a way you just didn’t agree with? If you’ve ever told her something along the lines of “Aren’t you going to dress nicer?”, you need to apologize. 

Asking your daughter to dress nicer or groom herself differently is a jab at her appearance and choices. By telling your daughter to dress nicer, you’re communicating that you don’t support her choices, and this can affect her sense of certainty later on in life. 

If your daughter dresses in something comfortable, be supportive no matter what she chooses to wear. As long as she’s comfortable, she’s good to go. 

4. “That’s for Boys”

There’s nothing more limiting than telling your daughter that certain activities are reserved for specific genders. For this reason, one thing fathers should never say to daughters is “That’s for boys.” 

While it may seem harmless, this short sentence tells your daughter two things: 

First, it tells your daughter that you feel she may not fare well in certain activities. This can be detrimental to her self-confidence. 

Second, you may limit your daughter’s potential. By restricting her from activities you feel are for boys, you’re eliminating your daughter’s opportunities for exploration. 

So what do you do if your daughter wants to try an activity or sport? The best thing you can do is to let her try. If it doesn’t work out, at least she knows from experience and not because you hindered her from trying. 

5. “Go Give Him/Her a Kiss”

Besides confidence, another thing you want your daughter to learn is that she has control over her own body. For this reason, you must never tell your daughter to give someone like a relative a kiss. 

By not forcing your daughter to kiss relatives, you’re enabling her to retain control over her body. This is something you want to instill at a young age as it can set the tone for her future relationships and sense of autonomy later on. 

Besides, if your daughter doesn’t want to kiss or hug certain relatives, she probably has a good reason. Maybe that relative wasn’t nice to or she just doesn’t like them. 

6. “You’re Just Like Your Mother”

It depends on context, but, for the most part, steer clear of drawing comparisons between your daughter and wife (unless it’s positive). 

By telling your daughter that she’s just like her mother you’re complaining about two people: your wife and your daughter. The last person who should be hearing you complain is your daughter.

Also, your complaint can backfire. If your daughter deems the characteristic you’ve pointed out as a positive, then your statement won’t do much to change her behavior. 

7. “Boys Will Be Boys”

Elsewhere, we at Dad University talked about why we think the saying “Boys will be boys” is absurd. This seemingly harmless phrase has been used for decades as a way to explain away the behavior of boys — even if the behavior is inappropriate. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t say it to your daughter. 

Using this phrase around your daughter can teach her the flawed philosophy that there are just some things boys can get away with (because they’re boys). This is simply not true. 

When behavior is inappropriate, you want your daughter to have the confidence to not put up with it and call it out. 

8. “Have You Gained Weight?”

If you wouldn’t say it to your wife, you shouldn’t say it to your daughter, right? Bringing up weight is often offensive and is almost certain to trigger your daughter. 

However, if weight truly is an issue, don’t ask your daughter if she gained weight. Instead, talk about things like making healthy food choices together and exercising. 

What You Say Matters When You’re Raising a Daughter

What you say will have a profound impact on how your daughter sees other people, relationships, herself, and the world. Exercise caution when talking to your daughter, and when in doubt, consult your wife. 

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