Rules for dating my daughter—ugh. Have you seen some of these things?! They’re sexist and perpetuate gender stereotypes. They demean girls and imply that “my daughter” can’t take care of or think for herself. They assume that boys are out to get girls: to hurt girls emotionally or take advantage of them physically. They assume that a daughter’s boyfriend is automatically the enemy of her father. And in a completely creepy way, the make fathers their daughters’ “first love.” Not in a warm, fuzzy my-parents-are-the-first-people-I-ever-loved family kind of way, but in a way that implies that a boy’s love will take the place of a father’s love. (For the record, parental love and romantic love should ideally occupy totally different places in our hearts. They are not interchangeable.)
Enter our new dad-hero: J. Warren Welch. He recently took to Facebook to share his rules for dating his daughters, and wow are they on point. Check ‘em out!
“Rules for dating my daughters: You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy possessive badass in order for them to be treated with respect. You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place. Good luck pumpkin.”
So here’s a big shout-out to a dad who recognizes that his daughters will probably date, and seems to be okay with that. To a father who is raising girls to know they are worthy of respect, and who is teaching them how to respond to someone who isn’t giving them that respect. To a father who knows that romantic affection isn’t competition for filial affection. And to a man who isn’t saying “I remember myself at that age…” and proceeding to indict any boy that his daughters might bring home as an asshole at best or a predator at worst. Thank you, Mr. Welch! (Check out this post for more on his feminist outlook.)
May we all create such empowering rules for our children as they begin to make their way in the world.