Being a father is never easy, regardless of whether you are a first-time parent or an experienced one- especially when you have daughters. For sons, you can afford to loosen the rein a little, let them roam free and experience life on their own. But for girls, you will instinctively want to protect her; however, at the same time, you want her to be able to handle life’s uncertainties. So, how are you going to deal with this?
Well, let’s hear out some wise advices here:
Tell her that physical beauty does not last forever
Girls grow up wanting to be pretty princesses. That’s how the society had led her to think that way. From calling your daughter a princess to pretty gowns to the whole range of princess characters on Disney Jr, most Malaysian girls grow up wanting to be a happily-ever-after princess.
Bring her down to earth, gently. Tell her that physical beauty is only skin deep. There are more to be beautiful. Being compassionate and kind should be valued. Show her how to love all and not be judgemental.
Say no when you have to
It’s just like when you don’t buy her a new toy every time you go shopping; or you don’t her to pierce her belly button when she turned 12. Yes, she might throw a tantrum at times; but be firm and stern when you have to. You wouldn’t want a spoil kid who gets whatever she demands, would you?
Don’t equate scolding with hate
She needs to realise that when you scold her, it is purely because you are teaching her and there are times when you just need to let off steam, which you will try to avoid, if any at all. She needs to know that it does not mean you hate her. Show her the difference between hate and teach. Speaking of which, never scold or punish her in front of others. Leave her some dignity.
Teach her how to manage money
Many children are financial illiterate these days. They get into huge debts the moment they have their own credit cards. Branded goods and expensive dining are not worth the debts. Show her the difference between bad debts and good debts. Teach her the art of saving and investing.
Learn to look at the bright side
Like the cliché goes, laughter is the best medicine. If she says or does something silly (there’s a difference between silly and dangerous), don’t tell her off or ask her to behave like a proper lady. Learn to laugh it off. Having a good sense of humour is necessary to bond with children.
Educate her that life is a broad topic
Let her know that there’s more to life than getting a straight flush of As or getting invited to her friends’ parties. Bring her out for a cooling dip at any waterfall, with which our Malaysia is blessed. Whip up a meal with her regardless of whether you are a good cook or not. Most importantly, it’s about having fun together with her, and that’s all it needs to make up the fond memories in her.
Encourage her to ask questions
Many a times, we tend to rebuke our kids for asking “silly” questions; however, let’s think it the other way round: without those so-called “silly” questions, will there be any light bulb, telephone or computer today? Bear this in mind: curiosity is the mother of invention.
Teach her to get up herself from where she falls
Life is not always a bed of roses. We will, sooner or later, come to a red light and have to stop. When she faces obstacles, tell her that the lights will eventually turn green and she’ll be well on her way. She just needs to hang in there and always keep trying!
Tell her there are wolves in sheep’s clothing
Always there are jerks and mean people who are out there to hurt her. You can’t protect her from harm all the time. But you can educate her to be cautious and to use reasonable judgements. Enrol her for martial arts classes to let her learn self-defence, if you wish her to.
Always be there for her
Last but not least, let her know you are always there for her. Spend quality time with her. Be her most loyal supporter when she rejoices, and lend her your shoulder whenever she wants to cry. Talk to her and encourage her to share with you her dreams and fears. Then, be a great listener!
These are just a few nuggets of wisdom which I personally like. You are bound to hear lots more from your family, friends and total strangers. You don’t have to follow all of them. But one thing for sure is that she may be your little princess today, but how about ten or twenty years down the road when she grows up?
Do cherish every single previous moment you spend with her now. Wish all the fathers have a Happy Father’s Day!