I Joined DADD – Dads Against Daughters Dating
When I became the sole and single parent of my 5 children, my 3 little girls were ages 18 months, 4 and 8 years old. Obviously dating was not an issue to be dealt with at that time but my thoughts of what the future would hold in that area weighed heavily on my mind. I know most dads (and moms) think about these things often.
I was particularly concerned about their future relationships considering that their mother abused them and later abandoned them for good. I wondered whether the trauma they suffered, would affect their ability to form and maintain healthy relationships. Everything I read told me their self-esteem, their ability to love and be loved could be permanently damaged too. I was in mortal fear of what would happen when boys entered their lives. Would they pick men that abuse them too? Would they pick losers because they thought they didn’t deserve better? My solution was to join the imaginary organization DADD (Dads Against Daughters Dating), whose slogan is, “Shoot the first one, the word will spread.” In other words, I had no solution.
A month ago my oldest daughter Michelle got married to a wonderful young man. They met while they were in college and their positive relationship maintained through graduation, medical school for him, a full-time job at a Fortune 20 company for her and being “long-distance.” He is now a doctor and is a gentle and kind young man, who looks after his mother, father and grandparents. He is attentive and loving to my daughter and clearly makes her happy. I was thrilled to welcome him into our family and call him my son-in-law.
So how did I (ok, Michelle too) get so lucky? Was it luck at all? What I hoped for with my daughters is that they would respect me enough (and fear me too) to bring home a man that I would approve of. That thinking suited the strong man-dad image I had of myself. I have taught my daughters be logical, principled and independent. I knew in my heart Michelle didn’t chose her fiancé because she knew I would be pleased, she picked the right man because she gained the wisdom to make the right decision.
I gave my daughters love and attention on a consistent basis. I gave them respect when they were little girls, teeangers and as young women. I made a habit of telling them how beautiful and smart they are. I frequently tell them that they are my stars. Michelle found a mate that treated her the same way. Coincidence? – I think not. Telling your children what is right and wrong is necessary. However, the example you set for children in the way you treat them is the most powerful tool you have to teach them.
Michelle also saw how hard I tried to persevere my marriage through very difficult times She saw how I tried to make that relationship work – even when it seemed impossible to save. May a life of happiness be upon the both Michelle and her new husband. However, when things get difficult, as they often do, I know that she will have the perseverance and dedication to her marriage to make it through.
I still have 2 daughters that aren’t married yet so I am holding on to my DADD T-shirt – for now.
Categories: Parenting & Fatherhood