Think of it this way: one day she won’t be so little. One day Super Heroes and finger food will no longer dominate the conversation. And one day she’ll be out in the world putting her own unique imprints down on top of the earth, without you by her side as regularly as you are today. She’ll want to, NEED TO, call on her relationship with you, her dad, and she’ll look to draw upon all of the conversations had and moments shared, to serve as her steady compass when grown-up life gets murky.
I’d have had a string of easy excuses for not getting into the weeds during these precarious years when my daughters’ bodies would be changing dramatically, because other than my mom, I had no relationship with women or, for that matter, the female form, for practically the entire first half of my life; no sisters, no girl friends, girlfriends, no casual lovers. I joke that I only recently became away of the birds and the bees. That’s an exaggeration but not by much.
As a dad of daughters, I ask other guys with little ladies in their life this question: Do you want your daughter to paint an image of a father who didn’t take the time to understand her body, the mechanics and biology of it all, or worse, a dad who was too embarrassed by her body to be an active part of that part of her life as she grew up into a young woman? There correct answers are no and absolutely not.
Here’s everything nobody told you about having tween daughters: it is a thrill and an privilege to be an active participant in their transition from childhood to young womanhood to adulthood. These are the transitional days where at one moment she can be curled up on your lap cheering on your favorite hockey team together just as she’s been doing since she was a toddler, the next be locked in her room excitedly filming a time lapsed make-up tutorial with friends, and the following day be in tears, distraught over something that happened with those same friends at school. As a dad I cherish the opportunity to experience all of this, to participate in every aspect of my daughters’ tween years — yeah, even the days that are confusing and tough on both of us, and the late nights when I make emergency trips to the store to buy pads and tampons for the women in my life, because I know that being a great dad is far more than just changing diapers when my kids were babies. That’s only chapter one of an enthralling story still being written.
Parenting during the tween years is a thrill because the days out together get better and the nights way more interesting, and their changing minds and bodies pushes me to stay on top of my mental, physical and emotional game, because if we’re not growing up as people alongside our daughters than we’re doing parenting all wrong. The conversations become more exciting too, even, and maybe especially, chats about classmates they might ‘like’ like, the value of using Dri-Fit™ feminine hygiene products, and the need to keep a change of clothes in their locker just in case.
Because my oldest daughter already felt awkward about the changes coming down the pike in her life, I couldn’t let this biological conversation get weird on my end so I begged her to be prepared, to keep a pad or two and a clean set of school clothes in her locker, and I assured her that I’m always just a phone call away if she needs to come home to find a shoulder to cry on when that day arrives.
These kinds of talks with your tween daughters Feel More Natural™ if you’ve been an active participant in your daughter’s whole life from the start, even if you, like me, barely knew how the female body worked up until recently 😉
*This story has been sponsored by Dri-Fit™ incontinence products and feminine hygiene products. All opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always.