Most dads are teasers by nature. Right or not, boys and men often build camaraderie and friendship through teasing. And though they don’t intend to hurt their daughters, dads who tease their daughters, especially relentlessly, risk hurting their hearts in ways that can take years to overcome. Why?
Because most dads don’t realize the true power of their words. If our daughters were given the chance to pick one universal thing to ask dads to stop doing, they very likely might say: “Dad, please stop teasing me.” Here are 10 types of teasing our daughters wish we’d stop right now.
Our daughters are often already self-conscious about a lot. When we tease them about appearance, we aggravate and increase those anxieties, making them especially hurtful. Our teasing begs the question: Why would he say it if he didn’t think it was at least partly true?
Whether a little girl is dealing with a first crush or a young woman is dealing with a serious relationship, teasing about these interests can be confusing and communicate distrust. Teasing about whether the boys like our daughters in return only complicates the matter. Treat those interests gently and seriously.
If you need to question their choice of friends, do that seriously, not with jabs of sarcasm and jokes. Our view of their friends shapes our daughters’ assumptions of how we view them, too.
Although you may need gently to contest something inappropriate occasionally, teasing about their fashion preferences is unnecessarily deflating and demeaning.
Our daughters need to hear encouragement from their dads as they learn new things. It’s better to encourage them that they can keep learning and growing than to plant seeds of doubt about their intellect.
Their feelings need to be validated, not mocked. And her “overreaction” to our teasing is more likely a release a lot of built-up frustration with our steady dismissiveness of her emotions. Respecting and validating our daughters’ emotions, even when they are a mystery, draws us closer.
Enough with the “time of the month” teasing. Period. Our teasing is hurting, not helping, on a massive scale, as our daughters deal with this biological reality. Let’s not add unnecessary embarrassment, shame, or anxiety. Grace. Patience. Kindness. These are what they need from us.
8. Female StereotypesWhen our teasing reinforces ugly stereotypes, we reveal our biases and shortcomings.
Most people don’t like labels. This generation is particularly put off by stereotypes. When our teasing reinforces ugly stereotypes, we reveal our biases and shortcomings.
9. Their Relationship with Their Mother
Mother-daughter relationships are at times fragile, yet are also precious. Why set up questions in their minds about how you view their mom, much less them, by aggravating them with our teasing?
10. Interests and Hobbies
Our daughters are going to test the waters as they learn about themselves. Their hobbies and interests will be varied. Teasing causes them to question your commitment to supporting them as they figure themselves out.
Sound off: What words do you think our daughters need to hear most?
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “How does my teasing you affect how you feel?”