One of the most common places that I see great fathers back away from standing up for what they believe is right for their daughters stems around clothing. Young girls want to dress like their friends at school and you know what that means–wearing skimpy, tight, and sexy clothing.
I have had girls as young as five come into my office wearing bras and thong underwear. What really bothers me, aside from the grotesque inappropriateness of their underwear, is the fact that most often their mothers are well-educated and reasonable. When I ask why their daughters are wearing bras, their response is always the same, “Because that’s what girls in her class wear.”
Here’s where you come in. You know better. You don’t succumb to peer pressure from other mothers who dress their young girls inappropriately. In your mind, this is your beautiful little girl and you know the boundaries, which should be placed around her wardrobe. The issue isn’t complicated and the fact that other girls in her class dress in a skanky manner doesn’t mean anything to you. The issue feels far more complicated to her mother because she worries about your daughter being rejected by her friends.
In second grade, clothing isn’t such a big issue, but in high school it’s huge. How many times have I heard of a daughter walking out the door when Dad stops her, telling her to change into more appropriate clothes? What usually happens next is that her mother chimes in and says that all girls dress that way. Then she asks her husband to leave the daughter alone. Off the girl goes to school.
You know as well as I that when it comes to parenting your daughter, particularly as she gets into her teen years, your opinion is often overruled. The argument is that you don’t understand girls. So you turn from your instincts and shrug your shoulders. Don’t do this.
When you stand up for what you feel is right for your daughter, you may feel like the enemy in your home. Oh, well. You know better than that. As long as you implement rules for your daughter in a firm, loving, and respectful way, you will win her in the end.
(editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Dr. Meg’s latest book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: The 30 Day Challenge)