From the first day our daughters our born, they will forever be the most important and most beautiful women in our lives. Therefore, it will be expected that no one can ever care for them as we do. However, as much as we want to believe that there will never be another man in their lives, there will come a time when they begin to date.
We all know that many men thinks like this: When those boys come through the door, they will be terrified to see the man of all men shining his shotgun in the background, as if this is a normal behaviour. This man of all men will be just close enough to the front door that this intruder gets the point, but not so close that we have to engage him. Obviously a very entertaining story, but a little unrealistic and unhealthy. I for one don’t own a shotgun. Shooting him would be illegal and more importantly, as fathers it is more important to know who our daughters are spending their time with than to try to prove anything to anybody.
It comes down to this: as fathers we naturally feel that the less we know, the better. If we know what our kids are doing and who they are with, we may have to act on it, and that would be uncomfortable. As I said in a previous blog, our duties as a father will not always be comfortable. And for the sake of her safety, it is our job to be informed. Our daughters need to know that they can introduce us to whom they are spending their time with, whether that be friends or boyfriends. The worst-case scenario is that everything is being done without our knowledge and they are with people they shouldn’t be with.
How do we do this? First, we shouldn’t be shining shot guns at the front door. But seriously, we need to be calm, engaging and approachable human beings. This way we can get a read on who they are with and our daughters can trust that we will not embarrass them when they bring around new people. Are we allowed to make our impressions and not approve? Yes. Can we have this discussion? Yes. But this is where it gets tricky. Your daughter needs to decide who she sees and who she doesn’t. They are trying to gain independence and be their own person at this stage, so us deciding who they can see or not see is not encouraging independence. Try saying things like:
- Tell me about this person?
- Does this person make you laugh?
- Do they treat you with respect?
- What do you like to do together?
All these questions will get them thinking about that relationship and hopefully help them realize whether this relationship is positive or negative. If it is a negative one, it is still better that they bring them around until they can realize it is negative.
Now, let’s quickly talk why this is important in regards to her safety. Predators that I referred to in my previous article look for girls who have low self-esteem. They tell these girls how special they are and in many cases shower them with gifts. They first make them feel loved and then slowly lure them away from their families. This is when it becomes dangerous. Once these girls are away from their families, the predator who is posing as her boyfriend has the freedom to do as he pleases. He can exploit, blackmail, abuse, and confuse as he sees fit. (Just writing it makes my guts turn.)
So how do we stop this from happening? Meet the people she is seeing. Make it comfortable for her to keep bringing them around. Have uncomfortable conversations about how they make them feel. Teach them to trust their gut. And make sure they know how they deserve to be treated with respect.
I have been told that these things are hard to hear and read. These people are correct. These subjects are very hard to read and to write. It is hard to believe that these issues even exist. But it does, and the best way to stop it is to educate. Luring and Human Trafficking happen in every community. All I want to do is keep people aware.
So fathers, do your daughters proud. Be aware, be approachable, and stay calm. If we all do our part, we can make a huge dent in these issues. If not eliminate them.