Remember when that song first came out, Butterfly Kisses — the one about the father watching his daughter growing up? How soon the days, the months, and the years go by.
My daughter is approaching 10 years old (going on 19). It seems just like yesterday I was kissing my daughter goodbye on her first day of kindergarten. My baby girl is growing up, and I don’t like it!
One thing I have noticed lately about my little girl is how her attitude is becoming more prominent, more courageous, and a little more outspoken. My daughter, although only 9, has befriended a 14-year-old from around the corner.
They get on famously; however, I am seeing my baby girl taking on the characteristics of a young woman — the talk, the clothes, and the make-up. Often, we feel prompted to remind this little girl of that funny little thing on a birth certificate called the date of birth, especially the YEAR!
We as parents fully understand the effects of peer pressure, the need for children to be accepted, trying to impress friends. I know that we all did it as we were growing up, yet were totally oblivious to the frustration being felt by our parents. It’s human nature, we all need to fit in; many of us want to be the centre of attention.
I believe the ‘problem’ starts, at least for this dad, when the little girl wants to be a woman. The transition begins, and this transformation turns the house upside down.
As I reflect on my first meeting with my own future in-laws, I understand now why there were stalactites hanging from the lounge-room ceiling — can’t blame the father-in-law really, I’ll probably be the same. Their baby girl, growing up before their eyes, suddenly joining the dating game, and then bringing some (never good enough) boy home, driving the icon of the retro years — the Holden Sandman Panel Van…Wwwhhhooooaaaaaaaa. Look out!
Dad (my future father-in-law) is not liking them curtains in the back, the loud music, the mag wheels, and the fluffy dice (just kidding). Maybe I should have borrowed dad’s Volvo? Maybe I should have had a job!
Anyway, whether we like it or not, it’s inevitable — our baby is growing up. I believe it is even harder for us dads to watch our little girls become young ladies, knowing what’s around the corner. Maybe I am too watchful over my daughter, more so than my other two boys. Perhaps I am a little tough when it comes to her trying to grow up too quick — I am attempting to keep my baby girl just that, my baby.
Well, a tip for young dads — if you have a daughter, you are blessed indeed. However, as the years roll on, be prepared for every emotion to be stretched, tried, and tested. Just remember, it’s been going on like this for hundreds of years, if not thousands of years.
We just need to be wise in the morals we set and the actions we take. If we bring our children up with good tried and true foundations, they will never depart from those foundational truths.
Paul Sloan is an accountant by trade, but has been a miner and many other things besides. He is married with three children and like most of us, he is still learning to be a father. Paul is an active surfer who lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. He is a family man who hasn't lost his sense of humour.
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
Dads4Kids – Building Men. Growing Fathers. Changing Generations.