Raising future women

Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
I’m privileged enough to have a daughter. Intimidated, but privileged. There are certain aspects to raising a daughter which I hope I’ll get right, but as a dad, I know that little girls are women-in-training, and I need help. Fortunately, she has some awesome role models to help her along the way.

We’re already way into Women’s Month, but it’s worth spending some time appreciating the women (and daughters) we have in our lives.

Princess one moment, poet the next

I have no idea yet, after nine years of parenting a girl, how Hannah will turn out. She’s a princess some days, other days she’s an artist or a poet. She could be a politician or a seamstress, an athlete or a doctor. Maybe she’ll be a waitress. Her options are wide open. Will she marry? Have her own kids? I wonder...

I’m grateful to her mom, my ex, for encouraging her in all of her efforts and for making sure that the shared-parenting is a success, and to my partner, Karen, for being there for her too - to do Hannah’s hair, chat about jewellery or simply be friends.

There are teachers, coaches, Hannah’s friends’ parents, her granny and aunt and many more influences. Fortunately, real people seem to be doing a better job of moulding my daughter than the TV characters she admires, although she’s still young enough to go misty-eyed at Barbie movies.

A dad's take on daughters

And then there’s me: Trying to adapt my parenting-style between sons and a daughter without spoiling one or herding them like cattle without recognising the subtle differences in their characters.

Eek! I’m having to raise a woman! A woman I hope will have the courage to stand up for herself. A woman who won’t consider herself less able than a man. A woman with integrity and compassion. We have our work cut out for us.

Right now I’m hoping she continues to choose her friends as wisely as she already has and that they share whatever secret information gets passed on when girls go to the loo together. I’m also hoping that one of these amazing women in her life will let me off the hook when it comes to explaining menstruation. Please, please, please!

I dislike that dusty old saying “behind every successful man, there’s a woman” as it makes it seem that a woman’s place is defined by hiding in the shadows of a man. That said, I’m beginning to see that behind every successful woman is a mighty team of girls, women and even men, all of whom have valuable contributions of shared wisdom and knowledge.

I’m thankful for the women in my life, and the inspiration they remain, and I'm already proud of the future woman my daughter will become because of them.

Why not tell us about a woman who has been a role model in your life? Email us at chatback@parent24.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher!

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