Last week, I posted a list of things that I believe every father should teach his sons. Before the pixels were even dry, I was asked if I thought the things I mentioned were exclusive to boys, or if girls didn’t need to learn about integrity, patriotism, and a strong work ethic. My response was that I would deal with some of those issues, but from the perspective that boys and girls are very different.
Let me give you an example. Loyalty to your mate is a characteristic our culture views positively. But biologically, humans have two different perspectives on that trait, and the difference is based on gender. Assuming that our strongest biological drive is to pass our genetic material along to the next generation, the best strategy for a male would be to have as many partners as possible, to spread his material to the maximum extent possible. Women, on the other hand, to ensure that their genetic material is passed on most effectively, will tend to attach themselves to the strongest possible male, and will cling to that male as long as possible, to produce and protect her children.
Now I know that these are just general trends and as soon as we slip beneath the population level and start dealing with cultural groups, these generalizations become less valid, but there is no doubt that they affect behavior at the individual level.
So considering the basic effects of this biological scenario, it seems evident to me that raising males requires that we reinforce the concepts of loyalty and fidelity to a far greater extent than is necessary with girls. Not because it is less important for girls, but because the concept is more in line with their pre-existing biology.
Now, with that explanation out of the way, let’s talk about some things I believe we fathers should be teaching our daughters.