I’ve been thinking lately how vital it is to teach young girls to be able to live on their own. And I’m not talking finances and career because although also vital, I think we’ve done a pretty good job in recent years in teaching girls that being able to support themselves and be financially independent is a must. I’m talking about teaching a girl to be confident and happy in her life without a man. And not only should we tell her that, we should model it.
The recent inundation of stories about women and teen girls who are so desperate to be with their boyfriend/husband, that they will do anything to keep them is startling, from an eleven-year-old girl killing another over a boy to the recent story of a 13-year-old who stole a car and drove 800 miles to meet a boy she met online.
Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Annette Robinson from Cypress, Texas, attempted to drive 800 miles from her home in her brother’s car which she just took to meet a 12-year-old boy she met on the Internet. Huffington Post reports that “the teenager was about 50 miles away from Nashville when local police finally apprehended her.”
But it’s not just teens who exhibit curious behavior over boys/men. Last week, when popstar Rihanna kissed her abuser Chris Brown on public television, a lot of people were up in arms and judging, rather than understanding why she allowed herself to be abused. Ironically, on the same night, I tuned into the Democratic convention and watched President Obama interact with his daughters. In the opening of his speech, the first thing he did was mention Michelle, Malia, and Sasha saying how much he loved them and how proud he was of them.
Fathers can do something that mothers can’t. They can give their girls the attention and confidence, love and loyalty as only the first man in a girl’s life could.
I have to admit that whenever I see him and his girls, I get a big smile on my face. Watching the girls’ confidence and happiness is a sight to behold. Having a father as a president who works tirelessly to make women’s lives better must be a wonderful thing for them.
Seeing the relationship between Obama and his girls the other night, I kept marveling at how special they must feel and how immune they are going to be against men who would ever dare to treat them badly. And the thing is, it’s not because he’s the president but because he’s their father, and so involved. They are so loved by him- and they know it. That’s what every girl needs!
Sure, girls need their mothers to do the same and be role models of strong women (who better exemplifies that than Michelle Obama?). But fathers can do something that mothers can’t. They can give their girls the attention and confidence, love and loyalty as only the first man in a girl’s life could. Fathers instill a sense of self in daughters that no one else can. They can listen to them and guide them, cheer them on and let them know that they deserve respect and stellar treatment from any boy they choose to let in their life… and nothing less than what they get from their father. Girls who don’t get that do crazy things; some live their entire lives seeking male attention, looking to feel whole and validated, and end up in bad, often abusive relationships or settle for poor treatment or go to unnecessary lengths to stay in a bad relationship. A proud and loving father helps a girl become strong and confident woman.
Some girls get lucky enough to find father figures through other family members or teachers, and somehow avoid the incessant and painful longing for male approval, but many don’t.
So instead of gasping at this girl who stole a car to meet someone she doesn’t even know (which is absolutely dangerous and wrong on many levels), how about we take a moment and consider all the teens and women we know who have done insane things to stay with a boy or a man. And how about we support each other in being strong and help the masses of women who are lacking the love of a father, and teach each other to be resilient and proud. How about we choose strong partners so our children have great fathers, and lastly, how about we teach our young girls that they are perfect just the way they are, they are special, and they don’t need to change who they are for anyone…ever.
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