MORE Rules for Parents of Daughters

I wrote a list of Rules for Parents of Daughters. It was something I wrote when my daughter was five and I was thinking about the future and what kind of rules I would have as she got older.

This list went gang busters and over the last two years it's been read a lot. There have been tons of comments on this list and many of the comments are even more rules. There were several gems in there and I wanted to share them with you. Thanks to everyone who left me a comment!

MORE Rules for Daughters:

1. Teach your daughters to look someone in the eye and give a strong handshake. There is nothing worse than a dead-fish-tip-of-the-hand-handshake.

No one wants to shake that.

2. Encourage your daughter to play a team sport. She can learn leadership skills, make friends and blow off steam.

3. Teach your daughter to never compromise personal honor or convictions to "fit in."

4. Encourage your daughter to find positive role models.

5. Teach her to do her own car repairs. There is no reason for a woman to be stranded on the side of the road because she can't change a tire or use a crescent wrench.

6. Teach your daughter that life may not always turn out as planned. Help her learn to be strong, self-sufficient and, above all, happy with herself. It's OK to be alone, she does not always need someone to complete her.

7. Teach your daughter about money early. Don't wait until they are on their own to help them figure out financial responsibility.
This is not the same as a 401(k).

8. Teach your daughter to not fall for the wedding but for the partner. Seeing all these girls on Pinterest pinning their perfect engagement rings, dress, invitation creates an illusion that marriage is about the wedding event, not the "ever after."

9. Teach your daughter that if she's ever in a bad situation, she can call you for help, no matter what time of night, without fear of being in trouble.

10. Get her bras fitted by a professional.

Probably not the best place to get a bra.

11. Build your daughters confidence by helping her set and achieve goals not by telling her she's pretty.

12. Teach your daughter (or son, for that matter) to admit when they are wrong and learn to apologize if needed.

13. Allow your daughter to know that sometimes, moms ARE wrong, and do not be afraid to apologize when you're mistaken as a mom!

14. Teach your daughter that a healthy does of cynicism never hurt anyone.

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Mosaicwench said...

Teach your daughter to graciously accept a compliment from anyone. Saying a hearty "thank you" when complimented goes a long way to empowerment (and feels so much better than denying or diminishing what is complimented).

One Bad Pixie said...

Teach your daughters that good manners go both ways. Please, thank you and you're welcome have become lost.

Also teach your daughters that if they wish to be treated like a lady, they should behave like a lady.

Unknown said...

I love this list. If anything happens to my husband and me, you are getting my children. Congratulations!

Ingrid Wassenaar said...

Absolutely! As a Britisher, I had to be taught this by a gracious American friend. She told me off for insulting her, by rejecting a compliment she wanted to pay me, and I have never forgotten it!

RachRiot said...

I'm raising a hard-headed spitfire of a girl, and as much as she drives me crazy and we butt heads (because we are so alike) I secretly like it. She is fearless and confident. She will never depend on a man to define her. She's going to be just fine and in the end, that's all I want for her.

LA Botchar said...

Great list.
I struggle with trying to keep my daughter from becoming too sassy -- but I don't want to completely stamp out that bit of "spit fire" that she has. It's a very fine line.
Yikes. I have no idea how to change a tire. Better get hubby to teach us both.

Unknown said...

Love this! We're dealing with #3 a lot these days. I try to tell my daughter that it's better to be different, to be the odd ball, than to fit in any day!

TaraLee said...

Let your daughter's know that they will always be your children, and you will always be their mom. I have daughters who are adults now, but they will always be my babies and I will continue to teach them, as well as learn from them, with lots of love!

Karen said...

Great list (the previous ones, too). But excepting #10, all of these can apply to boys as well.... Perhaps the list should just be "Rules for Parents".

Anonymous said...

Although I will add that if your daughter does need to be told she's pretty, please reassure her. I was decidedly an ugly duckling, very awkward as an adolescent, and though I knew my parents were biased, at least I heard the words: "You're pretty."

Sammy said...

I totally agree!

Mosaicwench said...

I once had a boss teach me how to change a tire (25+ years ago). He told me I had to learn how because if I really needed to do it, I would be under duress. I said I'd probably be in A DRESS, too.

Unknown said...

I don't have any girls, but most of this stuff I wish my parents had done with me. They never taught me how to manage my money, change a tire, or how to accept a compliment with grace. I had to learn all of those things the hard way, and I'm teaching my boys and nieces.

Boys too, need to be taught to accept compliments gracefully, to have confidence in their abilities and to have the strength to stand for their beliefs. I see so many little boys being raised without a father figure, and going to extremes to fit in; being a brash bully to prove their masculinity, or becoming overly quiet and acquiescent to fit in with the girls.

All children need to be taught to just be themselves. No matter what you might believe in, humans are uniquely and wonderfully made, and I think we've lost sight of that simple fact.

I don't have a blog said...

My parents wouldn't even let me take my driver's test until I could change a tire. At the time, I thought they were being terribly unfair, but I've since become very grateful for knowing how. I've even had to teach a few guys over the years. Basic home repair skills are good to know too. I'm still working on getting over my fear of mice in the house.

Unknown said...

Read this then saw the Subaru commercial where the dad ha his daughter change the tire in the rain.

Periwinkle Paisley said...

That's a great point. I HATE when I give a compliment and you get some argument about why it's not true either due to genuine low self esteem or false humility. Either way it's annoying! Just, please, say Thank You. It's actually easier than going on about how fat, dumb, ugly, badly coiffed you think you are! (And you probably aren't anyway.)

Enlightening Life Your said...

One additional comment on #12 above, I always told my children, sons and daughters, that there were two parts to the apology, the spoken part "I am sorry", and the implied part, I'll never do it again. Apologies were one-time events and if they repeated the behavior then we needed to talk about it because if they apologized for something and were really contrite, I expected them to not do it again. It's something they have always remembered and have even told me that they share with their friends, that if they apologize, they only get one attempt and they shouldn't do it again. Gulp, that was a lesson well learned.

Amanda said...

I think one big one is to teach body positivity. You've mentioned things along the lines of avoiding those teen magazines, but it's also important to instill confidence yourself. There is a great article about this..."When Your Mother Says She's Fat"

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughter that life is not a romance novel, and that "falling in love with" a married man is not "forbidden love," but rather hurtful to those involved on the periphery - especially that married man's children. Teach her that she can get her own partner and not to fall for "the marriage was over before you got here" because that's usually a lie. Teach her self-respect.

Helene said...

I have twin 17-year old daughters and love this list as much as the first one! One more:
Teach your daughter to be kind and model that kindness: Say hello to the tollbooth operator; hold doors open for others; ask the checkout person how their day is going; tip generously; buy the homeless person a sandwich; be patient with elderly drivers, etc.

Anonymous said...

Love this list! I think an important addition to all of these is to model these behaviors yourself. Kids don't learn from what you say nearly as much as they learn from what you do. If you want your daughter to have a positive body image, don't go around talking about how fat you are. If you want her to have good manners, demonstrate them in your everyday life. And so on.

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