Every parent wants only the best for their children but at times, fathers can become overprotective of their daughters. At what point do you, as a dad, need to stop protecting your “baby” girl? But, why are dads protective of their daughters? It’s best to understand the reasons before finding better ways to manage the dynamics of such a relationship.
Overprotecting your daughter often results in your princess turning into an uncontrollable rebel! While you want to keep her out of harm’s way, facing challenges and making mistakes allows your daughter to grow into a confident person. Implementing strategies such as agile techniques is a healthier way to protect your child.
- Different brain responses
- Societal expectations
- Confusing love with an overprotective parenting style
- Stereotypical gender norms
- Wanting your daughter to succeed in life
- Hold weekly meetings
- Ask three questions for effective communication
- Work together and encourage autonomy
5 reasons for dads to be overprotective of their daughters
Different brain responses
Studies have shown that a father’s brain responds differently to a daughter than to a son. Fathers are more responsive and attentive toward their little girls while accepting their daughter’s emotions more readily. The father tends to be more wired toward keeping their daughters safe from perceived dangers, believing she’s not capable of looking after herself.
While it’s admirable to want to keep your daughter shielded from harm, you’re doing her an injustice. Instead, your role as a dad should be to guide and teach your daughter to become a strong, independent woman who knows how to take care of herself in all situations.
Despite modern times, fathers find it difficult to move away from society’s expectations of the father-daughter relationship. In most cultures, it’s taken for granted that the father will provide for his children and to protect them from harm, especially their daughters. Such expectations can result in the father becoming overly protective of his baby girl, forgetting to let go as she grows up.
Pet names such as “daddy’s girl”, “princess”, and “baby girl” are all indications of a close bond between the father and daughter. It’s cute to call your toddler “daddy’s girl” and it’s even looked on by society as acceptable behavior. But, an overly close bond between fathers and daughters can develop into an unnatural codependent relationship.
Confusing love with an overprotective parenting style
Some fathers believe that the only way to show their daughter they love her is to protect her from life’s hurts, challenges, unhappiness, and failures. I get this – as a father to my own toddler daughter, I want her to always be happy and safe from disappointments. But, at what point do you draw the line between protection and overprotection?
Overly sheltered children are underprepared to deal with the world when left alone to face the challenges. Rescuing and overindulging in your daughter’s every fear results in her not being able to navigate life in a healthy manner. A supportive and loving father-daughter relationship is one that encourages your little girl to solve problems herself, with your guidance.
Stereotypical gender norms
From day one, parents may view their daughters as fragile while boys are seen as strong and robust because of stereotypical gender norms. Based on these views, parenting differs between genders, with daughters being seen as needing more protection than boys. Growing up, children adapt their behaviors accordingly.
It’s important to treat both girls and boys the same from birth while refraining from assigning them typical gender roles. Treating your daughter as someone delicate who needs to be sheltered won’t encourage her to develop a healthy identity of herself as she grows older.
Wanting your daughter to succeed in life
All parents want to see their children succeed in life and are naturally instinctive when wanting the best for their kids. While well-meaning in most cases, intensive parenting, because you want to see your little girl become successful in life, could have a negative outcome.
Intense fathering can quickly turn into an overly codependent relationship where your daughter fails to grow into the strong independent person she needs to be to succeed in life. While you may think you’re protecting your girl from negativities that you perceive as harmful to her development, you’re actually impeding her chances of coping with life as she gets older.
Can moms also be as overprotective?
Are there differences when comparing a mother to a father, and are dads the only parents who are overprotective of their daughters? Actually, moms also want to safeguard their children from harm and will do anything to keep them safe. The maternal instinct is biologically wired into the mother’s brain, making her instinctively protective of her little ones, both girls and boys.
But, there are also other factors that might make a mother more protective of her daughter.
- Parental anxiety: An anxious mother (or father) is inclined to become overly protective of her children.
- Abuse: If a mother has been exposed to physical or emotional abuse as a child, she may become overly protective of her own daughter to prevent the same from happening to her.
- Manipulation: Overprotective parenting could be a symptom of manipulative and controlling behavior.
- Fears: A fearful mother who sees danger around every corner will transfer those fears onto her own daughter. This results in the need to safeguard her child from perceived dangers based on the mother’s own fears.
Both moms and dads can become overprotective of their daughters and it’s your responsibility to get the balance right when parenting your child for their overall well-being.
Consequences of being too protective as a dad or mom
Whether you’re a doting dad or a besotted mom, overprotective parenting has its consequences. Let’s take a look at them:
- Lack of coping skills: Overprotective parenting undermines the child’s ability to develop independent coping skills. Exposure to challenges and risks allows the child’s coping mechanisms to develop positively.
- Poor self-esteem: A daughter who hasn’t been encouraged to learn from her mistakes, failures, and disappointments will grow up with low self-esteem. Healthy parenting includes supporting and guiding a child through challenging experiences.
- Social anxiety and phobias: Protecting your daughter from potential rejection or hurts from friendships prevents her from developing competent social skills. Encouraging your child to interact socially reduces the risk of developing social anxiety and phobias.
- Fear of failure: Overprotective parents shield their daughters from potential failures by rescuing them too quickly and offering assistance too hastily. The result is a child who is too scared to make mistakes and your daughter will shy away from trying new things or taking on opportunities.
- Victims of bullies: An overprotected daughter won’t know how to safeguard herself against bullies. Often, parents will “infantilize” their children, preventing them from developing self-defense skills.
- Depression: Overprotected children are more inclined to become depressed in their teen years. They become overly worried and anxious as well, not knowing how to cope without their parent’s intervention during difficult times.
Offering your daughter a healthy, supportive, and nurturing environment are vital if you want her to grow into a confident, self-aware, and assertive woman. Overprotecting her isn’t the way to go but strategies such as being an agile dad could be the solution.
Agile dad as a solution?
Using agile development techniques to support your daughter’s personal development from a young age is something every father should consider. Agile is a work process used by project managers and software developers worldwide. It focuses on teamwork, valuing each member for their individual contribution to the project while providing real-time and constant feedback.
Being an agile dad means using the same techniques to create a stress-free family while cultivating valuable life coping skills for your daughter. Here are some ways to use this approach.
Hold weekly meetings
Planning a weekly meeting with your daughter and other family members allows a space for open, meaningful conversations to take place while sharing decision-making skills. Constant adaptability is encouraged as well as asking a set of three questions that allows a flow of communication between all members of the family.
Ask three questions for effective communication
The agile model was devised by Jeff Sutherland in 1993 when he identified the problems facing software development in the workplace because of ineffective communication. The model allowed for a better flow of ideas from both the top-down and bottom-up. Asking the right questions empowers the agile dad to use the same techniques developed by Jeff Sutherland.
Using the following three questions will help you and your family to communicate better while engaging and responding to changes in real time:
- What worked well this week?
- What didn’t work well this week?
- What will the family agree to work on this week?
Work together and encourage autonomy
This type of questioning opens up communication and allows your daughter to express her feelings in a safe and supportive environment. You’ll discover her fears, what she conquered during the week, and how she can improve on what didn’t work well for her. Working together as a family team gives your child a secure base to work from while encouraging her to explore her own responsibilities.
Encouraging autonomy lets your daughter be proactive and learn independence without you, as her dad or mom, needing to organize or take over her life. While it takes patience, applying the agile model with your toddler is possible and gives her the headstart she needs to grow into a confident and strong person.
Watch how this dad uses agile to create a happier family!
Applying the agile approach to your family encourages respect, commitment, focus, openness, and courage. Also known as Scrum values, these words are the cornerstone of fundamental life skills that every father could give their daughter.
Still, are you deciding what parenting style should I choose as a father while keeping my daughter safe? Using the agile model is one approach to fatherhood that will benefit your little girl, teaching her to be confident and strong when faced with even the hardest challenges.