Why Men are Scared to Have Daughters
Most men would have to confess that when he first finds out his wife is pregnant, his first thought is that he hopes it’s a boy. Men do not want to admit that and most feel quite guilty about it. Most of us have a hard time articulating why we feel that way, but we do. I believe that there are different reasons why men feel this way. The first and most stereotypical reason has to do with sports. A man imagines himself playing sports with his son, throwing a football around the yard, shooting hoops in the driveway, etc. He wants to watch his son grow up and be the sports hero that he always wishes he had been. The psychology of dads living vicariously through their sons is a topic for another day and another book though. However, I believe that there is a deeper reason that men are afraid of being the father to a baby girl.
We are scared to death to have a daughter. The very thought is terrifying. First and foremost, we do not understand women. I know that can seem like a stereotypical joke. “We men sure don’t understand women, do we boys? (canned laughter) No way. Women, am I right? (shrug shoulders)” But it is more than a joke. We have not understood any of the women in our lives up to this point—mom, sisters, friends, wives. We do not understand them and these are grown up women. If they are that complicated and mysterious, what must they be like growing up? What does it take to raise one? Who knows? I do not know what to do when my wife cries, what do I do when my daughter cries? The ups and downs of my mom’s emotions were too much for me. What am I supposed to do with my daughter? If we as men are going to be honest, we would admit that we believe that maybe we can handle one woman (our wife), but to add more is more than we can handle.
Furthermore, again if we can be honest with ourselves, we are scared because we fear that somehow we might “break” them. We are scared to be entrusted with a daughter for the same reason we do not want to be the one carrying anything fragile and valuable. This is not to say that we fear responsibility. Most men loved to be challenged. Give us a big challenge. Give us something heavy to carry. We may not be able to lift it, but we will embrace the opportunity to try. Heavy is fine; however, delicate is scary. We will work as hard as we can to move or carry something heavy. We will not give up. We will not admit fear. But if we are talking about something fragile, that is a different story. What if I break it? What if I drop it? Please do not make me responsible for protecting something breakable. I would rather you pile two more boxes on my load then make me carry something fragile with my index finger and thumb and my pinkie sticking out, tiptoeing around scared to death that someone will bump into me. Whether you believe what I am about to say is insulting or chauvinistic or not, it does not matter. This is how we feel. We believe little girls are fragile and delicate. We think that we can easily break them and that we will do irreparable damage.
Drop a boy on his head and it will make him tough. Eventually the boy will learn to love it. In fact, he may ask you to drop him on his head again. Yell at a boy and if he cries, that’s his problem. If you tell us that we might hurt our boy’s feelings, we will likely shrug our shoulders and say that it’s good for him. “My dad hurt my feelings, his dad hurt his feelings, his dad hurt his. I am just continuing a sacred circle and tradition.” Perhaps someone with boys can write a book and tell us that we should not view boys that way, but we do. We believe that boys are durable. They can “take it.” But what if I say something and my daughter cries? How will I make her stop? What if I hurt her feelings? Will she forgive me? Will she be mad at me and scarred for life? What if I break her? Is that possible? Will I do any damage that cannot be undone? I do not want to find this out. As a man, I would rather avoid the conflict. I would rather not risk it.
So, in our hearts we think that it would just be simpler and easier to just have boys. I know what boys are like. I used to be one. We are not easy to deal with, but at least I understand us. I do not believe that I can break a boy permanently. I know what boys like and I know what we would do together. We can go outside and play catch, go fishing, and wrestle— things that I know how to do. I have never had tea parties before. I have never played dress up and changing clothes on a Barbie doll makes me uncomfortable. Seeing a little girl cry, because of something I did? I do not even want to think about it. Let’s just move on. Let’s just have boys.
Then the moment comes. You find out that you are having a girl. Everything in a man’s life is turned upside down forever. We have no idea how much at the time, but we instinctively know that we will never be the same once we become a daddy to a little girl. We know deep in our hearts that we are finished. We once were strong, independent men, but not any more. Now, I am about to be the daddy to a little girl. She is going to own me.
But what I know and many of you do not, is that I would never, ever go back. I consider it a great honor and privilege to be the Daddy to 3 amazing girls. Many of the greatest joys of my life have come from this sometimes scary but always awesome role of raising girls. I am the most important man in the world to 4 women. I can’t imagine much greater than that. So if you find yourself a Daddy to girls, about to be or scared to death you might be, don’t run, don’t hide and don’t be scared. Run full speed ahead to one of the greatest adventures and joys that God can give a man–a lifetime of being a girl’s dad.