One of the scariest things about raising kids is dealing with children of the opposite gender. It's not like we're afraid of girls or boys, but it's the fact that we had different experiences hormonally growing up than they will, which makes it nerve-wracking. As a woman, how does she relate to her son when it comes to puberty? And as a man, how does he teach his little girl to go to the bathroom when he learned differently? It's hard especially for solo parents with children of the opposite gender; it can be difficult to relate to them when they don't necessarily know what they're going through.
For most fathers, the thought of raising a girl is enough to make them sleep with their eyes open. Not only do little girls have different body parts, but they go through different hormonal changes than men do. When it comes to diaper changes and dealing with teenage girls, just about everything surprises dads.
Thanks to Reddit, we find that many dads adore their little girls in a way they never knew they could, but they're also baffled by the sheer differences (or similarities) to themselves. From messy bathrooms to messy rooms to screaming matches with their moms, here are 20 things that surprised dads about having daughters.
20 It Was Harder To Discipline Than Expected
Truth be told, it doesn't matter if you're a mom or a dad, when you have a child and they give you "the look," it can be difficult to do any kind of disciplinary action. Our kids somehow know how to pull on our heartstrings! One father of a 4-year-old explained, "What surprised me most was how hard it is to punish her. She is just so [darn] cute. I just want to cave every time she says 'please.' I don't, but man I really want to." When you see a miniature version of you and your partner, how do you have the strength to say "no" and send them to their room?
19 Girls Can Get Messy Too
I always find it hilarious when people assume little boys are messy and girls are clean. Uh, kids are kids, dude — all of them are bound to make a mess or five. "Guy here with a 2-year-old girl. My daughter loves soot. Will not stay out of it. If we take her to the playground, she runs off the side and starts clawing into the earth like she wants to bury something. She digs holes in the pebbles some playgrounds have, too. But, as soon as we come inside, she politely asks to wash her hands." But this dad doesn't stop there, his daughter continues to surprise her when it comes to clean up time. "When we take her off her stool and tell her to go into the living room so we can clean up, she runs off and comes back with a loaded Nerf toy and does her best to prime and shoot us as we clean." He even explains how she doesn't give a hoot about any of the toys they buy her, she's more interested in creating messes.
18 Girls Spend A Lot Of Time Looking In The Mirror
Sometimes it's not one thing that surprises dads, but a plethora of things. As a father of two girls explained, one of the things that surprised him was "That there is no upper limit on the amount of make-up, lotions, polishes, product, and other 'beauty' items that are required." As a woman, I can confirm this. No matter how much lotion I buy, I always seem to want more. Furthermore, he explains his fascination when his daughters choose to "sit in the sink" and "stare into the mirror." To men, this might seem weird, but as a woman, I remember MANY times sitting on the bathroom counter while on the phone and staring at my teeth or skin as I chatted away.
I never thought anything about it until I realized how different this dad found this experience!
17 Girls Are So Quiet And Calm Compared To Boys
There were a few dads who were surprised by how peacefully their daughters played in comparison to their sons. One dad explained the differences between his 5-year-old and two stepsons. "I would say the biggest difference so far is that my daughter is so much calmer and is generally happy to play quietly by herself. If my two boys were quiet for more than a few minutes I would start to panic." As a woman with two brothers, I enjoyed when my mom played with me but I had way more fun when I was playing by myself in my own dreamland. My brothers, on the other hand, were always rough-housing or playing video games that were vicious in nature.
16 The Realization That They'll Be Married One Day
"Father of five girls here. (22, 20, 19, 17, and 16). Teen years suck. Moods, oh my god. Mom/daughter argues — vacate the premises," one dad vents. But it's not the mood swings or ups and downs that has this dad stressing, it's the fact that one day they're all going to get married. " I can't even think about it without tearing up," he says. While it's more of a U.S. tradition that the woman's father pays for the wedding, that all depends on the family's situation. With five girls, paying for five weddings is enough to equivalent a house.
15 Girls Aren't Always Organized
This next entry cracks me up. As a very organized woman, I always felt like I was "tidy." However, once my husband and I moved in with each other, he pointed out at how much of a slob I was. Baffled by his observation, he explained I had tiny "mess piles" around the house which only I knew what was in them. Funny enough, he was right. I do have small piles in each room but I always knew what was in them so I never considered them a mess! Likewise, this dad was surprised by how messy his daughter was. "My daughter is 9 years old and keeps her room like the proverbial pigsty. No amount of yelling, talking, privilege-taking, or anything else will stop her from [messing] up her room."
14 Girls Like The Same Activities Boys Do
Stereotypes are a thing for a reason. No matter how much men and women want to combat these generalizations, there's some validity to each one. "I'm the dad of a 2-year-old girl, and the thing that really surprised me is that she has no preference for stereotypical 'girl' toys/activities over 'boy' toys/activities." He explained how she loves her "tool bench as much as her princess castle." And loves playing in the "mud as much as playing in her kitchen." What's considered "manly" or "feminine" doesn't always follow each gender. Boys can enjoy playing dress up and be as cuddly as their sisters. Likewise, girls can get messy and enjoy working on cars as much as boys.
13 Girls Know How To Use The Word 'Dad' To Their Advantage
Dad, pops, daddy — whatever your daughter decides to call you, she'll have different meanings for each thing she needs. I have a friend who always calls her dad "daddy" when she really wanted something, but every time before that is just "dad." Personally, I know I always extended my dad's name whenever he was annoying or embarrassing me. And it seems like this dad on Reddit had the same experience. "The word 'Dad' can be made multi-syllabic: 'Daaa-aaaaaa-aaaad-uh!'" Honestly, just seeing that sentence written out makes me giggle because he's spot on. Adding the classic "uh" to the end of dad really shows how annoyed a daughter can be.
12 The Emotions Are Always On High
The funny thing about most of these entries is that the dads are always so surprised by the emotions. Like women, men are also born with the ability to express the same emotions — there's nothing wrong with expressing it. One dad expressed his own experience with his own 8-year-old daughter's emotions. "She can go from laughing to crying in literally seconds. She is incredibly smart but emotions get in her way of thinking sometimes." If that sounds a little harsh, let him explain... "The other day she was taking a book to the YMCA and was taking a paper to write down the pages she read. I explained that she knows what pages she is starting on and that she'll know where she ends because of her bookmark so she doesn't need the paper. She started bawling her eyes out and then stomped off. Girls are hard!"
11 Girls Can Be Resilient
Being a solo parent is one of the hardest things in the world to do. You have to juggle being the mom and the dad; being on their team along with disciplining them when they need it most. One dad talks about the hardships his young family has endured, but the one thing that surprised him the most was the strength of his daughter. After his wife passed away, his daughter is now 16 years old and has "developed Type 1 Diabetes seven years ago and manages the majority of her illness herself, and is acing her AP courses. I'd say resilience." Resilience can't always be taught — seeing her grow into such a strong, young woman should be rewarding.
10 Potty Training Can Be Difficult
There seem to be many dads who are perplexed with the entire bathroom situation. Obviously, men and women have different parts, so going to the bathroom or changing a diaper can seem challenging or uncomfortable for some. "My 18-month-old daughter is starting potty training. [And] while she's got her tiny butt hanging down into the potty, her urine stream somehow redirects itself up and out of the toilet" one dad confesses. "Meanwhile, the boy never misses even in the morning when, as he says, 'his pee pee is awake.'" Raising both girls and boys at the same time shows just how different both genders can be. As this dad later added, his daughter "doesn't take direction very well" but she's learning!
9 The Strange Overheard Conversations
Being a father to all girls can be eye-opening in a number of ways, but for this father, it was the conversations in their household that he's continuously surprised at. "I have five daughters ranging from 23 to 7. The one thing that surprised me most is the amount of time they spend talking about [their body parts]. Teenage girls talk about their [bodies], their friends [bodies], [bodies] of girls at school, [bodies] of girls they see when they go somewhere," he jokes. The funny part is the girls don't seem to mind if their dad is in the room or not. They're going to talk about whatever conversation fancies them the most.
8 Confidence, And Stuffed Animal Hoarding
As a girl with two brothers, I don't think I "ruled" the two boys as much as this man's daughter did, but I do think I got away with more being the only girl. "I've got two boys and a girl, the girl is the youngest," one dad told Reddit. "She completely rules her two brothers, and her male cousins as well (she's the only girl). She's 5 and has been doing this since before she could even walk. It's amazing how quickly girls learn how to do that."
Seeing that his little girl's mind is a sponge and that she's learning how to handle power is a huge step for both of them. Watching her grow mentally, however, is way more intriguing than the amount of mess his little one creates. He adds on, "plus stuffed toys everywhere. I swear she's got some kind of secret smuggling ring bringing them to her."
7 He'll Want To Play Dress-Up, Too
There are times your kids are going to want to play games you have no interest in. This could be a scavenger hunt, playing Barbies, or running around the house playing hide-and-seek. Nevertheless, the games you're interested in playing might change once your child wraps you around their tiny finger. "You find that you, as the dad, [you] really get into princess crap and tea party crap and all the girly crap. You voluntarily do this stuff with her." Volunteering to play games with his daughter when he has no interest in them shows how much love this dad has for his little one.
6 Not As Dramatic As They're Made Out To Be
I always think it's funny when men think women are so dramatic because men can be equally dramatic. However, if you're a man who was raised in a male-dominated household, dealing with pre-pubescent daughters can be quite an eye-opener. "The sheer amount of daily emotional drama has no equivalent in the male world" one dad explained. I blame the "women are dramatic" rumor on society. Women are constantly being told they're too dramatic simply because they talk too much or care too intensely. Men can be equally dramatic if they just expressed their feelings more and spoke up about the things that bothered them, but such is life.
5 The Love Of A Daughter
Fathers of both boys and girls explain how the love they receive from a daughter is different than the love of their son. "None of it compares to the EPIC level of awesome that is the love of a daughter for her father. I pity men that don't have a girl, because they'll never know a daughter's love. The times where they come up and tell me 'daddy, you look handsome!' or 'Daddy, you're my hero!' after I clear their room of monsters will melt any man's heart," he tells Reddit. The 'monster clearing' is enough to make any partner's heart swoon.
4 Dads Aren't Babysitting — They're Parenting
I'm not even a mother yet and even I find it annoying when people joke at my male friends for "babysitting" their babies when their wives are elsewhere... Um, they're parenting – not babysitting. When a mother is left alone with her child, is she told consistently that she's a good mom who's babysitting? No. So why is it different from men? On dad found this out the hard way after having his baby girl. "The one that really ticked me off was when someone would be surprised that I was allowed to watch my daughter alone; like I needed my wife's permission." Most dads are very much capable of parenting and watching their child; they don't need permission from his partner to do so. He's being a dad!
3 They Can Do Anything Boys Can
I don't know where the notion came from that secretly told people that women are fragile little fairies, but that couldn't be further from the truth. One dad spoke about his own daughter's story and being told "no" all because she was a girl. "One day she goes with my wife to a friend's house where some other kids were over and upon returning starts to say that she can't do things because she's a girl. I'm normally a very level person but it still surprises me how much hearing her say that upset me," he vented. To teach her that she can do anything she puts her mind to, he would have her do the things around the house that he was going to do — showing her that gender means nothing.
2 Different Species
John Gray's Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus shook everyone to the core back in 1992 when it was released. It showcases the difference in genders and how, at times, it's like we're different species. How do we even co-exist! One dad added to this notion, saying "That boys and girls aren't even the same species. I have a girl of my own and my brother has four boys. The kids don't share a sole common strand of DNA" He explained that if the entire crew went on a little day trip, "My daughter changes her shoes literally seven times. My nephew shows up at the van with one shoe on... The wrong foot."
1 Plan For Patience
If having children makes you a more rounded and patient person, then good for you. Being patient with children is number one, and this dad learned that early on. "The thing that surprises me the most is how gentle and patient I can be with my kids. Before I had kids I could be a very difficult person to be around. But now I have the patience of a monk when it comes to those little people." Having a tough childhood himself, he didn't want to be the father he had growing up, so he chose to be someone his daughter could look up to; something he never had when he was her age.