Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Daughter Learns how to be Treated by Watching You

As your daughter shifts into the school age and starts interacting with boys, she will implement what she has learned at home about male-to-female relationships. She has been paying close attention to how you treat her mother, your wife.

If your relationship with your spouse has been shaky, your daughter will take that with her to school. What do I mean by shaky? Well, I mean that there is a lack of trust, little responsibility, and a lot of unnecessary time spent apart, your daughter will have a more likely chance of seeking out males, who are not trustworthy, don’t own up to responsibility, and are physically detached.

Let’s also think of if you have yelled or even threatened to hit your spouse. Even if you didn’t do this in front of your children, it still has an influence on them if they are present, say in their bedroom. If this is the case with your relationship with your spouse, your daughter will lean towards males who are verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive.

If your relationship has been following the “Gottman guidelines” of at least three positive acts for every one negative, your daughter will have noticed this. If you have been taking your spouse out on dates, buying her flowers, remembering your anniversary, among other things, your daughter will be more likely to seek out respectful males.
Of course, there will be the situation where your daughter gets herself into an unhealthy relationship, despite your example. Just know that you are her first exposure to a male-female relationship, and despite a poor choice, she will one day come to the realization and desire the relationship that her father and mother had.

We also need to be aware of other influences on the male-female relationship. One cannot omit the outside forces that come into our homes. What kind of shows and movies do you watch in your house, and how are women treated in them? What kinds of video games do you play, and how are the women treated or portrayed in those? How about your music, what do the lyrics contain about women? If you view pornography, think of how that will influence your daughter of how women should be treated. Take all of those into account. Even if you treat your wife with the utmost respect, but then listen to a song demeaning women, there will be a conflict in the messages you are sending her.

Make your home and your relationship with your spouse healthy, so that your daughter can see, hear, and learn how women should be treated. It will greatly affect her relationships for the rest of her life.

Has watching how your parents treat each other influenced you?



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