My beautiful daughter, Jacqueline, is my princess. Like most fathers, I do sometimes put my daughter on a ‘princess’ pedestal.
However, I do not want to raise a princess. I want to raise a Pioneer woman.
After reading an incredible book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker, I was inspired to re-evaluate my thoughts around this princess notion. I have always questioned the whole princess mentality and how it fits my own values and philosophy of raising my own little girl in this crazy world.
I started to think very critically about the PRINCESS vs. the PIONEER.
A princess expects everything to be handed to her and everything to be done for her, and who gives nothing in return. Her life is about her needs and wants. A pioneer woman relies on herself and knows that any improvement in her life is from her own hard work.
A princess is taught that she is the centre of the world – she needs constant affirmation, attention, and hand holding. “TAKE TAKE TAKE” is the motto of the princess. While a pioneer woman asks what she can ADD to the world. Her self-esteem and confidence are increased through her work ethic and success.
A princess, along with a huge sense of entitlement, blames others when she fails. She expects others to solve her problems and bail her out. Her behaviour is almost laughable at times. While the pioneer woman accepts responsibility and learns from her mistakes, her behaviour is constantly respected and admired.
“I need, I want, I have to have” are the regular songs playing in the head of the princess, while the pioneer woman sings a different song – “I have, I will, and I can”.
The pioneer woman isn't easily swayed by peer pressure and is less interested in fads and trends. She is logical, ethical, and a problem solver. To a pioneer woman, a flat-tire is a problem that can be solved, while it spells catastrophe for the helpless princess – the damsel in distress – in constant need of rescuing.
Even Disney, the ultimate Princess FACTORY, is starting to change their tune with their new princesses characters. “Rapunzel" from Tangled is a strong, quick thinking, confident girl that doesn’t need a man to solve her problems! She is less princess and much more pioneer -- in control of her own destiny.
Without our vigilance, pop culture and the new MTV Generation can be toxic for our girls. From the pathetic “Jersey Shore” to “My Super Sweet Sixteen" and "16 and Pregnant", our girls are being fed horrible garbage on a daily basis. We need to be involved more than ever in the teen years. As I have said in the past, YOU are the greatest beacon for her – her lighthouse – no light shall be stronger to guide her through the storms.
Raising a teenage daughter can be difficult – but your connection and her sense of attachment to you are critical. Through the struggles, she will see your attention and intention and know that she is WORTH IT. She needs to know her knight in shining armour is there, even if she doesn’t want your help to bail her out. She doesn’t feel good about herself until she knows YOU feel good about her!
“If you fully understood how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be terrified, overwhelmed or both…. You will influence her entire life because she gives you the authority to do so… (Meg Meeker — Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters)
Teen pregnancy, depression, sexually transmitted diseases, eating disorders, school failure, drug and alcohol abuse may all be preventable with a strong Father–Daughter relationship. Are you MAN enough to accept this challenge??
I will do my best to raise my little pioneer Jacqueline. I will help her take charge of her life, foster her independence and resiliency, and help her find her place in this world. I will remember to always comment on her character NOT her appearance...
Like a good golf caddy, I will be right beside her – supporting, encouraging, and watching her hit every shot of her life. I will give her “Roots and Wings” – that strange paradox. She will know how to change a flat tire, balance her finances, and the value of working hard. She is in control of her own destiny – it’s her life. That is the gift I must give her. To be fair, although my son is my prince, this is EXACTLY the same way I will raise my pioneering son - every improvement in his life will come from his own hard work (same rules apply).
I don't want to be a hypocrite. For the next few years, I foresee a few more princess birthday parties, like the one we had last month. But let’s be honest, back in the day (which was a Wednesday), even a hard working pioneer woman must have taken ONE day off a year to live it up… or did she?
I am curious about you… are you raising a princess or a pioneer?
Please add your comments below – I am very interested in this area and specifically in your thoughts! Please share...
Until next time...
Jeff Hay is parenting “enthusiast” – a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter on parenting and especially parenting from a Dad’s point of view. He is a father of a little boy and girl who continues to dedicate his life’s work to improving the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers. He wants to motivate fathers to stay involved in all aspects of their child’s life – creating a strong and effective lifelong relationship - moving away from the lonely roles of provider and punisher and embracing exciting NEW roles.
With a background in recreation, teaching, broadcasting, and motivational speaking, Jeff wants to motivate fathers to be Mentors, Leaders, Nurturers, and Playmates for their children. When he is not playing his favourite role of “DAD”, Jeff is speaking throughout BC as a popular parenting educator. He is currently working on his brand new website – www.thedadvibe.com - blogging, facilitating, and connecting with other dads. Jeff continues to work on his parenting book for Dads, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home!”