13 Ways Having a (13-year-old) Daughter Turned My World Upside Down

BY: - 1 Aug '13 | Parenting

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My daughter turns 13 today.  **pause for reflection** **pause for reflection–again**  Wow!  I have a 13-year-old.  A 13-year-old girl!  It is a huge understatement to say that since the minute she came into my life it has never been the same.

As I am writing this post, she is sitting in front of me while my wife does her hair.  She now likes to wear her hair a certain way.  She is 13.  I am trying to digest it all.  One or two dads reading this can relate.

Mixed emotions

It is hard to put into words the feelings you have as a dad when your baby girl is becoming a young lady.  On one hand you are proud of the young lady she is becoming.  On the other hand you miss the days when she was daddy’s little girl.

You also think of you, your homeboys, and girls when you were 13!  Ever had that nervous feeling in your stomach?  Yep, I got it.

Welcome changes

As I think of all that and the 13 years of being the dad of a daughter, I realize how much my life has changed.  The changes have been very eye-opening, very humbling, and very necessary for a dad with a daughter.

Below are 13 ways having a 13-year-old daughter turned my world upside down.

  1. I see other women as someone’s daughter.  Do I need to admit I didn’t always view women appropriately.  Having a daughter changes that quickly.  If other people viewed my daughter the way I used to view women, I’d have major problems.
  2. I became the model of a man immediately, yet undeservedly.  Dads, we are the first man our daughter will love.  Whether we know or they know it, we are their image of what a man should be.  I didn’t deserve it because I was a bad image when she was born, but I hope the image she sees today is a good one.
  3. I had to step up my game with my wife.  Seeing me love my wife/her mother would shape her ideal of a husband, and a dad.  If I talk to my wife a certain kind of (disrespectful) way, and treat our daughter differently I’d be out of order.  When she becomes a woman, a wife, she’ll know she should be the queen, and the kids are princesses and princes.
  4. I realized the TV is not my friend.  Let’s be real.  The images of women on TV are sad, and shameful at times.  I quickly learned the TV was not a friend to me or my daughter.  I can’t think of a woman on TV I’d like my daughter to emulate more than my wife.  Too much TV could lead to her viewing herself in a way that is not good for her growing into the young lady we are raising her to be.
  5. I learned to speak a new language.  I had to learn another language other than “dude.”  My communication style changed.  If it didn’t we may not be able to talk at all.  I had to be more sensitive in my conversation, and use many more words!  All while I stopped using others.
  6. The girls I used to “like” I no longer do.  For this point, let’s just say I focused on the outside, the appearance, or clothing a girl wore when I was younger.  Now, I’m like what if my daughter was that girl, or became that girl.  That would be tough to deal with.
  7. I watch ‘little dudes’ closer than I ever have.  They may not know it, but these little dudes her age think I’m cool with them just because.  I got my eye on ’em.  I’m not trying to be the overprotective dad with the shotgun.  But I’m trying to be the dad who is present, and involved.  But if I have to be the overprotective dad…see below #10.
  8. I wish I learned to do hair.  I did my daughter’s hair one time, and it was a mess.  My wife was out of town, and I needed help.  I was kind of banned from doing it again.  But if I really wanted to do it, they would have allowed me. Then maybe I would have gotten better.  I’ve read of dads who do, or have done, their daughter’s hair and it sounds like great moments to bond.
  9. I learned I have to get better at listening!  If you don’t listen well as a dad of a daughter you will have issues.  I am still learning my listening skills need some serious work.  I am not there yet, but I will be.
  10. I realize I’m capable of really hurting someone.  Earlier I said I don’t want to be that crazy dad, but I realize if a little dude hurt my daughter…I’ll leave it at that.
  11. I realize how soft I can actually be.  Having a daughter brings out your soft side.  You may find yourself getting teary eyed during movies.  You may find yourself doing some things you never ever thought you’d do.  But you’ll enjoy it all!
  12. I am thankful I married a wonderful woman and mother.  When our daughter was born we were not married.  And let’s say I wasn’t really the type of dude you want to marry.  But my wife saw something in me, and I am blessed our daughter can see how a wife of noble character carries herself.
  13. I realized there were more important things in life.  I was selfish.  Period, point blank.  When our daughter was born I had this little baby, who could do nothing on her own.  A little baby who looked like me, and who needed me.  My selfish needs had to be pushed aside.

I’m thankful for each and every one of those ways because they all came as a result of one of the greatest blessings in my life.  Although I sometimes wish I had a pause button, I am looking forward to seeing her continue to grow up, and continue to turn my world upside down.

BMWK – Do you have a daughter?  How has having a daughter changed your life?

About the author

Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. wrote 62 articles on this blog.

Jackie is an author, blogger, and speaker who helps men better love their wives and lead their families. He is the creator of The 7 Rings of Marriage™. You can receive his latest BMWK posts in your inbox, plus his latest marriage and parenting posts from around the web by subscribing to his weekly newsletter!

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6 WordPress comments on “13 Ways Having a (13-year-old) Daughter Turned My World Upside Down

  1. Pingback: I'm the Dad of a 13-Year-Old Daughter... — JackieBledsoe.com

  2. Michael

    Happy 13th Birthday Little Mama!!! I am proud of your ability to grow up your dad!!

    I have 4 daughters and my oldest is 9 months younger than you. I totally understand where your dad is coming from in his blog on you and how you have had an impact on him.

    Begin today to envision your life and how wonderful and productive you are going to be.

    This world is open to receiving you and not everyone has their dad around them daily and your relationship with him is HUGE. Cherish it and I know it is your dad but go to him for wisdom.

    And remember….You have a special Dad and from him flows Wisdom. Make sure you keep the communication lines open. It will benefit you forever.

    Maybe one day your dad and I will link up and you can meet my daughter. She likes her hair done a CERTAIN way too. (Check her out on my blog) I will have her maybe stop by to say Happy Birthday.

    In closing, enjoy your day!!! It’s all about you and let me tell you a secret….my daughter is now celebrating her birthday for the whole week, but don’t tell your Dad I said that! Haha!

    Happy Birthday!!!
    Michael
    Dawn
    Christian 12
    Logan 9
    Kaylan 7
    Aydan 3

    P.S. Keep your eyes on your wonderful Mom as the example and stay away from TV!! (That again was Wisdom)

  3. Michael

    God has called us to protect our children. I see where someone mentioned a cell phone. Maybe we can discuss this or one of us do a post on it. My question is can you protect your kids once you allow them access to a SMART phone?

  4. Tiya

    Jackie,

    I just love this article! Especially the props you gave to your wife. It is not easy raising girls, but it sounds like you are definitely on the right track. Great article!

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Video: Film Shows Challenges Faced with Educating African American Boys

BY: - 1 Aug '13 | Parenting

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There are so many considerations when we are determining what is best for our children.  As parents, what we think about the most is how to educate our little ones.  Should they go to public school? Private school? Should they be home schooled?  The questions are plentiful and the answers certainly do not come easy.

American Promise, a documentary that has been 13 years in the making, looks at the struggles and triumphs that two middle-class African American families face as they navigate the complexities of our educational system on their quest to provide their sons with the education they deserve.

Husband and wife duo, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, set out to make this film in an effort to empower parents and address an educational achievement gap that significantly affects young Black boys. By following their own son, Idris, and his friend, Seun, the filmmakers let us step into their personal lives to take an intimate look at the struggles they faced as parents, and the struggles these young boys faced as students.

After seeing a 30-minute portion of this film, I walked away feeling angry, concerned, and saddened. But, most importantly, I walked away feeling empowered about my ability to make the best decisions when it comes to my son’s education.  There were moments where the boys openly shared their innermost thoughts on camera, and those moments were so raw, I cried.

Although I did not see the film in its entirety, viewing the whole film will give you a chance to be part of a journey that starts on their first day in kindergarten – at a private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called the Dalton School – and ends when they graduate from high school.

We all want what’s best for our children.  That’s a given.  The challenge arises when we are faced with the unexpected, and we must decide what’s best, with no guarantee that our decision truly is best. That, for all of us, is the struggle that often comes with educating our children.

Sparking meaningful conversations, while empowering parents and children alike, I think American Promise is a must-see film.

American Promise will air on PBS this fall, and you can also request a screening in your area.  To learn more, click here.

BMWK Family, do you plan to watch American Promise?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 496 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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