No matter how many books we’ve read or theories we’ve spouted, I know of no father who doesn’t break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of any boy so much as laying a finger on his cherished little girl, let alone indulging in something more intimate.
My friend Pete said one of the toughest moments of his life was smiling in a friendly, welcoming manner when introduced to his gorgeous 17-year-old daughter’s boyfriend, while his mind churned with horrific thoughts about exactly what this testosteronic teenager probably wanted to do with her given half a chance. Just as we resist the notion of our own parents having sex, so most of us struggle with the idea that our daughters might do the same thing.
We’re caught in a gender trap here. A son’s evolution to manhood is usually a source of pride, wonder and sage advice from us, but as our girls become women, we begin to battle demons that used to be kept at bay with strict rules and a dark silence. These days, we must confront our fears and our daughter’s needs, and find a way that leads to emotional security for both of us.
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