Seeking dads approval

One of my guilty pleasures in life is watching The Biggest Loser.  Yes, I admit it fully.  For whatever weird reason, I get a kick out of people turning their lives around and start new.  Imagine that.  Outside the normal “I’m overweight because of a sports injury” or the “I’m a mom that has given everything to everyone else”, there is the occasional story that makes you stop and think.

As in, what were they thinking adding Anna Kournikova?

This season, Emily, brought to the table some stuff that hits close to home.  She was an Olympic athlete (not unheard of), she walked away from the sport (not unheard of), and has since never felt the approval of her father *record scratch*

Yeah, her story might have talked about how she used to be an athlete, but when you watched her in the episode where she went back home, it was all about her trying to gain her dad’s approval.  He was her coach, you see, so he had expectations for her.  As she tried to make sense of her emotions, she said, “I just want my dad to be proud of me.”.  She’s 29 years old.  She’s still not confident in her own skin because her dad never told her she could be.

Might need a spotter

Doesn’t that bug you a bit, boys?  Your daughter, whether she’s 3 or 30, should know that her dad has her back.  Does she?  Stop yourself before you answer too quickly.  Is it only when she achieves that you give her praise?  Is it when she scores the goal or she hustles?  Is it when she has 100% on the exam or when she does her chores without being asked to?

Look, it’s tough as a dad.  We’re wired as hunters and brought up to achieve.  We climb invisible ladders in our day jobs, trying to bust through glass ceilings, and pay for that mansion that just keeps up with the Joneses.  We leap like kangaroos when our team drains the 3 the buzzer and hang our heads if our team was just shattered.  But our daughter doesn’t have to feel that conditional love from you.

Time to be there for her.

Are you un-conditional with your love?  Does she know that?  If you’re looking for the words to explain it, simply try this:

You: Honey, do you know why I love you?

Her: Why?

You: Because I’m your dad.  Am I always going to be your dad?

Her: Yes.

You: And that’s why I’ll always love you.  

Then just back it up by truly loving her when she walks, not runs, down the court.  When her test comes back with a 62% on it.  When her hair is knotted and her room is a mess.  Show her that unconditional love.  Love her when she doesn’t think you do.  She, just like everyone else in this world, is looking for that unconditional approval.  If she doesn’t find it from you, she’ll find it somewhere else.  If THAT doesn’t wake you up, check your pulse.

You have the opportunity to raise a strong, confident woman.  All it takes is your dedication and love.  Don’t raise a grown woman looking for her father’s approval.  Raise one that knows just how unconditionally loving her father is.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-

Daddy-Daughter Date #37 – Rock Concert

Time: 3 – 4 hours
Cost:  $$$
Recurrence:  Once a year
Age: 14-25
Impact: =D

As your daughter ages, her tastes are going to change and like you at this age, she going to want to go to an extremely loud and wild rock concert.  This idea might make you be feeling pride (“my rocker-girl is all grown up”) or might have you feeling chest pains.  Either way, the rock concert date is going to test your metal (total pun intended) as a parent and also as chaperone.  I say chaperone in that you very well might have a portion of this date fending off would-be suitors.  Remember, its a Daddy-Daughter Date and that means it’s you and her – that’s it.  I’m going to level with you: this is a hard date to pull off because of the age and event.  But, you can still do it.  If you’ve really put yourself out there and legitimately shown that you’re interested in this time with her, you might just get the opportunity to go with her.  Let’s talk through how not to blow it.

BIG DISCLAIMER: Don’t argue about how your music from your generation was better than hers.  I didn’t think you were going to go this route, but I really needed to get that out.  Let’s face it.  The groups you liked have now released a second set of their greatest hits, which were the ones that weren’t even hits to begin with.  Most of the original band members have moved on (sometimes to the OTHER SIDE), so the fact of the matter is, your music is probably moot to her.  On the off-shot chance you’re going to see a band that you remember and she likes, well, lucky you!

I.E. Don't be this guy.

The first task you have is deciding whether this is going to be a single concert or a concert series.  I’d suggest for your sanity sake, to avoid the Lollapalooza or the Warped Tour this time, and just focus on something somewhat local that is a single concert.  If this is her first one, its going to be an absolute overload on the senses, so going all out probably wouldn’t be the best bet.  Unless she’s in her later twenties and can handle a few days hanging with just you and a bunch of mud people; to each her own, I guess.  Once you decide on the venue and the actual concert, use whatever your favorite method for procuring tickets.  Yes, you could wait in line or start pounding a website at 3 a.m., plan on getting tickets off Craigslist or from a scalper, or just go the standard route and pay TicketMaster face value.  As with all tickets, where you sit is going to determine how much you pay.  And as with any rock concert, it’s going to be loud in a lot of places.  Being close isn’t always the best.

Yup, that's pretty far back

As you’re prepping for the concert, think of some needed equipment.  Ear plugs, for instance, are an absolute essential.  Unless you’re already sporting the hearing aid, which in that case, just unplug those babies for the evening.  But in all honesty, you want your daughter to keep her hearing (man do I sound old) and they make so many options for ear plugs that allow you to hear the music, but not burst an ear drum.  Both of you should have a phone, just in case you get separated, and work out where to meet BEFORE entering the venue.

Once in, find your seats, but don’t be expecting to sit in them long.  I’d plan on standing the entire concert, given that most people do.  You might be able to sit during the opening act, which could be ANYTHING, fyi.  You could be watching a lesser known band, a comedian, or a juggler on a unicycle.  Aren’t you glad you paid top dollar?  I’d save all your enthusiasm for the main act.  If this is someone you’re pumped to see, that won’t be hard, but if it’s a band she likes, it might be.

Another fine point: you should know the music you’re about to hear for a couple of different reasons.  #1, just to connect with your daughter and be inside her world.  #2, to be cognizant of the message that’s within side that song as lyrics can be quite deep, artistic, or in some cases down right scary.  #3, to know what you just got yourself in to.  Going back to point #2, you need to be sure the lyrics are appropriate for her age and you’re going to have to be willing to talk through some of that dark prose with her.  She is a complicated creature, just like her dad, so be ready to discuss that message.  At this age, she does understand the deeper root of those lyrics.

And she wants you to sing along with them.

Do not be surprised if you’re identifying the smell of a certain medical supplement that gets smoked.  You’re at a concert.  This shouldn’t be that hard to figure out.  But again, part of this date is about spending one on one time with your daughter and part of it is showing her how to have a good time without making detrimental choices.  If your daughter is following this band, she’s also following the sub-culture attached to it.  She’ll have some of the same interests and thoughts as the group-think that follows wherever the pack leads.  You have a chance to show her another path.

It might be tougher for a few of you....

At the end of the concert, think about getting a concert shirt.  Sure, you could have bought one online, but it’s part of the souvenir, really.  Every time she puts on that shirt, she’ll be remembering her dad right next to her.  Fifteen years later, when she pulls it out of a closet for something to do yard work in, she’ll remember again.  That’s an amazing legacy to leave.

Super-Dad Tip: If you know anyone in the band, it’d be cool to get an autograph.  Just saying.

DID IT! by Brian B.

“My older daughter and I, we do a lot of concerts.  So, like, she and I went and saw John Mayer in February.  She’s been to more concerts, like, under the age of 12 than I went to than when I was through the age of twenty.  “

“And they actually hang out with me at the concerts.  We haven’t seen any heavy metal bands, but bands like Train, Counting Crows, Goo-Goo Dolls.  We went to Summerfest two times this year.  My daughter is even starting to collec ticket stubs.  She won’t let me buy electronic tickets to concerts.  She wants the physical copy, so she can put them all on her board.  It’s silly, but I think it’s really neat, because it says something.  “

“The bigger thing is not a huge week-long activities like a vacation, that make the difference.  It’s little “aha” moments with her that you just say, “That was really cool”.  The concerts are great like that.  My daughter is like, “Huh.  My dad’s not such a jerk.”  And we haven’t done a big week long family vacation out to the Grand Canyon or something, because we don’t have to.  We’re already connecting.”   

Thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-