Dad's rules for dating his daughter aren't what you might think

Krista Thurrott
<em>[Photo: Facebook/J. Warren Welch]</em>
[Photo: Facebook/J. Warren Welch]

We’ve all heard the jokes, watched the TV shows, seen the T-shirts featuring the rules to date a man’s daughter. Whether it’s a shotgun, time in jail or macho threats, the rules around dating daughters often take an aggressive approach to dealing with “bad boyfriends.” So when one dad issued his own set of rules on Facebook, his post went viral.

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J. Warren Welch and his wife, Natasha, have five daughters, and wanted to share “rules” that empower them, instead of issuing a set of threats.

“You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy, possessive badass in order for them to be treated with respect. You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place,” he wrote.

Social media users around the world responded to the post, applauding the father’s feminist perspective.

“I don’t think Scarlett will need me to fight her battles for her for some reason,” wrote one user.

“I love this! More men need to think this way when it comes to their daughters,” added another.

Welch told TODAY Parents that his post wasn’t about protecting his daughters – he was addressing the patriarchal need to assert dominance over women.

“I understand the urge to protect your daughters… I get that. But the kind of posturing by fathers of daughters I was specifically responding to had nothing to do with that ‘protective instinct’ and everything to do with asserting their dominance over women and reinforcing a belief that women need men to take care of them,” he said.

Welch is raising two 16-year-olds, a 13-year-old, a 12-year-old and 7-year old in Jonesborough, Tenn. While being a dad to five isn’t always easy, he says he’s learned a lot from his daughters.

“I know that my daughters don’t need my help making important decisions about their relationships… I was a feminist long before I had daughters, but it wasn’t until I was blessed with the task of raising young women that I realized why,” he said. “These girls are amazing humans, and I can take no credit for that other than the fact that I at least knew that the best thing I could do for them is not try to ‘mold’ them.”

“I can make bold statements about my daughters because I listen to them, and I know they are bold young women,” added Welch.

“I really do actively try to encourage that boldness, but I’ve never felt the need to cultivate it.”

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