I love reading to my daughters. For the last couple of years my wife and I have been reading Young Adult novels with/to our oldest, the Elder Extroverted One, who is a mature ten year old. It blew up after she tackled the Harry Potter series. For awhile it was difficult to get her to read anything that wasn’t Harry Potter but she reluctantly allowed us to help her branch out a bit with the help of the list of fine girl-empowering books from A Mighty Girl. The Elder Extroverted One enjoyed The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (I did, too. But I’m a fan of his anyway). I have read The Hunger Games and figured that she could handle it so I read it to her while she read it to herself. Then she gobbled up Catching Fire after I read it first. These last two books have more violence than anything else that I was worried that she would not be quite ready to deal with those situations.
The thing with all of these books so far is that I have read them first and then deemed them to be okay for her to read. At the moment we are reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. Which is a fine book, by the way, it’s just that I haven’t read it before allowing it to be read to/by the Elder Extroverted One. The other night as I was reading to her it was getting into the budding relationship between [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] (no spoilers here, folks). As I was reading one particular rendezvous between the unnamed two it got a little heated up. So much so, I felt that I had to stop and skim ahead because I wasn’t sure how far it would escalate and if I wanted to be reading it out loud to my ten year old daughter.
As parents, my wife and I are forthcoming about the birds and the bees with our daughters. More my wife than me but mostly because I’m a dumb, stinky boy and don’t feel qualified to scientifically discuss such things (I may have just turned forty but I have a mental age of twelve). So, I’m not too worried about the sexy stuff in books. But, as a ten year old, she may not emotionally be ready to deal with the not-so-scientific way of these kinds of relationships. Plus, it’s just kind of weird reading that out loud AND to my daughter. Hell, I think it would be weird to read the kinds of books they read over on Vaginal Fantasies out loud to my wife.
So, this may be just my own hang up that I have to deal with but wonder what other fathers do as they continue to read with/to their daughters as the daughters grow in age and reading level.
I can’t wait for the day the Elder Extroverted One will just read all of her books to herself. Which would leave me to read my own books or watch TV…probably TV.
2 thoughts on “Daddy-Daughter Dilemmas”
Not a daddy, but this momma found herself doing similar skimming for her 10yo son. And rewatching movies that we wanted to share as a family. Especially after the “Johnny Dangerously” incident. The film is great tween boy humor. And pretty innocuous… until they show Johnny’s brother a short film outlining the dangers of acting on the old birds & bees talk. (No spoilers here, either). All that to say, I feel your pain…
Not sure I’m replying to your post, Joel, or to the comment from the mom above. But I’m writing to tell you about my discussion with my oldest granddaughter…..it might make you feel a little better. When I was driving her and her sister to meet you after the last Grandma Camp, we were having a serious talk. She said, “I’m going to have three kids some day….two girls, and one boy.” I said “well, at least now, we can’t choose whether we have boys or girls. We love either one just the same!” Then she said “You can if you adopt!” Since she is a very grown up, compassionate girl, I figured she was going to give me some humanitarian reason for adopting. To my surprise, her reason for saying she wanted to adopt? “Grandma, have you SEEN how they come out of you?!” Trying not to laugh, I told her that I have seen it, and managed to get thru it twice! To top it off, her next comment…”And do you know what you have to do to get them in there?” I think she’s figured out a lot more than lots of ten year old girls!
But I do understand your dilemma! You and Laura are doing a great job….just trust your instincts!