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'My husband told my daughter that she needs to be shaving herself. It's really bothered me.' UPDATED

'My husband told my daughter that she needs to be shaving herself. It's really bothered me.' UPDATED

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Parenting is complicated, and disagreements around how to talk to your kids as they grow toward adulthood can create some major issues.

"My (37F) husband (38M) told my daughter that she needs to be shaving herself. It's really bothered me, what are the ways forward from this?"

My husband and I have been married for twelve years, and we have two daughters. The eldest is eleven, and the youngest is eight. He's a great dad, and the girls love him. But recently he said something which I think was extremely hurtful to my eldest daughter. He told her that she needs to shaving herself, and I'm really annoyed at him for saying that to her.

If she was insecure about it, I would be completely comfortable with her shaving if she wanted to. She doesn’t seem bothered by it, and we live in a cold climate anyway. Although she does take part in several sports. But she doesn’t care about it, so I don’t see any reason to plant an insecurity in her mind about something that doesn’t even matter.

I’ve raised both of my daughters not to be ashamed of themselves, and I feel that having my daughter shave would make her feel that way. She should only start shaving when she wants to, not when someone thinks she should be. It’s bothering me that my husband doesn’t think that way, as I think that what he is saying could be harmful to her.

There's nothing wrong with her, and nothing that she needs to fix. I also don't want her little sister thinking that she needs to shave as well. I'm not sure why he doesn't understand that, as it seems super obvious to me. Maybe it's because he's a man, and doesn't understand what it's like being a girl around that age.

It's very difficult, and I don't want her dad to be making it worse when he should be supporting her. It's bothered me so much that he's said this, I couldn't imagine how I would've felt at my daughter's age being told that.

I've talked to him about it, but he just doesn't think it's a big deal. I'm not sure why it is to me, but I just don't know what he was thinking saying that to her and I'm not sure how to get over this.

The commenters did not hold back.

[Deleted Commenter] wrote:

A good rule I was always told growing up is “don’t point out something about someone’s physical appearance if they can’t change it in 5 seconds.” Your husband sounds like he’s out of touch with the way women have been scrutinized for generations by men and how it affected their mental health.

OP responded:

Possibly, yes. Which wasn't an issue when the girls were little, but I feel that it could become one now as they get older.

judgre4 wrote:

Express your feelings to your husband about his comment to your daughter. Emphasize the importance of supporting your daughters' autonomy and self-confidence. Discuss how his words might affect her self-esteem and find common ground on empowering your daughters to make their own choices about their bodies.

OP responded:

I already have. I told him all of that, and how it could have made her feel that he said that.

BigAsparagus9383 responded:

And how did he react?

OP responded:

He didn't think that it was anything hurtful what he said, and that he was just wanted the best for her.

princesscraftypants responded:

Then he needs to redefine what best means, as a father and partner. How is shaving better for an 11 year old? Does she need to be more attractive to suitors at this age? Is it to prep for being desirable as she ages? Is she not as aerodynamic in swimming? How does shaving improve your daughter's life?

He really needs to explain it. Hopefully there would be an ah-ha moment in the conversation, but c'mon. What possible "best" could there be for that suggestion? She'll get enough s#$t from the world, she doesn't need it from her dad.

OP responded:

He did never really give me a real reason for it, and it would have made it less worse for him to say if he at least had some kind of reason. But even if he did, it should've been said to me and not my daughter.

ashkestar wrote:

My (wonderful, well-intentioned) grandma really pushed me to start hair removal when I was around that age, and it helped lead to a lifelong complex around body hair. I think it’s quite reasonable to push back on that and explain to your kid that daddy has some old fashioned ideas and she shouldn’t change anything she doesn’t want to.

I’m over here at 41 momentarily thinking “good for him, she should start shaving before it becomes a point of shame for her,” which is obviously irrational and driven by my own shame, but that s**t cuts deep.

OP responded:

I agree. I wouldn't have an issue with it if she wanted to, but given the fact she isn't bothered by it, I don't see the point in encouraging her to. I feel that it should be her decision.

Adventurous-travel1 wrote:

As a mom I always talked about things age appropriate. When I noticed her hair coming in think then we has a chat about but I also gave her the tools to decide. The main is it’s not just about the household but outside also. Yes we talked about peer pressure and only shave if she wants to. I do know that the girls talked about lot during locker room changing.

The question I have is he does it because he is worried about school and bullying? Regardless it should have been a conversation between the two of you and then you talking about this as I believe certain things with females should come from the mom.

OP responded:

I don't think so, no. The only thing that could be any sort of issue would be her legs, but she wears long pants to school usually and it's barely visible anyway. She wouldn't get bullied for it. And even if he thought she could be, I would've much preferred him to talk to me about it first.

Glass-Hedgehog3940 wrote:

Did either one of you ask the daughter how she felt? I’m from California so we start shaving pretty early. I know it sounds awful but girls with hairy underarms and legs are kind of frowned upon, especially once we have to start dressing out for PE and it doesn’t come from adults, it comes from our peer group. Was Dad a little too blunt about it? Yes, he should re-think his approach for sure.

Did he say it to her out of the blue or did she make mention of body hair, girls at school? I think you should talk with him about tact then have a talk with your daughter about how she feels about her body and autonomy. Men can be unthinking sometimes and girls can be sensitive.

Just open the communication as I don’t think any real damage has been done unless you see behavior changes in your daughter. This is a crucial time for loving, open communication with her. Saying the wrong things can shape her trust in you both forever.

OP responded:

Previously, my daughter wasn't interested in shaving. She had asked me about it but didn't really want to. And other than her sports outside of school, barely anyone would see her legs or her underarms and it's barely visible anyway.

[Deleted commenter] wrote:

Shave what, her legs? Isn’t that early?

OP responded:

To shave everything, what is generally done. So yes, her legs.

[Deleted commenter] responded:

Wait, what? Do you mean p*bic hair as well? Because then it wouldn't be borderline s*xualizing her, and far more disgusting than I thought already.

OP responded:

Yes. That as well.

[Deleted commenter] wrote:

Expecting his daughter to shave her p*bic area is creepy as its a thing done for a partners preference... it has no use but to sex*ally satisfy a partner.

OP responded:

I don't know why he feels that way, but he's not trying to be creepy to my daughter. He's just got flawed opinions.

[Deleted commenter] wrote:

If he wasn't trying to be creepy, why does he care so much about whether she shaves her pubes so much? The only time I shave there is for s*xual reasons. As that's generally the only reason most people shave that area.

OP responded:

Obviously my daughter would not be. So I don't know why he wants her to.

Roughly a week later, OP shared an update.

I had another discussion with my husband. I told him about how he's placing an unfair expectation on her, and that unwarranted comments like that can affect her self-esteem. And that as parents, we should want our daughters to feel confident and feel like they can make decisions about their own bodies, and not have other people forcing those decisions on them.

Also that she will start hearing things like that from more and more people the older she gets, and that she shouldn't be hearing it from her parents as well. I think he does understand now and he apologized to both me and my daughter. I did also talk to our daughter, and made sure she knew that it's her choice what she chooses to do to her body, and it's about what she feels comfortable with.

While I've done my best, I'm not sure how much what my husband said has affected her. Although he has apologized to our daughter, I'm not sure how much that has done. But I can't undo what has been done, so I'm trying to help my daughter as best I can. She wants to start shaving now, and I'm not going to stop her from that.

I feel a little sad this is because of what he said but it's what she wants, and I don't want to make it worse by not letting her. So although I have resolved it with my husband, it may have lasting effects on our daughter. But I'm not sure if there's anything more I can do to change that.

People had a lot to say in response.

United_Ground_9528 wrote:

SHE’S 11 FOR GOD SAKE.

yeahlikewhatever wrote:

This isn't just about your daughter's self-esteem and you were told that in your other post. Your husband said he wants your adolescent child to shave her p*bic area. YOUR HUSBAND wants YOUR YOUNG CHILD to SHAVE HER P*BIC REGION.

This goes beyond "I'm sorry I said something insensitive that might give my daughter some issues with her body image" and dives straight into inappropriate and creepy s*xualizing behavior FROM YOUR HUSBAND AND FATHER OF YOUR CHILD.

nosoupforyou_980 wrote:

At 13, I was craving peanut butter one morning. As I scooped some out with a butter knife, my brother and father stared at me and said ‘you should go easy on that, prom is coming up.’ I was slender, played sorts, was quite active (and I skipped a couple grades). That was the earliest memory I have of how my eating disorder started.

Sorry_I_Guess wrote:

How the hell does the father of an 11-year-old even KNOW the state of her pubic region? Why is he seeing his pre-teen daughter naked.

(Edit: It seems that they are in Finland and he saw her in the sauna. This doesn't change my overall opinion. If anything, it's even more horrifying that in a culture where nudity is normalized and no big deal, he is s*xualizing his young daughter's body and commenting that her genitals should be more aesthetically pleasing to others.)

And yes, most importantly, why TF does he have an opinion on her keeping her g*nital area "aesthetically pleasing". WHO ELSE does he think is going to f#$king see it?

Other than her female friends at the occasional sleepover or in a locker room at the pool or school, who the hell does he think is going to be looking at his 11-year-old daughter's g*nitals, and why does he think they have to be shaved so she looks younger than her age?

As a victim of CSA, this sets off so many alarm bells for me. I'm not saying that he's ab*sing her, but there is absolutely no good reason why the father of a preteen girl should even be interested in her pubic grooming or thinking about it at all. None.

BellEsima wrote:

You should edit your post to include that your husband wants your 11 year old daughter to shave her pubic area too. You cannot undo the fact that your husband is s*xualizing her. It is no one's business about grooming of her private areas. Your husband is a pig and you cannot fix that. Keep your eyes open and don't allow him to spend alone time with her.

If he isn't ass*ulting her already, he is probably thinking of it. It really is messed up for a dad to make comments on his daughter's p*bic hair.

Never ceases to amaze me at what some people allow their children to put up with.

Hopefully, OP listens to commenters and doesn't let comments like this slide by.

Sources: Reddit
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