If you’re on social media, chances are you’ve seen at least one viral post about the rules a dad has in place for any boys who want to date his daughters. There’s usually something in there about meeting a curfew, a line or two about respect, and sometimes a picture of the dad cleaning out a gun.
Most of the time, these rule posts are well-intended, but still fall into the realm of overbearing, overprotective, and at least slightly misogynistic. Sick of seeing similar posts, one feminist father recently wrote his own “rules for dating my daughters” post—and since he first posted the list on Sunday, it’s gone viral.
J. Warren Welch is a writer who is raising six daughters with his wife, including two 16-year-olds, one 13-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a 7-year-old. After spending a good long time raising his girls, he’s realized they’re perfectly capable of knowing what they want and speaking up for themselves—which is exactly the message he conveyed in his “rules” post:
“I know that my daughters don’t need my help making important decisions about their relationships. These girls are my heroes!” he told Today.
Welch also recommended that fathers don’t tell their daughters to seek their permission when dating someone, since “doing so will only instill in them a belief that they need a man’s stamp of approval before they can make a decision.” Instead, he recommended that fathers listen to their daughters.
“On subjects like this, I really feel that hearing is more important than talking,” he said. “I can make bold statements about my daughters because I listen to them, and I know they are bold young women. I really do actively try to encourage that boldness, but I’ve never felt the need to cultivate it.”
Hear, hear! Clearly, the father’s message that he “ain’t raisin’ no princesses” resonated with readers, because his post has since been shared over 18,000 times and collected over 3,000 reactions. Something tells me Welch’s daughters are being raised to be fearless, fierce women—and what else could a dad really want?