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Aug. 10, 2022

How I Raised Emotionally Intelligent Daughters as a Dad & Without Screwing Them Up

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If there is one thing I wish I could give my daughters, it would be the mind map of life’s potholes. I want them to be able to navigate the world a lot better than I did and succeed.
We’re parents. We have an advantage. We’ve been through it all, and we’re almost on our way back. We know how the world works. 
So let’s help our kids do the same. Even if that means having weird or uncomfortable conversations with them. Do it. Don’t let them walk blindly when you have the life map.
In today’s video, I share why I chose to go front and center in telling my kids about topics other parents avoid.

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I'm often asked how was I able to raise little girls into being young ladies. How was I that able to be so influential in their lives and ensuring that they have the tools that they needed? Easy! I just paid attention to what was obvious to me in the world. As an immigrant kid, I feel that being observant, paying attention and making changes quickly is a superpower of all immigrant kids. I personally arrived in this country as a very, very young kid. Didn't know English. None of my family knew English. I was the first one that went off to school and try to figure out the world. I was the first one to really explore this new land. And if you're an immigrant kid, you understand that you have to adapt quickly. If you don't, you're going to get bullied, you're going to get humiliated and it can get ugly. Yes, it can get very, very ugly. And because of that, I feel like I was able to really refine my skills of paying attention, being attentive and making changes to my behavior to make sure to survive and navigate this world. And that's why I feel it's my unfair advantage is what's also allowed me to survive the world as an adult and make changes quickly because I had to figure things out on the fly. You learn to make changes almost immediately. You learn to pay attention to what's working and what's not, and what you need to do to survive. And also, I learned that human behavior is actually very predictable if you just pay attention. Patterns, repeat themselves, behavior wise and relationships and families, culturally arguments we have. They're all the same over and over again. It's just different context. And as it relates back to my daughters, I paid attention to what I was seeing out in the real world with women. What problems were they having? What complaints was I hearing from my sisters', from, my mother's or from the women I was dating? What were they talking about is struggling with. Those things, all of them, were the things that I knew I had to discuss with my daughters. So over the years, I've accumulated this large list of things that I needed to talk about. That I needed to address proactively. I couldn't sit back and pretend or hope that they would somehow figure it out or their mother would take care of it. And I'm sure that their mothers spoke to them about some of these things, but I needed to make sure that I did my part and build those gaps of information. So they didn't depend on anyone. It was my role as their dad to make sure they knew about all these things. From that list. I was able to start looking at what I saw and what I could do to help them. I found out that a lot of things were just things the women didn't know existed in the world. It was just a matter of awareness. if they would have been aware of that probably would have been able to solve it on their own or without having as much trouble. And for me, that's one of the biggest things is being able to give my daughters a map of the world. And on that map, I'm able to show them the potholes that they can look out for. The areas on the map that they should avoid. And ultimately just offer them alternatives or just an awareness that if they have to go down that street, there's going to be a pothole. Plan accordingly. And I know this is a metaphor, but at the same time, I feel like that is life. If we're doing our jobs as parents, and we're giving them the map for them to navigate a little better than we did. We know what's going to happen. We know the issues that are going to come up. So step up and show them. It is a little awkward, but if you have these conversations early on in life, that awkwardness is pretty much disappears because ultimately they don't know what awkward means. They don't know that these subjects should be weird, should be icky. It's our weirdness that creates that awkwardness. As they get older, they will have figured it out that: Oh, we can't talk about sex without feeling weird. We can't talk about periods without feeling weird. We can't talk about rape without it being weird. None of that should be weird by the time they're teenagers. It should have been conversations that you had and therefore are more comfortable with. And as their father, if I presented the story first, it would be the most valuable one. Obviously I didn't present it as if I knew everything about women. I would just share stuff that I was seeing in the world. The key to all this is making sure that you put out the information, you have the conversations early on and get in front of it before they encounter it. When they're 15, 20, 25. One of the biggest conversations that I had, which will be a topic for another video is the idea that one out of four women is molested or raped, sexually assaulted is crazy to me. And on top of that, a large percentage of that is from family members. So we talked about that and letting them know that under no circumstances, should they ever feel that they can't tell me what happens or that if someone touched them inappropriately. Especially if it was their uncle or their grandfather. Knowing that it typically is a family member, I knew I had to let them know that there is no way that that is acceptable and that there is no way I wouldn't believe them. Because we have a trust. Obviously, in this particular conversation, they dismissed it. They're like, of course, Tío and Abuelo would never do that. And I believe that to be true, but I wanted them to hear it from me that if that were ever to happen, that there was no way that we would not address it and find help, and then try to rectify the issue or address the issue with my family. That to me is one of the biggest ones. These are the types of conversations that we had that were weird, that were difficult. You've heard the stories you've seen them, in that particular scenario. Child gets molested by an uncle.

Child can't tell family because:

what will the family think? The uncle relies on the fact that fear and that intimidation and won't be worth it, that they will not do anything. Even if they do tell it's not very uncommon that the family won't do anything and just brush it under the rug. And to me, knowing that this happens so often throughout history, is preposterous. How is that allowed? If I have a family member that pulls something like that, they need help. They need to be locked up. They need to be, stay away from children, especially mine. So therefore it's going to be handled. Now this got weird, right? But this is the toxic conversations that I needed to have with my girls. So if that happens, I know they will talk to me. I know they trust me because I will have talked to them at such an early age. That is not going to be weird. There's not going to be any doubt. Dads! Have the tough conversations, pay attention to what's happening in the world. especially if you're a girl dad, you know that there is a lot of issues regarding women and little girls. Don't let your daughter be a victim of some crap because you didn't address it ahead of time because you were awkward about it. Step up! Step up and be a man, be a dad and let them know that you can be trusted and you're there for them. Especially in those moments when it's just weird and difficult. That's when they need us most. This is how I was able to raise my daughters. And I was able to maintain that trust because they knew I always had their best interests at heart. They were the most important people in my life, and I was going to stand up for them. And if it meant just having weird, awkward conversations and introducing them to the issues of the world that they were probably going to encounter. Then that would be the easy part. And that's how was able to do it. I paid attention to what was going on in the world. I addressed it. I prepared them mentally and emotionally. So that way they're not surprised they have the map. Here you go. This is the best map I can get you. I love you. That was it! Thank you for listening to this podcast. I really appreciate your time and your attention. Feel free to subscribe. Please drop me a review if you're finding any value in these episodes. And until next time buh-bye.