In our social media-driven age, and especially amidst the #MetToo movement, raising daughters can be terrifying — particularly for dads. From issues regarding body positivity and self-confidence to learning about boundaries and consent, there is a lot of ground to cover.
Of course, this is a struggle for all parents, regardless of the gender of their offspring. But two famous Jewish dads recently opened up about their own struggles with raising daughters — and how they’re ensuring they’ll grow up independent and confident.
Take film director Judd Apatow, who has two daughters. Back when This is 40 came out — six (!) years ago — he revealed that he and his wife, actress Leslie Mann, had a family computer in their kitchen and no Wi-Fi in the house.
But, of course, now that Maude is 20 and Iris is 15 — and technology continues to make inroads in all aspects of modern life — that no longer works.
So what does Apatow do when it comes to teens and technology now? They talk. A lot. He told Today:
At some point, you need them to want to have an ongoing conversation with you about their habits. But the truth is, they’re looking at whatever they want to look at. If you’ve raised a solid, healthy child, they’ll learn how to navigate all of it. But it’s still terrifying. It’s scary. But my kids are doing great — so far, so good.
He added that it’s “a never-ending conversation,” especially considering the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, going on to say that, especially as a father of girls, he wants to figure out how to help women:
There’s this gigantic power imbalance that’s at the root of these problems. If there were more women in power, a lot of it would go away. Right now it’s important to try to figure out how to change that.
And he’s not the only A-lister grappling with this. David Schwimmer, Friends actor and co-producer of PSAs called “That’s Harassment,” has a lot of feelings about teaching personal space and making sure his daughter is self-confident.
Like Apatow, he says he makes sure to have a continuous conversation with his daughter, 6-year-old Cleo. He also told Today how talking really helps:
With my daughter, it’s more about just knowing it’s your body and your space. It’s more about personal space and building confidence in her to speak out and speak up if anything she encounters makes her feel uncomfortable, period. Her body, her hair, it’s hers. She owns it. It’s giving her the courage and confidence to speak up and speak out.
There should be, in my view, no shame about her body and about being in her body and understanding how her body works.
Recently, Schwimmer revealed how Cleo was bullied by a group of boys — which proved another moment to have a valuable conversation about personal space:
She just told me last night that at school on Friday, some boys behind her, some older boys, were kind of touching and kicking her back a little. She turned around and gave them a look. I said, ‘Next time, Cleo, you need to turn around and firmly but politely say to please stop touching me. If you do that twice and they keep on touching you, you stand up, walk away and find a grownup, period.’ It’s important to instill that kind of confidence from an early age.
Gentlemen, keep up the great work!
— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) January 29, 2018