4 Things I Wish My Dad Did for Me as a Pre-Teen

4 Things I Wish My Dad Did for Me as a Pre-Teen

Things I Wish My Dad Did for Me as a Pre-Teen

As we grow older and reflect on our childhood, many of us realize there were moments and lessons we wish our fathers had shared with us. As fathers ourselves, we have the opportunity to bridge that gap for our children. Here are four things I wish my dad did for me as a pre-teen, and how we can incorporate these lessons into our own parenting. This is especially relevant for millennial, Gen Z, and Gen X fathers who want to make a positive impact on their kids’ lives.

1. The Sex Talk

One of the most significant and often awkward conversations that fathers can have with their pre-teen sons is the sex talk. My dad never had this conversation with me, and it left me to navigate this important aspect of life on my own, surfing the web and looking at dirty magazines friends stole from their dad's collection.

Why It Matters:

  • Education and Safety: Providing accurate information helps prevent misconceptions and promotes safe practices.
  • Trust and Openness: Having this conversation builds trust and opens the door for future discussions on sensitive topics.

How to Do It:

  • Choose the Right Time: Find a quiet, private moment when you both have time to talk.
  • Be Honest and Open: Use age-appropriate language and be straightforward about the facts.
  • Encourage Questions: Let your child ask questions and answer them honestly without judgment.

2. Teach Me to Be Confident in One Thing

Confidence is a critical trait that affects all areas of life. I wish my dad had helped me identify and cultivate a specific skill or interest that I could be confident in. My mom was the one who was always suggesting the different activities and hobbies I be in. The one exception being little league football.

Why It Matters:

  • Self-Esteem: Being confident in one area can boost overall self-esteem.
  • Resilience: It helps children cope with challenges and failures.

How to Do It:

  • Identify Interests: Pay attention to your child’s interests and strengths.
  • Provide Support: Encourage them to pursue their interests through classes, clubs, or at-home activities.
  • Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge their progress and celebrate their successes, no matter how small.

3. Teach Me How to Date

Navigating the world of dating can be daunting for a pre-teen. I wish my dad had given me guidance on how to approach relationships respectfully and confidently. I only had one "coaching" session from my mother for 7 minutes after she heard me on the phone talking to my friend about a girl I liked.

Why It Matters:

  • Healthy Relationships: Early guidance helps form the foundation for healthy, respectful relationships.
  • Confidence: Knowing how to handle dating situations boosts self-confidence.

How to Do It:

  • Discuss Respect: Teach the importance of respecting others and oneself in a relationship.
  • Role-Playing: Practice scenarios like asking someone out or handling rejection.
  • Set Boundaries: Talk about setting and respecting boundaries within relationships.

4. Teach Me About Social Constructs and Fashion

Understanding social constructs and developing a sense of style can significantly impact a pre-teen’s social interactions and self-image. I wish my dad had taken me clothes shopping and taught me about fashion.

Why It Matters:

  • Self-Expression: Fashion can be a powerful form of self-expression.
  • Social Skills: Understanding social constructs helps navigate social interactions more effectively.

How to Do It:

  • Go Shopping Together: Take your child shopping and let them choose clothes that make them feel confident.
  • Teach the Basics: Explain the basics of fashion, including how to dress for different occasions.
  • Encourage Individuality: Encourage your child to develop their own style and express their personality through their clothing choices.


As fathers, we have the chance to provide our children with the guidance and support that we may have missed out on. By having the sex talk, teaching confidence, guiding them in dating, and helping them understand social constructs and fashion, we can equip our pre-teens with the tools they need to navigate adolescence successfully. Let’s take these lessons to heart and strive to be the dads we wish we had.


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