A dad’s rules for dating his 5 daughters: ‘You’ll have to ask them’

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J. Warren Welch, pictured here with wife Natasha, decided to write his own “rules” for dating their daughters, Jade, Ashton, Darcy, Carmen, and Laney. PHOTO/J.WARREN WELCH

By AGENCIES

newsdesk@reporter.co.ke

Writer J. Warren Welch is raising five daughters in his blended family with wife Natasha. Over the years, he has seen and heard all the jokes, T-shirts, and memes about dads polishing shotguns while they wait for dates to pick up their daughters. He just doesn’t think they are funny.

Welch decided to make up his own “rules” for dating his daughters in a social media post. The post has since gone viral on Facebook with over 11,000 shares.

He wrote, “You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy, possessive bada*s in order for them to be treated with respect… You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place.”

Welch, 39, continued: “You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place.”

The Jonesborough, Tennessee, father closed by telling potential suitors, “Good luck, pumpkin.”

The message seemed to resonate with readers as the “rules” went viral, with more than 18,000 people sharing them.

“I understand the urge to protect your daughters,” Welch told TODAY Parents. “I get that. But the kind of posturing by fathers of daughters I was specifically responding to had nothing to do with that ‘protective instinct’ and everything to do with asserting their dominance over women and reinforcing a belief that women need men to take care of them.”

Welch and his wife are raising two 16-year-old daughters, Ashton and Jade, as well as 13-year-old Darcy, 12-year-old Carmen, and 7-year-old Laney, all from previous relationships, in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Welch said he learns from his daughters as much as they learn from him.

FACEBOOK POST/IMAGE/COURTESY

He told ABC News he was inspired to write his rules after overhearing a conversation at work, where he’s the manager of an all-male department in a factory in the Appalachian Region. His coworkers were discussing intimidating men who were coming to date their daughters.

“I understand the mindset. I’m a very protective father,” he said. “But I’m more sensitive because a lot of the messaging has overtures of misogyny in it.”

Welch said although he grew up in a very “conservative household” where women were “submissive,” he’s really trying to ensure his daughters become the best women they can be.

“It’s trying to raise them to know who they want to be and to be who they want to be and to do what makes them happy,” he explained. “As a father raising daughters, I have to step back. I don’t get to build this picture of what my daughter’s lives should look like.”

The response to Welch’s post has been “overwhelmingly positive,” he said, which he takes as a hopeful sign indicating “a change in attitudes towards women in our culture.”

“I’m going to be real honest here: I’ve never actually been nominated for a ‘Father of the Year award,’ contrary to what several coffee cups in my cupboard would lead you to believe,” said Welch.

“That is exactly why I know that my daughters don’t need my help making important decisions about their relationships. These girls are my heroes!” he said. “I was a feminist long before I had daughters, but it wasn’t until I was blessed with the task of raising young women that I realized why: these girls are amazing humans, and I can take no credit for that other than the fact that I at least knew that the best thing I could do for them is not try to ‘mold’ them.”

The response to Welch’s post has been “overwhelmingly positive,” he said, which he takes as a hopeful sign indicating “a change in attitudes towards women in our culture.”

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