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Parental Guidance’s Justin Coulson on the women in his life

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When I was 19, I spent two years in Adelaide on Mormon mission. There was no dating, just committed religious service. When I returned, I wanted to find someone I could marry.

I decided I’d date women just a few times to see if there was potential for marriage. Over five months, I dated a lot of girls, platonically. I’m embarrassed to say I created a spreadsheet and scored on values, compatibility and magnetism. I later added a fourth column – that a woman had to make me want to be exceptional. My wife, Kylie, scored 10. We’ve been married for 25 years and I am sickeningly in love with her.

Kylie has supported me as we moved up and down the east coast for my career, initially as a radio announcer, followed by 8½ years’ psychology study while we both worked part-time, then another 10 years while I established a business.

Kylie’s an incredible mum to our daughters Chanel, 23, Abbie, 20, Ella, 19, Annie, 15, Lilli, 13, and Emilie, nine, and has allowed me to follow my passion, and to provide for my family and make a difference in the world. The sacrifices she has made are incredible. Kylie is eye-wateringly extraordinary.

From a mental health perspective, I’m terribly concerned at how unkind the world we’ve built is to girls. Social media, in particular, significantly contribute to mental health challenges. The difficulty young women face in terms of comparison and competition and being enough is substantial. I fear terribly that too many girls are being mistreated due to the norm perpetuated by an over-pornographied world.

I want my daughters to find someone who loves them as much as I love my wife. I want the standards of men they marry to be very high. I want them to be treated in only the very best ways by good men who are kind and compassionate.

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It’s a delight to raise daughters who know their value and who make decisions based on that. To see them flourish by making solid choices, is a thrill as a dad.

Dr Justin Coulson co-hosts Parental Guidance on Channel 9 from June 5.

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