The song was written about having daughters, and those very challenging times for their fathers when boys start coming around. In our Songfacts interview with Hal Ketchum
, while referencing this song's subject, Ketchum was asked if he was ever tempted to sit with a shotgun on his knee waiting for his daughter's suitors. Ketchum's response was that his favorite line was "I've been to prison and I'm not afraid to go back." It seems to work!