I am the father of a strong willed, in charge, hilarious and beautiful 4-year-old daughter. It is a challenge at times to raise her, but as many agree, parents mold and form the future for their children.
The relationship between a father and a daughter is special, but often times, underdeveloped. Fathers tend to gravitate towards sons but finding ways to connect with your daughter is easy and will change the way a dad sees the world (pure magic). Here are some simple things dads can do to help their daughters learn who they are and whom they want to be.
These are 15 Things Dads Should Do for a Daughter!
1. Let her assist you with any small task that can be work. She’ll grow up to be a woman who feels confident stepping up in the home or workplace, no matter the job. It helps build confidence that she is the “best helper ever!”
2. Share with her, show her and stand up for injustice and the oppressed. Volunteer at a shelter. Serve food to the needy. You will show her a side of compassion that she will search for in a man some day. It is doing what is right.
3. Do not assume or influence what her interests will be because it is what girls like. Let her show you her interests and likes. It may not be a Barbie doll but a remote control car. In fact, my daughter recently began playing with Lego’s and toy cars, in addition to being obsessed with dolls. So like everyone, your daughter will want to explore. I make a point to play rough with her since she is the oldest (baby on the way!). I can even talk her into walking on wet grass, dancing in the rain, fighting bad guys with hidden powers and getting muddy sometimes!
4. Attempt to understand her interests even when you do not. Sit through a My Little Pony (MLP) episode and talk about it. Listen and ask questions about the dilemma over not having a cutie mark.
5. Ask her to show you the skills that she knows well and you do not. Let her teach you new dance moves and how to dance to some music.
6. Tell her that the only person in charge of what happens to her body is her. This also goes to say that the only thing she can control is what she does and the way she reacts.
7. Compliment her and her mother, often. Be creative and truthful with the compliments!
8. Work out schedule conflicts, problems and issues with her mother in front of her (negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!). She will see that women deserve a voice in relationships and will look for someone who will appreciate her voice. It shows her that relationships need to grow.
9. Don’t talk about other women’s bodies in an objectifying or demeaning way. She is listening, and then examining her own. Compliment her on the way she looks now and not the images of beauty advertised to her.
10. Don’t talk about her changing body or interest in sexuality, with disgust. Spreading the feeling of shame is not something to teach.
11. Have inside jokes, games, or secrets just between the two of you. Trust me, she’ll remember them forever. A secret shortcut, secret identity or working to become a hero.
12. Encourage her to do the things that scare her because you’ll always have her back. She can get over her fear of heights at the playground with encouragement. At night, I always go to her room when she wakes up. I always let her know I am here to protect her.
13. She will always be your little girl if you put in the effort to keep it that way. Be honest with her in words and actions and she will do the same.
14. Make her promises and then keep them. The only heartbreak in her life should come from others who do not know how special she is.
15. Talk about women you admire in front of her and she will aspire to be one someday. Start with her mother. If divorced (or not), never talk badly about her mother in front of her. By doing so, she is absorbing this negativity as her own.
*Also important – Don’t argue with her mother in front of her. This will make her feel insecure and scared. Learn to negotiate and find ways to talk about relationship issues, if it may get heated, then away from your daughter.
The time spent with your little girl is not only a vacation from the work and hustle world, biologically it is an investment in future security. Love her with every ounce of your being and she will know a future of peace. Show her what it means to be an honorable man.