Daddy’s Little Girl

15 Jun

When our teenage daughter was just a little girl, a friend of my husband’s, who has older daughters, mentioned that our daughter was beautiful. My husband replied with a simple, “Thank you” not knowing that his life would change forever.

The experienced dad reached out and touched my husband’s arm so he was sure that he was listening. He looked into my husband’s eyes and said, “Make sure you tell her that she is beautiful and that you love her every day or she will find someone else who will.” WOW! From that moment forward, my husband realized how important his presence was to our daughter’s life and the impact it can make.

I don’t have to tell you how media, toys and society impact our daughters because you already know. What I do need to tell you is how important a dad or male role model is in a girl’s life.

Most dads think they have a difficult time relating to their daughters, especially during the tween/teen years. Most likely, it’s because dad didn’t spend the time forming a relationship with his daughter in the years that preceded the tween years. Fortunately, patience, persistence and effort can be used at any stage to begin building a relationship. And the value on your return will be priceless.

Here are some simple ideas to begin building a lifelong bond with your daughter.

Consistency– Be there through all stages and it makes the tween/teen years less difficult.

Un-plug- When you’re talking to your daughter, really talk to her. Turn off your electronic devices and listen to what she has to say.

Be open-minded– Children are always exploring, testing the boundaries, and think they know it all. Keep an open mind to what your daughter is saying and ask questions about her thoughts.

Schedule dates– You make time to have coffee or a drink with other people, why not your daughter. Schedule special times to get together and chat. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.

Write her a note– If you have a hard time talking to your daughter, write her a note. You can even pass a journal back and forth between just the two of you.

Tell her she is beautiful on the inside and out- It doesn’t have to be those exact words. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If she does well on a test, tell her she must have worked very hard to prepare for it. Tell her you like her shoes or hair (even if she is expressing her creativity).

Show her how a man should treat her– Treat the women in your life with respect, love and kindness. Talk to her, in a positive way, about how boys and men should treat women. It is said that women tend to marry men similar to their fathers. What kind of son-in-law do you want?

Because two of our children are young teens, we see a lot of teen age girl behavior. Believe it or not, we can actually tell which girls have a positive and healthy relationship with their dad.

“Make sure you tell her that she is beautiful and that you love her every day or she will find someone else who will.” 

The girls who have little or no interaction with their fathers are the ones who are consistently looking for a male figure to love them. These are the girls who hang all over boys in social situations, call boys constantly or need to have a boyfriend to make them complete. Do you know girls like this?

Ten years have passed since my husband’s relationship with our daughter was changed forever. Although the teen years are challenging to both of them, she has a special bond with my husband and is a confident and caring young woman because of him. She is comfortable in her own skin and some of her best friends are boys who provide her with a boy’s perspective of life and in whom she can confide without adding girl issues. She still hugs her dad and puts her head on his shoulder when they watch TV and he can talk to her about things that I can’t. There is something special about a dad and daughter. She’ll always be his little girl.

Here are some additional resources about dads and daughters.

Joe Kelly, The Dad Man, offers extensive information for dad/daughter relationships from infancy through adulthood.

New York Times Article on how dads influence their daughter’s career path.

CNN Video: This dad realized he was dying and asked 6 of his friends to be the male role models in his daughters’ lives

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