From the very moment their daughters are placed in their arms, fathers are forever changed. During the baby stage, the more a dad holds his infant daughter, the more trust, care and love she feels. During the teen years, if dads focus on their daughters’ varied interests and intellect, she will learn that her mind is just as valued as her body and will be better able to accept herself.
While every father has a unique way of advising and helping his children—depending on the type of career he has chosen, as well as his family of origin—the fact is that girls who grow up with very engaged dads tend to make better relationship choices, delay having sex, and feel more confident about themselves and their bodies. This article offers suggestions for dads to help their daughters consistently feel loved and valued.
What a father tells a daughter is never forgotten or erased in her life. So, if he tells her positive things about herself, she will use those words to build herself when she is feeling overwhelmed. And if he criticizes her or blames her for her shortcomings, she will take over that role of insult and continue doing it to herself and her children for future generations to come.
What matters most for a daughter’s well being is that her father lives with honesty and integrity. He must be able to admit to his own weaknesses, so she can have a positive and realistic example of who and what being a man means. A dad becomes an essential mentor to his daughter for future relationships with men.
Spend time with your daughter. Forget about quality versus quantity. That is a concept created to feel less guilty about not being around. Work hard to be engaged in your daughter’s life.
Sharing a hobby, interest or sport with your daughter shows her that you value her interests and you find her fun to be around.
Teach her about boys and stress the importance of fulfilling her own dreams—instead of his dreams. Show her how to fix a flat tire, so she doesn’t need to be afraid and dependent on a boy to help her. Model for her how a man should treat a lady. You can practice this behavior on her mom.
Consistently stress education. Praise your daughter for studying and being involved in school-related activities. Instead of commenting on women’s bodies, highlight a woman’s many interests and intellect.
Share your family history with your daughter, so that she knows where she comes from and feels grounded in her family. This will make her less desperate to start a family of her own.
It is extremely important for girls to be strong within themselves. Let your daughter know that she can become anything she sets her mind to. Be part of her team. Make sure that she knows you are always 100 percent behind her--no matter what.
Teach her about the value of money. Show her how to open a bank account, use a credit card and balance her checkbook. Model for her the importance of saving money.
When your daughter has failed, let her know you are still there for her. Reassure her that failure is always preferred over never trying at all. She will need you support and love as she learns from her mistakes.
The important thing to remember is that you are her daddy. Moms are wonderful and they can be many things, but they cannot be dads. A divorce is never a reason to stop being a dad, nor is moving far away or being sent to jail. The minute you hear you are a father, step up to the plate and show your daughter what it means to be a man.
More expert advice about Being a Better Parent
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