5 Things Every Dad Must Do For His Daughter
Let’s face it Dad, YOU are the most important male role model your daughter will ever have. Every other male in her life will be measured by the yardstick you create. As a father of two daughters myself, I know this can be a scary proposition.
So it’s up to us to make sure we are being a positive influence in our girls’ lives. Not to minimize the role of Mom–their role is certainly just as important. But Dads, we have a unique responsibility to help our daughters mature into the confident, productive, and lovely women God has planned for them to be.
I just finished reading a free ebook called “5 Things Every Kid Must Get From Dad.” It was written by the good people at Fathers.com, the same people who promote the WatchDOGS program in many of our area schools. It’s an easy read with lots of good thoughts for dads regarding their relationships with both daughters and sons. If you’d like to download it for yourself, simply click HERE. And just so you know, I plan on posting the 5 things every dad must do for his son too—we can’t leave the boys out!
So, in my own words, here are 5 pieces of advice the book gives us Dads regarding daughters:
1) She needs you to give her words of comfort.
Dad, all our precious angels are going to screw up eventually and those times will provide us with teaching moments. But not the ones we usually assume. There will be a time and a place for lectures, but this is not it.
Instead, this is the time to teach our girls there is nothing they will do that will make us stop loving them. Her mistake is the perfect opportunity to teach grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sure there will be consequences for her actions but she will learn more from those consequences if she knows you are on her side.
2) She Needs to Know You Think She Is Beautiful, Inside and Out.
The image your daughter forms of herself during her growing years will influence every aspect of her life—her grades, her choice for a husband, her career path, even her health. So if you want her to develop a healthy self-image and succeed at life, you’ve got to let her know you believe in her.
One crucial area she will need your help in is body image. Give her affirmation that her perceived imperfections don’t make her inferior, they make her unique. Above all never criticize her body shape or physical appearance but rather encourage her to live a healthy lifestyle.
And even more important is to verbally appreciate her sense of humor, compassion, giftedness, intelligence, courage, and personality. She needs the first important man in her life to value her for who she is instead how she looks.
3) She Needs You to Cast a Positive Vision Without Placing Expectations.
Your daughter needs to be confident enough to shoot for the stars but secure enough to know you’ll be proud of her even if she only reaches the moon. Help her find and excel at the things she is good at and enjoys doing. Even better—participate in those activities with her.
But beware of placing unreasonable expectations on her. Nothing will kill her confidence faster than believing she is a failure because she didn’t come in first, didn’t make an “A”, or didn’t live up to your example.
And think about this, one benefit of building her confidence is that once she recognizes the potential in herself, she won’t have to find a Mr. Right to feel complete. Instead she’ll be able to spot the young man who appreciates the rare person God made her to be and who values the qualities you helped develop.
4) She Needs You to Protect Her, and Not Just Physically.
The world is a scary place. There are a lot of forces out there that want to destroy your little girl. Be on the lookout for influences that lead to a destructive lifestyle or world-views that don’t match what you know to be Godly. They can take the form of inappropriate friendships/relationships, authority figures, pop culture, music, or entertainment–anything that opens doors to values contrary to God’s.
And Dad, this is your opportunity to shine. Not necessarily by fighting her battles for her but instead by helping her build her own defenses even before these influences begin to creep near. Teach her to be an independent thinker and to prove all things for herself. Instruct her how to handle situations involving strangers, peer pressure, and authority.
You won’t always be around. But the lessons you provide will remain with her for a lifetime.
5) She Needs You to Walk the Fine Line.
There are a lot of shades of gray in this world. She is going to be looking to you to help figure out where she should draw her own personal lines.
To do this she needs your input on issues like sex, drugs, alcohol, modesty, materialism, and placing herself in undesirable situations. Help her develop the skills of discernment and of making wise choices in life.
And of course as a father, you are going to need to set some limits for her until she strikes out on her own. Eventually this will lead to discipline—something she will desperately need. But remember discipline should be used as a tool to teach, not a weapon to belittle. It’s not about your image as a father. It’s about helping her identify her own boundaries.
Can you think of other things dads MUST do for their daughters? It would especially be awesome to hear from those who have grown daughters—any pointers you can share from having been there, done that?
Live The Mission,