Young girls need positive male role models in their lives. When a father shows a genuine interest in his daughter and treats her with respect, he sends the message that all men should treat her in a similar manner. And they should.
Dads want the best for their little girls and connecting with daughters is an opportunity to give the best parts of themselves. Whether you know someone who needs help building his dad/daughter relationship or reconnecting with his teen, here are some tips for dads.
Do you come home after work and immediately turn on the TV or flip on your iPad? Perhaps you don’t get home until after your kids are in bed. Whatever the case, reevaluate your priorities. By getting involved with at least one aspect of your daughter’s life, you will see a change in how connected the two of you are. Coach her soccer team. Have dinner with the family a few times a week. Get to know the dads in her social circle. Making time to get involved is a great first step.
Respect Her Mother
The way you treat your daughter’s mother (and your own mother) will speak volumes to your little girl about how men treat women and what she should expect in the future. A good rule of thumb is to always treat your wife the way you want your daughter’s future husband to treat her. You may not realize it, but she is watching you for cues on how to behave with men.
Spend One-on-One Time Together
Daddy/daughter dates are one of the best things you can do to connect with your daughter. Plan ahead, but be sure to include her in the process. If you make this special time a weekly or monthly occurrence, you will fall into a rhythm that makes you more relatable and easier to talk to. Your daughter will likely start confiding in you and letting you into her world.
No matter how old your daughter gets, never stop showing her affection. Hugs may not seem welcome when your teen is giving you the cold shoulder, but studies show that the teenage years are the most formative time for a young girl’s self-esteem. She needs those hugs.
Tune in to the Details
Girls have a lot going on in their lives and parents are sometimes clueless to the details. Do you know who her close friends are? What books she is reading? What TV shows and celebrities she is interested in? Tuning in to a little of your daughter’s life will make her feel like an important part of your world.
If your daughter talks to you about a problem, check in with her about it again later. Nothing says “I care” more than interested follow up on previous discussions. Follow up lets her know that you were listening to her and will make her more likely to confide in you in the future.
Whether your daughter is young and you are working to lay a foundation for the future or she is a teenager (or older) and you want to repair a distant relationship, connect with her today and you will both enjoy the benefits of a strong relationship for years to come.
Beth N. Davis is a freelance writer. She and her husband are raising four children (including three daughters).
Plan a date with your darling daughter! Read Great Dates for Dads and Daughters for ideas.
Published June 2016