(This post was written by Heidi)
Week 3 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series
(See Raising Boys Series here)
A father holds a special place in a daughter’s heart. ‘A girl’s sense of self worth and personal dignity are directly linked to what she believes her father thinks of her’ – James Dobson.
There is no figure in a little girl’s life as weighty and influential in her later years, as a father.
As Dr. Meg Meeker says in her book: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, of fathers:
“…we have a popular culture that’s not healthy for girls and young women, and there is only one things that stands between it and your daughter. You.”
10 Life Changing Things A Father Can Do For His Daughter
- Build her self esteem
Focus on her admirable strengths and traits, tell her you love her every day, spend time with her, give her your full attention. Take her out alone, and ask her about her life, her thoughts on issues. Compliment her.“..a daughter’s sense of self-worth and confidence is linked directly to her relationship with her dad. What he thinks about her and how he expresses his affection is a central source of her perceived value as a human being.” Dr James Dobson
- Pray with and for her
If you are religious…pray for your daughter, and tell her you do so. Show her scriptures you read and pray over her, mark them in your bible, share them with her. Develop and pray a prayer over her every morning /evening, something she will remember and cherish. Mark Batterson’s book Praying Circles Around Your Children is a great read.
- Love and honor her Mom
There are so many ways to do this. Open the car door for your daughter and wife, and train brothers to do the same. Don’t argue with her mother, in front of her. Bite your tongue. Leave the heated arguments for private times and places. Teach her how a woman should be treated by a man. Affirm and honor (verbally) her mom. Prioritize your marriage and regular date nights -kids-free – a message that yes, kids are important, but your love for your wife is too. A priority, even!
- Be available.
With uber-loads of patience and gentleness. For late night talks, for early morning cuddles, for dad-daughter dates, for sports events. Be available on your cell 24/7 if she needs to call you.
- Lead her, with clearly defined boundaries
Set a clear message that there are things that can/can’t be done in the home, and reinforce them with gentle, loving firmness. It’s something set for the family as a unit , not set just for her to make her life difficult.
- Validate her.
Tell her she is enough. She is wonderful just as she is. Find out, if you don’t know, who she is, what she loves and enjoys doing, and is good at, and appreciate her fully for who she is. This takes time with her. Remember the old saying “Love is spelt T-I-M-E?”
- Tell her you are proud of her.
Of who she is, and who she is becoming. Know her deeply enough to make your pride in her count.
- Have regular, deep conversations with her.
“Meaningful and affectionate dialogue with a daughter is evidence that she is worthy, secure, and loved.” – James Dobson.
- Romance her!
Find out what her love language is (Read Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages of Children for an interesting read), and then do what she loves most, whether it be little love notes under her pillow, flowers next to her breakfast plate, cycling before breakfast every morning, or thirty minutes of one on one time going for ice creams each week.
- Keep pure.
The type of magazines you subscribe to, the types of movies you hire and the jokes you tell may speak volumes about your view on women. She learns from who you are, not just what you say.
The above tips are sourced from the excellent book by Dr James Dobson – Bringing up Girls and is one of the must-reads if you have a daughter. It takes an in depth look at our culture ‘s messages to our daughters today, what our daughters are exposed to, interviews with young women, statistics on teens and gives us an idea of the impact a father can have on his daughter’s life. (it touches on moms too!)
Last week: Questions In Every Little Girl’s Heart
Next week: 10 Beliefs Every Girl Should Have About Herself