Dads and Daughters

February 6, 2023

The father-daughter relationship is very important. It shapes her life in a powerful way. It shapes the way she will view men and the way she sees herself. It is the first relationship she has with the opposite sex, which means it is a most significant relationship. It also shapes her view of her heavenly Father.

This is so weighty that I believe a man cannot fully fulfill it apart from having a vibrate relationship with Jesus Christ. That means I need to develop my relationship with Jesus in order to have the greatest opportunity to be what my daughter wants and needs.

A father needs to paint or cast a big vision for his daughter, or a boy will come by with one that is more adventurous and exciting and capture her heart. You will wonder why he has more influence than you and why she would rather be with him than you.

According to studies, a father's influence on the life of his daughter has a significant impact on her psychological development. Confidence, clarity, stronger self-esteem, and a deeper knowledge of who they are and what they want, are all traits of those girls who have a healthy relationship with their fathers.

During the college years, these daughters are more likely than poorly fathered women to turn to their boyfriends for emotional comfort and support, and they are less likely to be “talked into” having sex. Then, as a consequence of having made wiser decisions in regard to sex and dating, these daughters generally have more satisfying, more long-lasting marriages. Believe it or not, the studies show that in these areas fathers generally have more impact than mothers do.

Well-fathered daughters are less likely to become clinically depressed or to develop eating disorders. They are also less dissatisfied with their appearance and their body weight. They are more likely to have skills and attitudes that lead to more fulfilling relationships with men.

There is so much more research into the topic of the effect dads have, yet both sons and daughters generally say they feel closer to their mothers and find it easier to talk to her, especially about anything personal. The evidence also shows that daughters tend to withhold more personal information than sons do from their fathers, are more uncomfortable arguing with their dads, and take longer to get over these disagreements than when they argue with their moms. Most daughters also wish their fathers had talked with them more about sex and relationships.

So, what can we do about it, dads?

The best thing the father can give his daughter is his time. One of the most important things a father can do is simply show that he is willing to be around. He should make the effort to attend special events at his daughter’s school, cheer for her at her games, support her hobbies, engage her in conversation, and take an interest in all areas of her life. This will build her self-esteem and let her know that she is worthwhile.

Model a respectful attitude toward women. No sexist jokes or speaking disrespectfully about women. He knows his daughter’s self-image will suffer if he does so. He shows with words and actions that women are of equal value to men. The loving way a father treats his daughter, and her mother, shows that she is deserving of respectful behavior from the men in her life.

Believe in her goals and inspire her to reach them. Girls look to both parents for guidance and support, so fathers must make the effort to inspire their daughters whenever possible, give her whatever support you have available, and let her know you are her number-one fan.

Do things together; take her on special trips and outings. Do healthy activities together that she enjoys. “Date” her. Doing simple things with her with regularity will strengthen the bond, help her know how to relate to men, and build her confidence in who she is.

Be consistently loving but firm; ask for forgiveness when you mess up. Have consistent, fair guidelines, but explain and hold the line with love. Whenever you mess up – and you will – ask for forgiveness and make it up to her as best you can. Learn from your mistakes.

Show her that men can be comfortable without being macho. It is healthy to show your gentle side once in a while. Perhaps allow your young daughter to play and paint your nails or go to a movie that she REALLY wants to see even though it is not your style. Be comfortable showing affection through kind words and gestures. She needs to see that men can behave in a balanced way.

Remind her regularly that she is beautiful inside and out. Don’t get stuck on her appearance, although she needs to hear that you think she’s beautiful. But you don’t want her to rely on her looks to carry her through life. You don’t want her to allow herself to think her value is based on being the “prettiest.” There will always be someone she thinks is better. Make sure she knows you think she IS beautiful, but her inside is much more so. Compliment her on her skills, her character, her kindness, her intellect, her work ethic – everything you see in her that is good, even in baby form, tell her how much you value it.

We can do it, dads! We just must intentionally prioritize the time and effort to do so.