Young girls need strong male role models in their lives. When a father shows a genuine interest in his daughter and treats her with respect, he sends her the message that all men should treat her in a similar manner. And they should.
Dads want the best for their little girls and when they connect with their darling daughter, they are gifted with the opportunity to give their girl the best parts of themselves. Whether you know a dad who needs a hand up building his relationship with a little lady or are a father working to reconnect with his teenager, here are a few quick tips for dad.
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, now is the time to re-evaluate 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 other dads in her social circle. Making the 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 know it, but she is watching you for cues on how to behave with men.
Carve Out One-on-One Time
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. This is when she will 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 teenager 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 today have a lot going on and parents can sometimes be clueless to the details of their daughters’ lives. 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 the little details of your daughter’s life will make her feel like an important part of your world.
If your daughter comes to talk to you about a problem, check in with her about it after the fact. 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 are looking 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 writes from Silver Spring, MD where she and her husband are raising their four children (including three young daughters).