father daughter relationship

7 Things a Daughter Needs from Her Father

When my daughter was younger and feeling down or insecure she would crawl into my lap. Then she would nestle her head in my chest. I would wrap my arms around her. Then I would tell her I loved her and she would always let out a deep relaxing exhale. It’s as if all those things that were weighing on her left her shoulders. It still happens, but now that she has gotten bigger she more cuddles up next to me, but when I tell her I love her she still lets out the same calming breath.

As a girl grows up, men will come in and out of her life, but the one man who will always be there is her father. The father-daughter relationship plays a vital role in his girl’s journey to adulthood. Below are 7 things a daughter needs from her dad. Our printable version is below. Also, be sure to check out the 7 Things a Son Needs from His Dad.

1. She needs you to be involved.

A daughter needs her father to be actively interested in her life. “Actively interested” does not refer to the second-long conversation that sometimes happens between a father and daughter when he asks how her day went and she replies with one word. A father should participate in his daughter’s hobbies and activities by displaying interest. For example, if she is interested in collecting coins, take her to coin shows. Use the Internet to learn about rare coins and talk about them. Is your daughter talented in the any sports, such as volleyball? Whether she wants to play or just enjoys watching the games, become an enthusiastic fan and supporter! Show your daughter that you are interested in her life by learning more about it and trying to become a part of it.

2. She needs you to demonstrate a healthy marriage.

The first relationship a daughter experiences is the one between her mother and father. If her father disrespects his wife with physical or emotional abuse, a daughter might come to believe that is the expected relationship with a husband. However, a father that displays physical affection, respect, and a true partnership with his wife provides an incredible example that his daughter will want to mirror in her own life.

3. She needs you to support her.

Even though a father may not always agree with his daughter, she needs to know you will support her. When a father fully and wholeheartedly supports his daughter, she will develop strong self-esteem and a positive self-image. This doesn’t mean that you always have to agree with her, but show her that while you might not agree with a choice she is making, you will always believe in her as a person and have confidence in her abilities.

4.  She needs to trust you as a confidante.

When your daughter does come to you and discusses personal issues and problems, she needs to know that you will treat them with respect and confidence. They shouldn’t become dinner-table conversation with the rest of the family.

When your daughter discusses personal issues or problems, treat them with respect and confidence. Click To Tweet

5. She needs your unconditional love.

Just as our Father in Heaven demonstrates unconditional love, fathers on earth need to display this as well. Unconditional love requires that a daughter knows no matter how badly she messes up, her father will be there, not to ridicule and demean but to forgive.

6. She needs a strong spiritual leader.

A father should be the spiritual head of a household and should take charge of his children’s religious education. Pray with your daughter! Don’t be shy about bringing the Lord into your conversations with her.

7. She needs a positive role model.

Many daughters today lack a positive male role model in their life. A father is the first man in a girl’s life that she will intimately know. Her father sets the standard for all other men in her life, and a positive role model will help her choose a good husband in the future. Take a moment for some self-reflection. Are there any habits you need to break? Are there some areas of your own life that could use a “spiritual overhaul” and prayer? When your daughter sees that you are willing to examine your own life and make changes when necessary, you provide the best example she could ever have of accepting responsibility for her actions.

Sound Off

What do you think daughters need most from their fathers?

  • Stefano

    I want to share my experience on point #2.

    My wife and I have been married since 1990, and we raised our four kids together, within our happy, loving marriage. The children (3f+1m) turn out to be now slightly scared of relationships, because they are afraid they won’t be able to reproduce such a blatantly successful, happy relationship full of love, cuddling and caring like the one their parents share. You never know how it will work out when you’re a parent – whichever way you lean, you may be sure something will turn out wrong (no, I’m not complaining, I thank God for the gift of my wonderful, amazing wife and my wonderful, amazing marriage; but well- you know what I mean)

  • basseur

    “A father should be the spiritual head of a household and should take charge of his children’s religious education. Pray with your daughter! Don’t be shy about bringing the Lord into your conversations with her.” – Why would anyone bring any made up being into a conversation to prove a point? Just stupid!

    • Karen Angelico

      I’m curious what have you used as your guiding light in raising your daughters. Please share.

      I guess this is stupid, too, in your opinion.

      • basseur

        I am using common sense. I don’t need to say “but that is what the Lord wants” or anything to prove a point. Believe in god if you will. This is perfectly fine and I don’t think this is wrong at all. But I don’t like it, when people try to force their beliefs on others. No matter if it is some random person or your own child.

        • Karen Angelico

          Out of curiosity, I wonder if your parents were or were not believers in Christ. If they were believers and followers of Christ, did they share with you or with hold from you God’s free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. I realize that this is a very personal questions and so, I want to say thank in advance of your reply.

          • basseur

            I was raised in a christian family, baptised and confirmed. I was not withheld from religion and we used to pray as children when we went to bed. We did not go to church on a regular basis. I am a strong believer in science and do not believe in creationism. I am currently doing my PhD in chemistry if you must know. I am calling myself an agnostic. The bible is – in my eyes – nothing more than a collection of stories from people throughout history who wrote down stories and legends and laws (like in the books of Moses) from their time. It is a work of fiction and a historical book. It is not a book anyone should proclaim law for themselves as it does contradict itself in too many passages. People always cherry-pick the things that fit their beliefs the best. This is basically okay. But I hate it, if they try to force these “laws” on others. “Thou shalt not kill”, but “eye for an eye”, etc. I do believe in Jesus as a historical person. But not a son of god. He called himself that and many believed him, because it was easy. But just because someone wrote it down in a book and people kept talking about it for hundreds of years makes it any more true.

          • Jim Hawkins

            Im not going to force any belief on you, I cant. But as you claim to be a strong believer in Science I have to conclude you mean “scientific method”. So I would challenge you to really examine your beliefs with personal evidence in a genuine search for truth. I agree with you that “just because someone wrote it down in a book and people kept talking about it for hundreds of years” doesn’t make it true – and would say the same for dogmatic Darwinism. You say you’re agnostic so are you saying there may or may not be a God – you just don’t know and are waiting for evidence? You make some broad claims: evolution is true, bible is fiction and contradicts itself. There are consequences for beliefs, and Im not going to regurgitate Pascal’s Wager to you but rather say that if no God, morality is rather malleable and you really cant say anything is right or wrong. just perhaps better or worse based upon survival of species or adaptation to environment – by that standard Hilter did nothing wrong except loose the war (or at least we wont know until the hindsight of history shows us if we as a species better or worse due to that part of our history – but certainly there is no value to individual human life). You say you hate it when people force laws on others – but that is done every day by every nation, tribe, people throughout history. You yourself suggest some are “good” and others “bad”. Where does that come from? So are you willing to examine the beliefs you hold from a weighed evidence point of view?

            Much of the fossil record on which much weight is placed is now being found to be fraudulent or not what originally what the discoverer claimed (because the science didn’t exist at the time of discovery). Piltdown man – fraud, Nebraska Man – single tooth now determined to come from pig, Neanderthal Man – now believed to be homo sapiens with deformity from disease (source: Upgrading Neanderthal Man, Time Magazine), Anchiornis huxleyi (feathered Dino) – now considered a fraud (Feathers for T-rex, Natl Geo).

            There are several Scientist that have attempted to create life in the lab to explain origin of life. Some have made some interesting breakthroughs but fall short of Proving Darwinian evolution as a possibility, rather they confirm that complex life required an intelligence and creativity to create it (true experiment cannot replace design for design – has to replace design with chance). That observable data that we do have demonstrates (to date) that there have been no observed “by chance” spontaneous emergence of life on our planet and we have found no life on any other extraterrestrial body either. The intellectual difficulty is often leapt over with “the vast powers of randomness” or “Brute laws of nature” but none of the experiments to date do anything to support Darwin’s claims. We can hypothesize that life exists but with no observable subject it is merely a hope / desire. Believing that we will find it eventually is an exercise in a level of blind faith more intellectually difficult than what the Bible asks for.

            Darwinian evolution creates a similar hurdle. Much hyperbole is used when talking about Evolution as fact, but show one example of a leap from one species to another. Darwinian Evolution insists that life began from a chemical accident and over time life started dividing into various species, etc. Yes, evidence can be provided to show adaptation within a species (various types of finches as example) but where is the record of these observable leaps (bacteria to fish, Fish to mammal, reptile to mammal, etc)? And why are we not seeing new ones emerge? But ultimately have you examined all the evidence personally? Held it in your hand? Or are you basing your belief on faith of some book you read that people have been talking about for years? What Facts do you really know about evolution? Does the concept even correspond to observable reality on anything more than a superficial level?

            The contradictions in the Bible you cite, what are they? Specifically? Are they sufficient to dismiss the claims of Christ? You acknowledge Jesus as a real person that existed. The Gospel is the testimony of those that were there – and there is more archeological evidence to substantiate the historicity of the Gospels as documents of those events than any other record of the ancient world. So if Jesus existed and the testimony of Jesus’ claim, death and resurrection is a historical document from those that witnessed the events, the question should be why did so many who claimed to be eye witnesses of the death and resurrection go to a martyrs death? Liars don’t typically do that.

            What are you placing your faith in?

          • basseur

            You can not go and take parts of my sentences and proclaim them to be all I said. I did not say, the bible is fiction. Parts of it are, others are not. There is a lot of history in it that has been found true by historians through other historical evidence. Also you claim, I said evolition is true. I did not even say I believe in evolution! You put a lot of emphasis on Darwinism. I never said, science is 100% right about that one.
            But I am saying, that earth was not created in seven days and that lifeforms were miraculously placed on earth. Also: When I say “science” I mean proven facts that can checked via experiments. I am not talking about theories, that were/are being established without real proof, but because of evidence, that may or may not be faulty.
            Also you say “if no god, morality is rather malleable and you really cant say anything is right or wrong”. I believe that this has nothing to do with a god but rather with what is going on around you – the way people act and feel and live in you regional surroundings. What you consider ethical and good manners may be found offensive in another part of the world and vice versa. But in their respective domains it will be found right and okay. For example: eating a cow is probably the most normal thing in our parts of the world (I assume). But kill a cow in india, people around you may get very mad. In some parts of asia it is considered good manners to eat noisily and slurp your soup right out of the bowl. Do that in the USA and people will look at you funny. For US americans it may be totally fine to kill a person for capital crimes. In Europe most people frown upon the idea… and the list goes on. What is right for you may be wrong for others. Or are you saying, only god decides what is right or wrong? Why should he make different rules for different people? Or are all, who do not believe in YOUR god, heathens?

            To make this short: I do not disapprove of being religious or believing in a god (or many). But I do disapprove of those idiots that walk around telling others how to live their lifes, citing bible verses to prove they are right, because a different bible verse may just controvert their arguments.
            All I wanted to say in the first place was: Be there for your kids, be their guiding light. Tell and teach them what is considered right by your standards or the standards of those around you and your family (e.g. your community), teach them ethics and morale. Those are – of course – different from continent to continent, country to country and even city to city. Your children see you as a role model and will trust you in what you say. But – you do not need the bible or god for that. I think you are a lot stronger, if you tell your kids: This is what *I* think is right, rather than, this is what an old book told me.

            By the way: Your should think hard about your last paragraph. Do you believe everything people from that time said, because it says so in the bible? Because those same people thought, earth is a disc and sun revolves around it. Everything, that could not be explained would be attributed to some miracle. And a LOT could not be explained back then (lightning? earthquakes? most diseases?) I am curious: What do you think would the people have said about David Copperfield, if he had done his magic tricks and then said, he was sent from god?
            Also, do you believe stories a friend tells you, who heard them from a relative, who heard it his wife, who got it from her co-worker, who in turn learned of it by overhearing someone talking on the subway? Because this is, how a lot of the stories in the bible were created. Unless, of course, you beliefe, a scholar was around every corner, who wrote it down right away, in that second. Analphabetism was not a big deal back then anyway, right?

            I do not want to tell you, what you should believe in. But I think you should not let it cloud your judgement. Use your brains. Certainly I do not have it all figured out and a lot of the things I say may even be stupid. They are my beliefs and I am not trying to force them upon you. But believing in god does not mean, believe everything, that is in the bible (koran/torah/etc.). It does not have to be true, becaus it is in a book. There may well be a god or even several and maybe he/they even control(s) what we do (by interacting with the physical entities maybe, that hold together out atoms? who knows!). But don’t blindly believe humans, that wrote a book about it. You heart is what matters. That is all I am saying.

          • Jim Hawkins

            Apologize for any inference I made from your statement and thank you for replying in a thoughtful way. I recognize your point was not to defend evolution, etc but that a person didn’t need belief in God to know right from wrong, etc. and that raising a child to “believe in a made up being” (and the rest of the advice in point 6) to be “just stupid”. My only objective here is that you make a truth claim and in doing so dismiss the opposing world view as a product of irrationalism and clouded blind belief.

            I wonder though if you reject creationism and evolution (though I’ll confess I don’t know how you stand on that as your statement seems a dodge. Is it just Darwinian or all forms? I used the term Darwinian but I’ll just say all forms) how do you think things got here? Are you saying you just don’t know? I believe in science too, and I believe there is evidence to find. But “science” cant get anywhere without asking questions and even then there is much we cannot measure, much less replicate and test. Without “proven facts that can be tested” how can you make a judgment either way? Using your heart? How do you measure that? I ask, not to stir anger and play gotcha. But because the answers have consequence and I believe your answer to me trivializes complexity and suggests one cannot rationally come to a belief in God (by this I don’t mean a possibility of a divine entity but specifically the God of the Bible).

            I agree with you that the heart is important and I agree with your observation that people tend to define right and wrong from what they feel, local norms of behavior, desire to belong, etc and do what they deem fit. But without a Moral Law Giver it doesn’t really matter what you, or I, or the cannibal in Micronesia believes is right or wrong. There is no Objective right or wrong. So one should not claim “that’s not right” when the cannibal eats their family. Objective morality is only important if there is a moral law giver. To the point of the article, if right and wrong is purely a notion an individual decides upon, what real value do we offer our children? If you are right then what you have to say may be as incorrect as Ptolemy and your children are as equally right in choosing to live life as you do as they are in choosing any lifestyle they can get away with. But I AM saying that God makes rules – not different for different people but for all people. I wouldn’t say you are a heathen, you are free to choose.

            I am using my brain and I don’t see my judgment clouded. I don’t have all the answers either, and there are frankly some troubling parts of the Bible that I have to relegate to faith. But I don’t see rejection of something you cant explain as any more satisfying or saying “I believe in science” as any more rational an explanation for the questions of meaning, existence, and life. I don’t believe something is true simply because it is in a book (nor do I believe that all books / ideas are equal). I acknowledge that how we extract meaning from experience is ultimately a matter of choice but we are not free of the consequence of the choice. If you believe as I that there is a creator and moral law-giver then you certainly would want others to be spared the consequence of not believing but also to enjoy the benefit of believing in the here and now – especially your children. How would you respond to a parent that would not tell their child to “not touch the stove” because the child needed to learn for themselves (simplistic analogy but it serves the purpose).

            Where did you come to your understanding of how the Bible was created? Personal experience? I’m not saying that to take a cheap shot. But I would argue that the people of biblical events were not so simple as you paint them –the Bible doesn’t make an argument for geocentricity (this theory started with the Greek scientists of the day – and only enters into Church Dogmatism in the medieval period) or offer a claim that Lightning, earthquakes, etc were anything other than natural events – albeit at times used by God. Dismissing the testimony in the Gospels as the equivalent of a game of telephone and resurrection of Christ as parlor tricks doesn’t equate to an honest examination of the historical evidence. No I would not place my trust in the testimony of a single sixth hand account. But that’s not what the gospel account is built on.

            I look at the claims, judge the testimony / proof, look at the correlation with the physical world in which I live. At the end of it I will also say I do not have all the answers as to the genesis account. But, after studying the complexity in the observable world, knowing that there is much science has not / cannot answer, for me it is far more rational to believe in a divine creator than not. Which leads to the question of if.

            If there is a creator what is the nature of the creator, why were we created, and what does the creator want? I believe the bible answers those questions in a holistic way. That the gospel record of Christ is historically sound (much more solid than the trivializing approach you used) provides a starting point for investigation. If his claims were true then it begs a response. You’re free to choose certainly and so are my kids. I want them to know what I believe and why (as a rational choice) – and I don’t see that as forcing my beliefs, I think you protest too much. As if anybody could force a belief.

            I take interest because there is a truth claim you make, just like mine. Im not calling you stupid. I reckon you’re an intelligent person but I think at its heart your world view is not as based in Fact as you would like to claim and to some degree requires a type of faith. It is as you’ve said, your decision.

  • Miguel Sandoval

    My wife and I have been married for 16 yrs now. We have had more than our share of ups & downs with absent grandparents, job loss & recovery. Both of our parents never pushed faith into our lives. Although after having 2 children (4yrs & 6yrs old) we both always believed in doing the right thing always-isn’t that being Christian? We were both intelligent enough to not drink or do drugs or running into trouble with the law. Today we raise our children to be honest & respectful of others. However, we also teach them to not let others take advantage of them & defend themselves when necessary, especially in today’s world. My wife & I do not always see eye to eye on some topics however, we do not undermine each other either when it comes to our children. We also try to teach them about God & Jesus and the meaning of celebrating Christmas every year. Parents today are under a lot more pressure than when my wife & I were raised both financially & socially.

Subscribe to the Play of the Day for daily advice, videos and updates on how to be better dad.

Huddle up with your daughter tonight and say: “What is the #1 thing you need from me?  Why?”

Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What is your favorite father/daughter activity?”

APD Tallhassee FKE
Florida Prepaid
foster and adoption