respect for authority

Earning Respect from Your Daughter

I have 17 and 13-year-old daughters. Currently, my mission critical is cultivating respect for authority in their hearts. Yet respect and authority are two different things entirely. Authority is defined as the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. As their dad, I have that God-given authority to do those things and I do not abdicate that role for anything. However, that does not mean they will respect my orders, decisions, and enforcements. Respect is a key element in successful living.

Billy Graham weighed in on the importance of this once by saying, “A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” [Tweet This] Lack of respect in this world is another topic for another day, but I don’t want my children contributing to the problem. The trick to this as I see it is not to command their respect because that’s just another form of authority—but to earn it. So with that, here are some thoughts on earning the respect of your daughters.

Properly Loving her Mother

Earning respect from your daughter starts right here. Everything she’s ever going to think about you or relationships later in life is likely going to stem from how you treated her mother. Don’t let the arguments and female things between them fool you. Daughters are fiercely loyal to their mom. If you’re divorced, this all still applies as your daughter will be watching with hawk’s eyes to see how you proceed.

Gentle and Kind Nature

As dads, when we get loud with anger it weakens our daughters trust in us. It may cause them to fear us. The beautiful gift that daughters are to a man is that they have the power to bring out the gentle and kind nature that resides in us. From experience, I can assure you that yelling and harsh words at a teenager daughter never nets anything but tears.

Security and Time

Most men are naturally protective of their daughters. But providing true security goes far beyond the corny jokes about shotguns and chasing boys off. We must put in the time, both one-on-one and whole family time. In short, our presence is greatly required. This means much sacrifice on our part. If you want to know a big secret this is the category in which you either win or lose the entire thing most times. When you see that dad whose wife and family adore him and hold him dear, you’ll see a guy who gave them everything he had and took little for himself.

Fair Discipline

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” – Jim Rohn. We know as parents that applying discipline to our children is vital. When it comes to respect for authority, it’s the fairness in how that discipline is given that makes all the difference. I’ve tried from their earliest ages to set the stage so they get to the point that they basically discipline themselves without me saying a word.

Walk the Talk

If we want our daughters to respect us, we have to embody all the qualities and characteristics we are preaching. We have to set the example by practicing integrity in all we do. This does not mean we aren’t going to stumble because we surely will and do. The greatest teachable moments in life, for both parent and child, come from our reactions to adversity and mistakes. That is where great men are born or the foundations begin to crumble. Who do you want to be?

Sound Off

How have you earned respect from your daughter?

  • ImTrying

    I have 3 daughters. all under 6. I want their respect and love so much, but with my oldest she does whatever her mom does. And when her mother is upset at me (for the smallest of things) my oldest sees it, and will act the same towards me. I have to beg steal and borrow to give her a kiss good night (my daughter). All while my wife more times than not stands behind me saying “lets go I want to get her to bed.” The first bullet is great! “treat her mother properly” and I couldn’t agree more. And I don’t always treat her mother great. I raise my voice a lot. I have a hard time controlling my anger when her mothers is constantly on me about anything under the sun. And I know that is no excuse. But this has been going on for about 5 years now. I can honestly count on one hand maybe both hands (and that’s a stretch) how many times my wife said nicely to my oldest “give your Dad a kiss good night honey.” less than 10 times in a half decade. So what are my options? I do not believe nor will I consider divorce. We have gone to counseling and I have brought up to her we need to go again (she refuses). I seek my own counseling, I have mentioned separating, I thought that would wake her up but I just got accused of cheating because I brought it up. And I’m afraid she really wants to separate or even file for divorce. And I do not want that for my girls. My parents split when I was 8, and I don’t want that for my daughters. But at the same time, I feel that I need to respect myself and love myself. We go to church…but every message we hear, she finds a way to point it right at me like “yep, see what you need to work on.” I’m trying to hang in there, I’m trying

    • MT

      ImTrying – Great job sharing and reaching out. Some people are turned off by the term “counseling” but are open to a more casual “mentoring” relationship. May I suggest finding time to spend with an older/experienced couple you both respect or, perhaps, working with your church pastor to find a couple. Casual time together discussing a myriad of marriage topics can work wonders to get couples on the same page. Best wishes.

    • Alice Lai

      So amazing for you to share! I’m actually a daughter myself, and I know I would be devastated if my parents divorce. I will pray for you; God wants more than anything for you as a couple to rely on Him. I’ve seen extremely loving couples who go to God together with their problems, and read the Bible together. I really recommend you do this, because we were made to love God and love others. That’s our whole purpose of life and when we don’t realize that, nothing in our life is worth anything. God made our lives to flourish this way. Pray together with your family for you are also the spiritual leader chosen by God of the family! God’s heart is with your family.

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