When we were first married, we knew we wanted to have kids. We also knew it was likely those kids would want to go to college and that we would not be able to afford it. At that time, someone introduced us to the concept of a financial plan that allows you to give a small amount each month that adds up over time with interest to become far more than you could provide on your own otherwise. Hidden in this plan is a method for how to improve the father daughter relationship, believe it or not.
The concept of consistent incremental investment transfers well to parenting. When you’re learning how to improve the father daughter relationship, it’s easy to think the answer lies in big things: the trips we take, the way we throw birthday parties, whether we get her a car at 16. But it’s far more important to think about incremental investing. What are you doing daily to invest in the relationship? Here are 3 gifts to offer your daughter daily that will pay off big time in the long run.You can make a real difference in how your daughter sees herself.
1. A Word of Encouragement
It won’t surprise you to hear that while the numbers vary, any study you look up on the type of words we are exposed to daily shows a disproportionately large number of negative words compared to positive ones. Your daughter is daily exposed to an onslaught of negativity. These voices tell her she isn’t smart enough, pretty enough, popular enough.
While you can’t change that entirely, you can be someone who intentionally looks to offer a word of encouragement each day. It’s important that these words are substantive, not just fluff. Can you take the time to notice one thing each day that you can encourage your daughter about? Perhaps it’s her work ethic or how she helped someone else. Maybe you think your daughter is hilarious or really thoughtful. Whatever it is, choose to call it out. She may roll her eyes, but in reality, you can make a real difference in how your daughter sees herself—and this can be a key step in how to improve the father daughter relationship.
2. A Question
As dads, we tell our daughters a lot of things each day: Wash the dishes. Clean your room. Do your homework. But how many questions do we ask? Questions are important because they communicate that we want to hear from her. Instruction simply demands obedience, but a question invites dialogue and connection.
If you’re like me, it’s easy to default to “So how was your day?” This isn’t a bad question. It’s certainly better than not asking her anything. But it doesn’t take any thought on your behalf. What if, instead, you asked her questions like these: “Did anything make you laugh today? What was your favorite part of today? What was the hardest part of your day?” Not only do these questions foster connection, they teach reflection and give you a window into the experiences she’s having when you’re not around.
3. Your Attention
Probably the most valuable and challenging thing you can give your daughter is your attention. There are literally thousands of things vying for your attention each day, several at any given moment. But if you’re curious how to improve the father daughter relationship, it starts with your attention. In fact, you can’t offer the first two gifts if you aren’t offering this one.
What is your daughter doing right now? What do you notice about her? Is she happy? Is she sad? Perhaps she’s distracted. What might that observation lead you to do? Is there a question you could ask her? Is there a word of encouragement you could offer? Your attention is the rarest of all the gifts you have to offer, and yet it’s also one of the most important. Be generous with your attention toward your daughter today. It might be what she needs at this moment.
Sound off: What advice would you give to a dad who’s trying to learn how to improve the father daughter relationship?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What gifts can you offer to someone each day?”