When birthdays and Christmas roll around, my wife is much better than I am at getting meaningful gifts for our daughters. Why? Because she’s better informed about their hearts and their dreams than I often am. And she’s so good at translating that information into gifts that reflect an intimate knowledge of each of our daughters. But what a daughter needs from her dad is different.
Daughters need more than just “perfect” birthday and Christmas gifts. Year-round, they want evidence of their dad’s presence and love. Using my knowledge of them, like the knowledge my wife uses to find treasured presents for them, I can give my girls what they need—3 things every daughter needs from her dad.
1. She needs to know her dad sees and knows her.Our daughters notice when we don’t notice them.
Our daughters notice when we don’t notice them. Just being with them (or more accurately, “near them”) isn’t enough. If we are not engaging in eye-to-eye contact and noticing them in the regular and the spectacular moments of life, they will feel increasingly unimportant to you. They’ll feel lost in the background. They notice when we’re not listening. For our daughters, being seen and known is part of being cherished.
2. She needs to know her dad believes in her.
This is more than just telling her you believe in her. We need to put our words into action. We need to show our young girls that we believe enough in their raw talent that we are willing to make sacrifices so they can grow and that we are willing to invest in the tools that’ll make that possible. That is how we show our belief in our daughters. That is the evidence they need to be certain of this.
3. She needs to know her dad accepts her just as she is.
Your daughter isn’t always going to feel lovable and awesome. I have been learning through the years to balance adding fuel to the fires of my daughters’ dreams with reinforcing my unconditional love and acceptance of them just as they are today. If she exasperates me, if she ignores me, if she pushes against my values or rules or hard-earned life wisdom, I reassure her, every day if I can, that I still accept her unconditionally, just as she is.
Earn some points: Are you married? Help your wife’s relationship with your daughter by sharing this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Ways to Build a Strong Mom-Daughter Bond.
Sound off: What do you think is critical for you to show, not just say, to your daughter?
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What’s something special I can do to show you that I love you?”