About a year ago, I took my then four-year-old daughter out on a “daddy/daughter date.” I wanted to have a fun night out with her, but with purpose and intentionality. My plan was to spend some quality time with her, but also to model how she should expect to be treated by others—especially young men. When I came to the door, she was beaming. I brought a flower for her, held doors for her all night, and we engaged in fun conversation. We even got dressed up for the occasion.
I was surprised by my daughter’s reaction to my picking her up for a date and doting on her for the evening. She walked with confidence and has talked about that date night for some time now. I’ve taken a lot from that night and learned a lot since then about ways I can (and should) practically love my daughter. Here are 5 practical ways we should love our daughters.
1. Let her paint your nails.
Our kids desperately want our attention. The best way to love your daughter is to pay attention to her. Get on her level and don’t just talk to her, but participate in what she loves to do. My daughter loves when I brush her hair, so I brush her hair. If she wants to play with her dolls or horses, I will get on the floor and play with her. When you get on your daughter’s level, you communicate her importance and you get a window into her world. This is key to building a great relationship with her.
2. Open the door for her.
It’s sad, but I get the feeling that as girls get older, they accept poor treatment from others because they never experienced or learned how they should be treated. You are the best model for this as a dad. Daughters don’t need to settle for disrespect or abuse from anyone. Many believe chivalry is dead, but you can revive it and bless your daughter by simple actions like opening the door for her, speaking respectfully to her, and fighting for her if and when she’s mistreated.
3. Roll out the red carpet.You want your daughter to remember the great lengths you were willing to go to bless and love her.
I know a father with three girls who loves to take his daughters to get their nails done a few times a year. He loves to spoil his daughters within reason. I believe it’s important we show our daughters we’re willing to sacrifice for them because it conveys that they’re lovely and worth fighting for. Of course, we want to balance this by teaching our daughters to appreciate it. But as a dad, you want your daughter to remember the great lengths you were willing to go to bless and love her.
4. Dance with her.
One night, I tried putting my daughter to bed, but she kept getting up and stalling. I messed up and blew up on her. I’ve noticed this has affected her and the way she interprets my facial expressions from time to time. Much like a partner in dance, pay attention to whether your daughter responds positively or negatively to you and if necessary, repair it. You are the most important man in her life and you have the power to affect the way she sees the world. Be a student of her heart and tenderly care for it.
5. Read her mind.
If you’ve done the four previous pieces of advice, you’re better prepared to read your daughter’s mind. Do you know what your daughter is thinking about herself, others, or her purpose in life? You really don’t have to be a magician to do this. Sometimes, simple conversation and asking questions is all you need to do to uncover what your daughter is thinking. She’ll tell you! As your daughter gets older, prepare her for what she’s going to face—not out of fear, but because you love her and want to see her succeed on her own.
Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Daughter Needs.
Sound off: What have you learned recently about loving your daughter that other dads should know?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do I do that most makes you feel loved?”