I love giving compliments to my daughter. I think it’s a “dad thing” to be captivated by our girls’ beauty. This begins at the moment you realize “it’s a girl” and it grows alongside her as she becomes a woman. I also think it’s a dad thing to worry about our daughters.
Knowing my girls are growing up in a culture that values a woman’s appearance above all else, I want to make sure they know I see more than just their outer beauty. In each of my girls, I see gifts, talents, passions, kindnesses, and so much more. Here are a few of the ways I want to offer compliments to my daughters (in addition to telling them they are beautiful).
“I love watching you ________.”
Some days, my house feels like a carnival. Everywhere I turn, something is happening, something needs my attention, and something needs to be fixed. In the midst of the craziness, I can miss little things my daughters do, like getting a drink for a younger sibling, immersing herself in a game, or trying something new. One of the simplest compliments to my daughters is to tell them “I love watching you” do whatever she does on an ordinary day.
“I am proud of you.”
When I look back on my life, there are moments when my first attempt at a new skill or activity was an absolute failure. There are other moments when I’ve made a poor choice and setting things right took a lot from me. When our girls are in these positions, pushing through weaknesses and insecurities, one of the most important compliments we can offer is “I am proud of you.”
“You are important.”
There’s an old story told about a child who asks her dad how much money he makes per hour. The father says, “About $60.” The daughter asked if she could borrow $40 and when her father asked why, she told him: “I only have $20, and would like you to spend an hour playing with me.” One of the most powerful compliments to my daughter is spoken not in words but in time. I let my daughter know she is valuable when I make time to read to her, play with her, and take her out on dates.
“I respect you.”
A lot of teenage girls worry that their parents don’t respect them. This seems to be a result of the natural tension between a teen girl who wants to grow up too quickly and a parent who tries to protect her. One of the virtues I want my daughters to develop is self-respect, and so a simple compliment to my daughter is to tell her I respect her. I do this by seeking her input on decisions that will impact her future or by hearing her out when she disagrees with a parenting decision. I also can give her the freedom to fail without saying “I told you so” afterward.
“I love you.”One thing our daughters absolutely should be 100 percent certain of is our love for them.
One thing our daughters absolutely should be 100 percent certain of is our love for them. I want my daughters to know my love for them is there when I see them doing well, when I’m proud of them, when I tell them they are important, and when I show them respect. But I also want them to know that I love them when they make poor choices and display bad behavior. One of the most important compliments to my daughter is letting her know she is loved at all times and in all circumstances.
Sound off: What are some other ways to compliment our daughters?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What is the greatest compliment you have ever received?”