I am blessed to have two daughters. Ever since my eldest was born, she has clung to me. What they say about a daddy’s girl is true. A beautiful relationship blossoms. When she was smaller, I spent quiet time with her during late night and early morning feedings. We watched movies together. I was her designated driver during nap time. When she started going to daycare, we would stop at Starbucks each morning for a muffin. We had inside jokes and experiences specific to our daddy/daughter routine.
But after a while, I realized my unique bond with her unintentionally had harmed her bond with her mother. First-time moms, especially of daughters, need support during the transition from an internal union to an external relationship. As fathers, we must home in on this. It feels good to be the hero in your daughter’s eyes, but as a leader in the lives of the women we love, we have a responsibility to foster a relationship between our daughters and their mothers. Here are 4 ways to help your daughter bond with her mom.
1. Become a photographer.
Take pictures of your daughter with her mom. Do not let your significant other do all the photography. Otherwise, you end up with tons of pics of you and your daughter only. These images tell a story, whether it is true or not. In history, it will show that she is a daddy’s girl.
Take the lead and offer to take pictures. Set up a photography appointment. Take them on an outing just for the photos. Capture the memories yourself and be sure to comment and “like” them if your daughter’s mom posts them on social media.
2. Discipline together.
When a daughter begins to test you, a dad can crumble. If you do not understand firm love, then your daughter’s mom will become the sole disciplinarian. This will damage the relationship because you will be the hero and Mommy will be the villain. Kids pick up on “good” and “evil” very early, so do not allow this to happen. Your daughter’s mom will be a more fundamental rule maker, so follow her lead. Become the disciplinarian so she can step in as the hero for once. You must show that any disrespect toward her mother is unacceptable. Trust me, being firm is not being cruel. Daddy’s girl will survive—as long as you can resist her puppy dog eyes and crocodile tears.
3. Talk up her mom.
Your daughter needs to see that her mother is special. When she hears positive things about her mom from the person she loves most, it has more meaning. Even if you are divorced, never talk badly about her mother. A girl’s relationship with her mom is essential and a father can help them bond by reminding his daughter that her mother loves her more than anyone. There is no one else who would sacrifice her own life to bring your daughter into existence. Share positive and loving stories about her mom, rather than negative ones, and never insult or embarrass her mom in public. Your daughter will start seeing her mom as an enemy rather than as an ally.
4. Support mother/daughter traditions.
Daddies and daughters have dates, mothers and daughters have traditions. Sometimes, you have to encourage your daughter or her mom to start one. If her mom loves to sew, for example, help establish a day of the week for them to sew together. Pick something new to sew for someone in need or a loved one. Try to keep it between her and her mom so personal memories form.
Sound off: What can you do to improve your daughter’s relationship with her mom?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What do you enjoy doing with your mom?”