I was standing on a ladder, covered in saw and drywall dust, replacing the closet doors in my son’s bedroom. My three-year-old daughter walked in, looked up at me with big eyes, and asked, “What doing, daddy?” All of our daughters have a lot of questions and a lot to learn. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable the questions might get, I’m glad they are still asking. It would be much worse if the questions stopped, as it likely would mean they are looking somewhere else for the answers.
Countless studies speak about the importance of a father’s role in shaping the attitudes and expectations of his daughters and some of the major decisions they will make as they grow up. We fulfill part of that role by answering questions, but we teach them in many other ways as well. Here are 7 things your daughter needs to learn from you.
1. Your daughter needs to learn that she can count on you.
People will make all sorts of promises to your daughter. Some will promise her things they are not capable of fulfilling, while others will have hidden intentions behind their promises. As her dad, you need to keep your promises to her. She needs to be certain you will always be there for her, ready to listen, to fight for her, and, at times, to help her carry heavy things.
2. Your daughter needs you to teach her that perfection is a myth.
Girls used to measure themselves against what they saw from women in shows, on magazine covers, or on billboards. Today they measure themselves against the many filters of social media. Your daughter needs you to show her how the filters on sites like Instagram and TikTok work, and to teach her it’s pointless to compare herself to those heavily edited images. Most of all, she needs you to teach her that her value is found in more than the likes and follows these images can generate.
3. Your daughter needs you to teach her that she is beautiful.
Some will tell your daughters they are beautiful based on a quick look at her. Others will call her beautiful simply to try to get something from her. By being the one without any other agenda who recognizes the beauty of her heart, her talents, and her appearance, you help your daughter define beauty as a quality she already possesses, rather than something she needs to achieve.
4. Your daughter needs you to teach her how to deal with adversity.
Your daughter already knows everyone goes through hard times. She knows this because she’s experienced it in her own life, but she’s also seen the ways you face adversity. When she feels like giving up, she needs to have watched you ask for help so she’s not afraid to do the same. Your daughter needs to hear from you when she’s unsure what to do because she will lean on your example more when doing hard things than she will on anyone else’s.
5. Your daughter needs to learn the importance of dreaming big.
Your daughter has had dreams for her life and for her future. While it’s unlikely she’ll turn into a mermaid or own a flock of unicorns, many of her dreams are worth aiming for. As her father, you need to be willing to listen to her dreams and to encourage her wherever possible. Having your support behind her will give her confidence to try new things without fearing the outcome.
6. Your daughter needs you to teach her how to accept responsibility when she’s wrong.
All of us make poor choices. Your daughter will encounter many people who will be quick to remind her of the times and ways she has messed up. Not only do you need to show her how to own your own failures and mistakes, but you also need to teach her that she is both loved and lovable in those moments. Having the confidence that you really do love her, your daughter will more quickly accept responsibility when she has messed up. She’ll also be more willing to try again the next time.
7. Your daughter needs to learn about healthy relationships from you.
Your daughter is always watching you. This is particularly true of the way you relate to other people. She is paying attention to your marriage, your friendships, and the way you treat your own parents. The great and small acts of love you show others resonate in your daughter’s heart. This is why girls often date men who remind them of their fathers. When you show qualities like honesty, integrity, and care for others, your daughter is more likely to expect the same in her own relationships.
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 are some other things your daughter needs to learn from you?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some things you would like to learn how to do?”