As I handed my young daughter the package, her face lit up like a Christmas tree. She tore open the wrapping paper and gasped as she saw the flowers. She asked “Are you sure that these are for me?” When I answered “you bet,” she threw her arms around my neck and gave me a great big squeeze, as she whispered the words “thank you, Daddy.”
One of the best pieces of parenting advice for daughters I have ever received was to make sure I buy her flowers. If she receives flowers first from her father, then any other guy who buys her flowers will be measured against me. But there are other things a daughter needs to get from her dad before she gets them from someone else. If I don’t set the standard in these areas, she may go looking for meaning, fulfillment, and love in all the wrong places. Here are 4 things a daughter needs from her dad before she gets them from someone else.
1. Sincere Compliments
The moment she was born, it’s likely you were amazed by your daughter. This may be because you were captivated by her beauty. It might also be her many other qualities and abilities. As the man who loved her first and who loves her most, your compliments matter to your daughter. When a dad praises his daughter, it speaks to her heart. When you, as her father, tell your daughter what you find lovely about her, it comes with no strings attached, just as it should from any man, especially the one she marries. If you miss this opportunity, someone else with ulterior motives might begin to shower her with compliments, and she may more easily settle for a guy who’s only using her.When a dad praises his daughter, it speaks to her heart.
2. Healthy, Appropriate, Affectionate Touch
Whether it was a bad dream or some sort of hurt, being held by her dad was the safest place for your daughter to be. As she’s grown older, it’s less likely she’ll come running to you in any of those circumstances. Even though it may seem a little more awkward, your daughter still needs healthy, appropriate, affectionate touch. If you don’t, and she finds herself starving for physical affection, she may turn to a guy who doesn’t love her to fill that need.
3. The Chance to Share an Adventure
At times, dads might easily see the need to take our sons on adventures but forget that daughters yearn for adventures, too. You need to look for opportunities to invite your daughters to come out with you, to take a risk, and enjoy your shared experience. Not only do these moments together offer her the opportunity to spend time and make memories with you, it may also help quell her need to find her own adventure by sneaking out behind your back.
4. A Safe Place to Share Her Heart
Many dads experience a strained relationship with their daughters as they grow up. But this isn’t because your daughter doesn’t need you anymore. It could be argued that a teenage girl needs a close relationship with her dad even more than a young girl does. She needs to know that despite everything else that is changing in her and around her, you are steady and can be counted on. She needs you to listen to her dreams and to her experience of heartbreak. If she doesn’t find in you a safe place to share her heart, she may be willing to give it away to the first person who listens to her (whether he deserves it or not).
Sound off: What else does a daughter need from her dad?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?”