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How to Be a Dad of Daughters
Providing Male Leadership to Your Female Kids
Nothing is more scary to a Dad than a daughter. I know: I have one! When I was growing up I lived in a home with six brothers. The only females in the house were my mother and my dog Princess. It is fair to say that I did not get very much experience around girls in our home! However, when I began to think about getting married, I had one desire when it came to children. I wanted to have a daughter! What was I thinking!?
After two boys, we were blessed with the birth of our daughter. From the very first hour she has had me wrapped around her little finger. As I held her in my arms in the delivery room I realized that my life had changed forever. I had a daughter. As I stood there holding her we looked into each others eyes. In that moment she reached up and tied a string around my heart, and has been tugging on it ever since. Isn't that awesome?
I soon realized that raising a daughter was going to require a little different approach from that of raising my boys. The first time she looked at me and produced those giant crocodile tears from out of thin air I realized I was in trouble! This was going to require some thinking. I put my mind to figuring out how to raise her right. I want to share some of what I learned with you here.
What I Have Learned
- Girls are Not Boys. - Aren't you glad I pointed that out? As simplistic as that sounds, I had to learn it. I am not referring to the biological differences. I am referring to the physiological things that make them different. They think different, feel different, and behave different, regardless of what the social engineers try to tell you.
- Girls require male attention. - I have seen so many young girls in the mall literally hanging all over some young pimple faced punk. I am speaking as a Father and not to be disparaging. I am sure he is a wonderful young pimple faced punk. As I have researched and interviewed many of these young girls I have found something startling. Many of them were lacking the physical attention of their Dads. Either they had no Dad in the home, or the Dad was too busy or felt too awkward to show his daughter the attention she was craving. Girls need this physical contact. Dad's, hug your daughters. Start early and keep it up. Hold their hands, pat their head. They need that. If you don't, that young pimple faced punk will!
- Girls Are Not Breakable. You may be tempted to treat them like china dolls, but girls are not breakable. They enjoy running, playing, jumping and even wrestling like your boys do. Granted, they throw like a girl, but what would you expect? Ha! Seriously, let them get out there and have fun. One of the things that has been the most enjoyable about my daughter is the fact that she can put on her Snow White costume and go outside and play Davy Crockett with her brothers! She is all girl, but that doesn't me she doesn't like to have fun too!
- Girls are emotional. Oh yes. I am going to go there! It's true! Girls are emotional. Little girls are emotional just like big girls. They cry for no reason that is discernible to anyone in the room. They are angry one minute and then hugging you the next. Be patient with them. Your daughter needs your stable influence in her life when she is feeling out of control. Watch your temper. Yelling at her, is not only counter productive, it will also cause her to withdraw from seeking your support. Sometimes my daughter just wants to be held on my lap until she feels better. I don't know why she is upset, and neither does she. She just needs security. I learned to provide it, and I like being the one she comes to when she needs it. I know it will not always be that way.
What is a Dad With Daughters to Do?
- Let them know you are there. They may or may not respond, but you can be sure they will know whether you are there for them or not. You cannot force them, but you can simply let them know that you are there for them if they need it.
- Listen, more than you talk. Girls just like to be listened to. They are not so very different from your wife. There was a day when my wife grabbed my face in both hands and made me look at her. She said "I need you to listen to me with your face!" I had been guilty of the guttural grunting that we men are so good at. You can bet I learned to listen with my face. When you daughter comes to speak to you, put aside whatever you are doing and listen to her "with you face." This say to her, "You are important to me."
- Teach them to respect themselves. OK Dad's, let's face it. As you daughter grows, her body is going to start changing. That little girl is going to look more like a young woman. You are just going to have to get over it. Down inside that young woman's body is that little girl you used to put your arm around. She still needs you. Talk to her about how important she is. Let her know that she is valuable: too valuable to allow some boy to treat her like a cheap pair of shoes. Teach her to have high personal standards. If you have done your job of making her feel secure in your love, she won't feel the need to lower her standards for the first hormones raging boy who stares at her and tells her how beautiful she is. She will have been hearing that from you all her life.
- Encourage them to embrace their femininity. They are female! That is awesome! Teach them to embrace it. There is nothing wrong with being female. They don't have to be a boy, want to be a boy, or act like a boy to be accepted and excel in this world. Teach them that being feminine is not only acceptable to you, but preferable. I may get blasted for saying this, but so be it.
Dads, what have I missed? What advice would you give? I would love to hear from you. Are you the daughter of a really great Dad? How did he make you feel special? What advice would you have for Dad's of daughters today?
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