How you treat your daughter now impacts her life and relationships. There are things every guy can do to show more love.
“Daddy, she’s prettier than me.” Those words ran through my mind like hot lava. I became physically sick when my little girl told me this. In fact, I realized, I had failed her as her daddy.
You see, up to the point when I first heard those words, I believed it to be my wife’s job to do all this girly, mushy stuff. Boy was I wrong. I am more responsible for telling her she is the most beautiful creation on this planet, not just because of her external beauty, but, because of her intelligence, her kindness, and her caring spirit.
How can we, as men, love our daughters “better”? What can we do to ensure we raise our daughters to become strong, confident, women?
Here are some ways I have experienced success loving my beautiful daughter:
1. Tell Her You Love Her…Often: Your little girl needs to know what real love looks like. If not, and believe me on this, she will find out the wrong way. As men, many of us find it awkward enough to tell our family we love them, now we are supposed to tell our daughters? I have never had a problem telling her I loved her; it was a matter of showing her love in the way she received it. This can be challenging, especially if your daughter has approached the pre-teen or teen years.
2. Show Her You Love Her…Even More Often: “How”, you ask? Take her on a date. Cook a special dinner at home, light candles on the table, get all dressed up, and have a meal and talk to each other. Find out what interests your little girl. Let her know she absolutely, without a doubt, can always depend on you.
3. Dance with Her: Yes, you can dance with your little girl. Learn to dance, if you lack the skills. We have a Valentine’s Day tradition that developed out of frustration with area restaurants when they were packed during this day of the year. My wife and I began preparing a candle-lit meal at home, having some music playing in the background, and having a “mini-dance” in the family room. Exchanging reasons we are thankful for and love each other open up discussion and communication as well.
4. Take Her on a Date: What kind of guy would you want your daughter to marry? Believe it or not, the way you treat her mom, your mom, and other women, will set an expectation in her mind, a standard if you will. When you date her, her standards will not be set by society or media.
When you take her on a date, make it special. Buy her something nice to wear, hold the doors open for her, and be on your very best behavior. Pretend your behavior is setting the bar for what she will expect in her “real dates” when she gets older, because it is.
5. Learn to Listen: She will have some bad days. Some creep will hurt her feelings, some of her friends will make her feel bad, and she will have some really bad days at school. Learn to listen. Listen to what she says and what she does not say. Sometimes, she doesn’t want us to solve all the problems, she just wants a shoulder to cry on, and an open ear.
6. Tell Her She is Beautiful: All this mushiness can drive you crazy, right? Well, it is her world. This is her brain. Tell your daughter she is beautiful. Tell her when she gets ready to go to school, tell her daily. Let her know she is the most amazing part of your life. Basically, put her on a pedestal.
I write this from a couple of perspectives. From my professional perspective, I see little girls, teenage girls, and women, who have been abused and messed up by men who abandoned the family. I have seen, first hand, however, what a healthy family looks like. Love your little girls, men. Fight to protect their innocence, teach them to dream. You can find out more about family and parenting at www.jadavisauthor.com.
Photo: Flickr/ Marines