A father’s influence may be the single most important factor in a woman’s development.
Together at the family dinner table, our 10 year-old daughter shivers with a brief comment of being cold. Her dad, like a gallant knight jumps up and gets her a jacket. Touched and a little jealous of his response, I quickly appreciate her glow of pure delight. Her face says it all—worthiness and equality. She gets to be a princess with her dad in loving service to her success rather than controlling her like a ruling king. I admired his ability to equitably set boundaries and demonstrate her equal value as a human being.
A mother’s role has long been acknowledged as a big influence on daughters. As our culture evolves, however, fathers are spending more time with their children and it’s changing the game. Dr. Meg Meeker, author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters believes that a father’s influence may be the single most important factor in a woman’s development, “From the first years of a girl’s life her father is larger than life. She looks up to him, and for the rest of her life she craves his admiration, his respect and his affection.” Meeker believes that reciprocated admiration, respect, and affection in the father-daughter relationship are the key ingredients for a successful woman.
Further, a 2014 study at the University of British Columbia finds that when dad helps with household chores like dishes, laundry, or vacuuming, his daughters are more likely to have higher career aspirations than those of fathers who merely taught gender equality.
Study psychologist Alyssa Croft suggests that actions speak louder than words, “This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be the one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded.”
This season, it’s time Dads know that you are more important than you’ve imagined. Those days of old when fathers left raising daughters to their mothers are gone. Whether you are an intact family or not, your respect and admiration for your daughters is essential to their success!
Three Actions you can take to positively influence your daughter’s success:
- Drop tough, competitive or emotionally distant male/work images when being with your daughter/s and freely express your love and affection to/for them
- Negotiate shared responsibility for domestic chores with your partner/spouse
- Set limits in a firm, matter-of-fact way absent of anger or blame
- Have a regular special time together
Your daughter looks into your eyes to see who she is and what she deserves. As you reflect and express appreciation for her natural worthiness and admiration for her unlimited potential, you plant seeds of self-respect and self-esteem. You are the most important man in her life!
Photo: Getty Images
This essay originally appeared here online.
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