Being a parent is difficult. I have three daughters, all of whom I love. Raising them has been one of life’s greatest blessing but, I did not do it alone! I am most thankful that I have had my husband, who is passionately involved in parenting. Through his commitment as a father, I have come to appreciate him more through the years. I wish all dads are like him.
Now that our girls are all grown up, I would like to share 10 things that I have learned from my husband on what all dads of daughters should know.
More than anything, she needs your love.
More than the material things you can give your daughter, the greatest gift you can give her is to make sure she knows you love her. Jim does this daily by expressing to our three daughters how much he loves each one of them. Our daughters have grown to be secure and confident because of their dad’s unconditional love for them.
Show her that you love her mother.
Your daughter will look at how you treat their mother. One of the best things you can do for your daughter is to love her mom well. I think my husband has done a great job in this and I have come to respect him more because of this. He still makes me a priority and we still have our dates once in a while. My daughters have seen this and they know that their dad loves their mother.
Be more involved as she enters teenage life.
When Lizzie, our eldest became a teenager, my husband took more time to talk and listen to her. He became a safe place for her to open up and talk about anything. Teenage years are the most tumultuous times for a girl. These are the times many of the changes in their body appears. It will also be the time for her to experience different emotions. Take extra effort to be there for her.
Teach her that it is not about her.
Self-centeredness will always amount to nothing. Jim made this a point when he reprimanded Joan, my second child, for hoarding all her toys and refusing to share them with her younger sister, Mary, when they were younger. From then on, she has learned to be generous. In our home, we have also given our girls the opportunity to serve, even in the little things.
Dating your daughter will set the bar on how she should be treated by men. Be a gentleman to her, give her flowers, open the door for her, pull the seat for her, and make her feel that she is the most beautiful girl in the world. You can also go on a with her or bring her in your travels and help in her things. That is what Jim did with our three girls when they were young.
Tell her that inner beauty is more important than outer appearance.
Tell her constantly that she is beautiful. But also demonstrate to her that kindness and virtue are more important than physical beauty. Jim constantly reminded our three girls that beauty does not mean you must fit into a size zero or show almost every piece of your skin when you walk into a room
You have an influence on her future partner.
When Mary was younger, she said she wanted to marry Jim. He had to explain to her that he was already married to me. It was really funny. But the lesson is, the kind of man you are today will greatly impact what your daughter will look for in a man she would want to marry in the future. If you are doing it right, your daughter will want to marry someone who is like her daddy.
Celebrate milestones with her.
Be sure to be with her even in the little milestones of her life. Both Jim and I made sure we showed up on events and made an effort to support our daughters in their successes and even in failures. Do not to miss important events in the life of your daughter, whether a concert at the music school, sports or exhibition of her drawings. Appreciate her always, regardless of the outcome.
Learn how to do her hair and nails.
We all know it’s our job as mothers to comb our girls’ hair and do braids and ponytails, but you as a father should also be willing to do them. Jim, though at first was reluctant, showed our girls that a man can be gentle. When our youngest came, he was already an expert in braiding hairs and painting nails.
There is a big possibility that you would not be able to do all these things for your daughter. My husband, no matter how amazing he is, fails at all of these sometimes. He is not perfect. But the good things is, he knows how to say sorry. Model being a dad who gets down on her level and admits that you don’t have it all together. She’ll forgive you for that.
All of our girls are all married now and have their own families. Seeing them raise their own children has made Jim and I both excited and joyful. Still, our being parents to them remain. It’s just that it is at a different level and degree than before.
So there you have it. I hope this list will help you become a better father and see more the great privilege of raising and parenting a daughter.
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