Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thirteen Things For Fathers With Daughters

My oldest daughter, Gwenna, had her sixth birthday last week. As my daughters have grown it has made me think about their future and my responsibilities to them. The problem for me is I understand my sons’ situations but my daughters can sometimes be a mystery. Having never been one, little girls’ lives are new to me.

Fathers generally know their part in raising their boys so they are prepared for life. You wrestle with them. You take them camping and fishing. You have them help you with the car. It is easy because you just show the things you were shown as a boy, but raising girls requires more of a learning curve for fathers. So here are thirteen things I have learned, or advice I have been given, that fathers should do with their daughters.
Gwenna and Xianli at Eklutna Lake
1. Be a Gentleman. Treat your daughters, and your wife, the way you want others to treat them and they won’t settle for less.

2. Take Them With The Boys. Play catch with them. Take them to the game. They shouldn’t feel like there are separate activities they can’t do. The world will try to give them boundaries; don’t give them any to start with.

3. Camp With Them. Camping teaches them to survive on their own. Teach them how to light a fire with one match while it is raining and they will have the confidence to weather the other storms in their lives.

4. Play Dolls With Them. Show them that your love for them is big enough to do what they like. Real men let their daughters practice putting curlers in their hair.

5. Tell Them They Are Beautiful. They are entitled to a healthy body image from their fathers even if the world is full of bad ones. Every father knows their daughters are beautiful; just make sure they know that you do.
Xianli Eating Hand
6. Tell Them They Are Smart And Talented. Show them there is more to them then just their looks. Help them to develop their talents and skills.

7. Teach Them How to Fix Things. Teach them not to be afraid of technology or life. Show them how to solve their own problems whether it’s a flat tire, crazy computer, or broken relationship.

8. Go on Daddy-Daughter Dates. Take them dancing, go to dinner, or just go shopping. Make sure to spend one-on-one time with them. I usually hate shopping, but the most fun I ever had was when my daughter dragged me all over a mall looking for her Mom’s birthday gift. Gwenna’s excitement was contagious even for me. It’s a special memory just between us.

9. Listen, Talk, and Listen Some More. Take the time to really communicate with your daughters. When you talk you learn about them, their needs, and their dreams. Listening shows them you care about them. It will also help them build strong communication skills. Gwenna

10. Don’t Ogle Other Women. Actions speak louder than words. You can’t teach them to respect themselves when you are objectifying others. When they see you drooling over the college cheerleaders on ESPN or reading a “Lad Mag” you will lose credibility.

11. Help Out Around The House. Show them there is no women’s work, only house work. Show them what an equal partner looks like.

12. Kiss Your Wife In Front Of Them. When there are so many unhealthy representations of physical relationships in the media, show them what a healthy one looks like.

13. Love Their Mother. My grandmother use to say the most important thing a father can teach his children is that he loves their mother more than anything, even them.


Lori said...

Great list!!! My Dad has 3 daughters. He didnt know what to do when I had 2 boys. He was so use to raising

Ed said...

Great List. Your family and community are fortunate to have you and thank you so much for sharing your advice,


Scribbit said...

You're a good Dad to them--good list.