Maintaining a relationship between fathers and daughters can be the key to a young woman’s development. It can also set the tone for the type of relationships she has with men as she enters adulthood. Women who were raised with involved fathers are more confident and self-assured. They have a sense of safety, security, and protection instilled in them.
Ways to Nurture Your Father/Daughter Relationship
1. Be Present
It’s important for fathers to have a presence in their daughter’s life. They are simply showing up means so much to her. It’s important that you attend her parent-teacher conferences, sporting events, band concerts, birthday parties, etc. When fathers don’t show up, it can lead to abandonment issues and low self-esteem.
Let her know that she can talk to you. Listen without passing judgement. Creating a close relationship in which she can confide in you and share things with you will serve her well into adulthood as she starts dating. She will need a good male sounding board who she can trust. Who better than her dad?
3. Teach Her
Girls need to learn from their dads. If you teach her how to change a tire or fix things around the house, she will have more confidence and a sense of independence. This will have an impact on her life over the long term as she knows that she doesn’t need to rely on a man to take care of simple tasks for her. Teach her how to budget her money, invest, or build a business. Teach her how to think critically and make decisions. She will be able to reflect on fond memories of her father teaching her things, and these life lessons will be far more valuable to her than any book she could read.
4. Laugh With Her
Laughter creates a bond. Being able to laugh and be playful with your daughter will make her feel connected to you.
5. Discipline Her
Children need guidance. She will make mistakes. Disciplining her shows that you care about her well-being and that you are concerned about her. When you enforce healthy rules and boundaries, it helps prepare her to be a contributing member of society on her own someday.
The powerful thing about father/daughter relationships is that these relationships can go beyond DNA. I have raised my daughter since she was two years old when her biological father stepped out of her life. She is now twelve, and the bond that we have created goes beyond blood. She knows that I am her dad and that she can count on me to be there no matter what. My hope is that the relationship we have will help to restore her confidence and lessen the feeling of abandonment left by her biological father.
I believe that fathers play such a strong role in our society. They make communities and families stronger. Particularly in communities of color, the role of a father in a daughter’s life is vital. I also believe that “we are the village” and non-biological men can fill the void left by absentee fathers. Having a strong male role model is so important for girls!