You may have just found out you are having a little girl, or you may have a house full of them… whatever the case, any man with a daughter can tell you that it is exciting, stressful, rewarding, and one of the hardest things he has ever endured. Men learn so much about women, and men, by watching their daughters grow, and if those dads want to help those daughters grow into happy, confident, healthy, and productive women, there are some “rules” they need to follow.
Love and respect her mother
You may be married to her mom… or you may be divorced. Whatever the case, you need to love and respect her mom even when you don’t. Your daughter is half of that woman, and will more than likely grow up to be like her in some way. If she feels her mother isn’t loved and respected by her father, then your daughter will wonder if she is loved and respected by you. Don’t make her wonder. Show her that she deserves love and respect, at all times. She will learn what is acceptable as far as how she is treated in a relationship by how you treat her mother- so how do you want her treated?
Be her hero
She will fall and need a band aid one minute, and the next she will need someone to listen to her sob about a broken heart. Be that hero.
Talk to her
Notice this says “to” her and not “at” her. Have a conversation with your daughter. She needs to know that her father thinks she is intelligent and important enough for him to actually take the time to speak to her and listen to her.
Teach her how to change a tire
Better yet, teach her how to service her own car. It needs to be done by someone, so don’t let your little girl learn to depend on a man for things she is capable of doing on her own. This keeps her safe, teaches her an invaluable skill, and build her confidence.
Let her cry
Too often girls are taught that emotions are not acceptable to show to men. Don’t let your daughter think that. If she is upset, let her cry. If she is mad, let her vent. Show her that her emotions are valid.
Indulge her at times
She wants a puppy… a set of pearls… a new pair of shoes. Every now and then, it is okay to indulge her and show her she is worth it. Plus, it shows you trust her with the responsibility of taking care of a pet or expensive items.
Just like it is okay to indulge her, it is also important for her to hear “no.” But don’t just say “no.” Explain your reason to her so that she understands your answer. Hearing “no” never killed a child, and it can build character.
Teach her how to budget
Girls tend to have a harder time tan boys when it comes to money matters, and mostly because men were the traditional bread-winners and handled the finances. That isn’t true anymore, so teach your daughter how to handle money early on.
Tell her she’s beautiful
Don’t let the fashion industry or some teenage boy teach your daughter she is beautiful. She needs to know it well before these other influences come in, and you are the perfect person to make sure she knows.
Tell her she’s smart
She needs to know that beauty isn’t everything and that her brains are just as important as her face. She needs to know that she is as good as any boy.
Teach her new things, and teach her about things you love
Sports, camping, cars, music… it doesn’t matter! Let her love these things with you. She needs to know that her dad loves her company enough to share these things with her… and you will teach her a few things in the process.
Realize, RIGHT NOW, that memories are better than gifts
Many men shower their baby girls with gifts… and then leave out memories. She won’t remember all the things you bought her, but she will remember the time you took her to see a movie, or the time you went to the beach. Make memories with your daughter that she will cherish forever.