How Dads Can Raise Kicking Daughters

'Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter When She's Growing Up So Fast' by Joe Kelly

Three girls doing karate kicks on posts outside
Photo Kriffster|CC

Help your little girl develop into a confident and competent young woman by building a relationship with her built on solid communication.

Fathers have a profound influence on how daughters view themselves. By helping her feel good about herself, you’re establishing a life-long path toward her success as a woman.

Raising girls is a challenging, yet immensely rewarding part of fatherhood, as you guide “Daddy’s Little Girl” into womanhood.
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Tips for Dads Raising Girls

  • Model respect. A girl looks to her father as a model in the way he interacts with her mother. Your interactions with women will shape your daughter’s expectations of how men should treat her later in life.
  • Spend time together. Be there for performances, games, dinners, and down time. Your influence is immeasurable. Say once a month, “What would you like to do together, just us, this weekend?” If she loves sports, get involved, but if she doesn’t, you can still encourage her to be active by jumping rope, playing Frisbee, or just taking a walk together.
  • Show an interest in her life. Participate and do things together, even when they are ordinary things.
  • Express affection. Find ways to let your daughter know you like her and love her. A simple hug helps establish a deeper connection.
  • Praise her for what she does, not how she looks. Replace many of your “You look pretty” comments with others such as, “I love the artwork you did for the art show,” or “That’s neat to wear knee socks with shorts.” Telling her the inner qualities you value – how hard she works, how resourceful she is, how clever she was at solving a problem – will help her feel better about herself and establish a stronger father-daughter bond with you.
  • Listen To Girls. Assume there is more to what you are hearing than what you hear, and ask follow-up questions to achieve deeper understanding.
  • Establish rules and limits that you and your spouse/partner adhere to in a similar fashion. Respect the mother-daughter bond, and focus on building your own relationship with your little girl.
  • Research Girls. You may already consider yourself an expert on woman, but as your daughter matures, educate yourself about hair, complexion, make-up, posture, clothing, weight, appearance, fingernails, toenails, mood swings, menstruation, cramps, body hair, shaving, dating, sex, and sexuality.

Understanding the nuances of gender and development can help deepen your connection with her…..just use this information wisely, and avoid directly communicating that you “understand” her.

Patience and subtly are the real keys to a strong father-daughter bond!

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