Today, we can see a cultural and gender shift in parenting than generations ago. Dads are taking on more active roles and are more involved in taking care of the kids. When it comes to child development, just like mothers, fathers' engagement has an enormous impact on children too.
A positive father figure is an important influence in the lives of daughters. Being the first male figure and role model, dads are setting standards for daughters to learn and understand expectations from boys and men. How women develop self-worth and self-love are strongly rooted in their experience with fathers. Daughters with a healthy father-daughter relationship are more confident, self-assured, less aggressive, and most importantly, have better and positive relationships with men.
Here are five ways to be a great father to your daughter.
#1 Make Time and Be Involved
Fathers can be busy with work, but don't forget to make time and be involved in your daughter's life. Take an interest in her hobbies and the things she likes. You can share and talk about her passion and ideas. It is also important to make time for her school events or activities. Your involvement and engagement allow daughters to feel valued, and in turn, become more confident and self-assured.
#2 Be a Good Listener
Building a safe and trusting relationship is important for daughters. You can build your relationship by being a good listener and allow them to express and confide in you freely. Acknowledge and listen to their feelings and experiences without criticising and judging their actions. This may be challenging for fathers, but it will help build a strong and positive emotional connection with your daughters.
#3 Mind Your Language
Be mindful in how you praise and comment on your daughter's outlook and character. With the rise of social media, young girls often get influenced by external pressures like weight, fashion, material possessions and fame. But, with your encouragement and validation, your daughter will learn to have self-assurance and love herself just the way she is. Praise her values (kindness, courage, independence) instead of her beauty and intelligence. With a supportive dad, she knows she does not need to seek approval from the external world to be worthy and acceptable.
#4 Unconditional Love
Every young girl wants to be loved unconditionally. When she messes up, fail and make mistakes, it is important to be kind and empathetic. Guide her to learn from challenges and help her grow as a person. Do not shame and judge her. Instead, encourage her to problem solve and to be independent. And more importantly, tell her you still love her despite her mistakes and failures.
#5 Be the Man You Want Your Daughter to Marry
Father is the first male figure a daughter will meet and trust. The way you talk and treat other women serve as a basis in how your daughter view men in her life. You play a very important role in showing her what and how a gentleman is. One of the most impactful observations of men is the one she witnessed in her parents. If a father is loving, respectful and kind to his wife, daughters will learn what to expect in men. But, if a father is abusive, she will come to believe that aggression and violence is a normal part of a relationship. This will affect her future relationship with other men. If you want your daughter to experience a healthy and positive relationship in the future, you have to set a good example for her. Be the kind of man you want your daughter to marry.