A lot of joy and brokenness can come from a relationship between a daughter and her father. Sadly, I have observed and heard of many fathers who miss out on their incredible invitation to be transformed through the relationship with their daughter. Unfortunately, I have also seen many daughters miss out on the benefits of having a father involved in their lives teaching them essential lessons.
I can tell you this, having a daughter has changed me from the inside out. Through my relationship with my daughter, I have learned a lot. I love spending time with her and exploring the world by her side. I can picture her smile, hear her laugh, and see her eyes looking back at mine. She has had a profound impact on my life relationally and spiritually.
At the same time, I get to play an essential God-given role in teaching her about relationships, life, emotions, perseverance, and many other important things. And it begins with simply being present and available.
Throughout the last couple of decades counseling families and researching information on family dynamics and interactions, I have noticed the deep and lasting impacts dads can have on their daughters.
For example, a young woman had come into my office as an adolescent and explained her difficulties with her father at a younger age. Next, she discussed things from her dad that were emotionally hurtful and confusing, as well as ways her father was disengaged. We discovered unique ways these realities had had a profound and lasting impact on her ability to interact with and trust males as a teen girl. She was angry at her dad, and she longed for interaction with him. All this led to relational and identity confusion for her as a young teen.
Essential Lessons to Teach Your Daughter
Likely, there are various pressures and stressors within your daughter’s life. As a father, you can provide advice, encouragement, and love to your daughter. Explore the 13 essential lessons dads can teach their daughters to create a positive and long-lasting momentum in their lives. Consider which lessons you can teach your daughters today:
Ephesians 2:10 teaches us to observe the amazing value in others as God’s masterpieces. Dads model self-control and humility as they navigate relationships with family, friends, and strangers. As you listen and express interest in who your daughter is, you help your daughter come alive by feeling known. Through these interactions, you can teach your daughter about true respectful conversation and relationship.
Learning when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. Sometimes it can be the trickiest part of your relationship with your daughter. Two studies conclude that involved and engaged fathers reduce the possibility of risky sexual behaviors in their daughters. In another study, the researchers found that disengaged dads are more likely to have daughters who view guys as interested in sex. Help your daughter through teaching her appropriate boundaries with her relationships.
3. Healthy Affection
Dads that hold, hug, and give their daughters healthy affectionate touch, provide their daughters the affection they need as they grow older. This affection will help them not simply hunger for any affection from a man. They tend to be more selective and patient with affection. You can begin with a simple affectionate smile letting your daughter know she is important to you and that you deeply care for her. From there, begin to incorporate other elements of positive, healthy affection with your daughter.
4. Conversation with Guys
Daughters need to learn how to have enjoyable, personable, and non-sexual conversations with guys. A common observation from women is that: “guys just don’t talk much.” As a father, you can support your daughter’s confidence when they engage in conversations with men. Help your daughter learn how to engage in conversation with men.
Daughters learn about their strength and how to express and use their strength through observing the men within their life. Your daughter may push herself further while doing activities with you to either keep up or push their own limits. As a dad, you can give loving encouragement to your daughter to push herself toward developing strength.
Encouraging and life-giving words from a dad can give daughters the confidence that things will be okay. You can provide a significant boost to your daughter’s self-esteem and self-confidence through the power of your words.
7. Perseverance and Pursuit
Dads provide a picture of strength through failure, weakness, and insecurity. As a father, you can demonstrate perseverance in the way you approach adversity. From there, you can model respectful pursuit of your daughter through intentional relationship building. Dads can push and challenge their daughters beyond what they thought possible, but with love, understanding, and gentleness.
The power and importance of prayer can’t be overstated. Dads get to model trust and belief in having an ongoing conversation with a Heavenly Father. Help your daughter cultivate her relationship with God through prayer and spiritual disciplines.
9. The Power of Reading God’s Word
Dads can lead their daughter toward a strong trust and love of God’s word. You get to model interaction and conversation with God through His word. When a dad clings to God’s word to gain wisdom, guidance, and strength, a family’s home develops a strong bond with God. As you model a relationship with the God through studying scripture, your daughter can strengthen her relationship with God as well. Take hope in the truth of 3rd John 1:4 which says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
10. Practical Life Skills
Dads can teach their daughters about finances, working on cars, cooking, grilling, art, and sports. Honestly, the list is endless. Your relationship with your daughter is unique! You have a lot of practical things to teach your daughter. Take some time to think about what you can teach your daughter.
11. Managing Strong Emotions
Dads can provide another point of view and help daughters find peace in the middle of an emotional storm. Come alongside your wife and other women to support your daughter’s emotions.
12. How to Laugh and Have Fun
Dads can be playful and can offer great opportunities for laughter, physical play, and overall playful times with their daughters. The amazing thing is that laughter and play lead to a deeper attachment. So, dads can offer incredible and unique opportunities for bonding and attachment leading to not always taking life so seriously.
13. Remind them of their Unending Value
Through your relationship with your daughter, you help her know and see her value as a young woman. You can help your daughter understand that you are the one of the few people on this planet willing to die for her.
Next Steps for Essential Lessons Dads Can Teach their Daughter
A simple investment of time and attention from dads can be life-changing to their daughters and to their homes. Remember that it’s never too late to invest in your daughter’s life.
You can sign up for a 30-day intentional dad challenge to have “One Win a Day” as a dad through www.focusonthefamily.com/dadwins