Fathers who best create positive relationship with their children start on the day such child is born. Get involved in his/her life from the very outset. Take an active role in caring for the child. The more time you spend with the child, the easier it will be to continue building the relationship later. We now thrive in a culture where dad is an equal partner in care giving. From day one, dads are encouraged to be in active participation, changing diapers, giving baths if they can, putting baby to sleep and calming their cries. That presence and effort is the beginning of a very important relationship. Most importantly, a dad’s involvement in his daughter’s life is a crucial ingredient in the development of a young woman’s self-esteem. I would just love to say ‘well-done’ to fathers who have been doing their assignment so well and to those who haven’t been doing them, its never too late to start. Always remember that raising girls is a privilege, not a burden.
Tips for father-daughter bonding
- She wants to be loved: Much more than she wants the stuff you can buy her or the things you can teach her, she wants you to love her. No one else on Earth can assume your role as daddy. Your daughter will let you down, hurt you, make huge mistakes, and maybe even turn her back to you for a period, but don’t ever let her doubt your love for her. Look her in the eye and tell her you love her; lots of time.
- Make memories: It’s important to make daddy/daughter dates(hangout). We suggest going for a walk or going out for an ice cream treat. Do things together that are fun and entertaining such as cooking, seeing a movie together, and storytime. Letting her ride on your shoulders is memorable. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny. Family movie nights on Friday nights. Big breakfast Saturdays and more. Building fun memories in a positive environment can make a big difference. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but it does have to be deliberate. Fill up your daughter’s emotional journal with memories of being with her father.
- Teach Her Unfamiliar Things: While it is great when a dad teaches his daughter to ride a bike or to read or do chores , often one of the best things he can teach her are “guy things.” Skills like fixing a car, or home repairs will serve a girl just as well as a boy and will give her confidence that she can tackle anything. A friend once told me that his dad taught his little sisters to fix a tyre, generator and some other appliances. Just being with her dad doing things he is good at will be a real treat for her. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.
- Break down communication barriers: Does your daughter complain: “My dad never really listen! He just tells me what to do”? When she opens up, avoid leaping in with your own opinions – you might distance her if she doesn’t immediately understand your point. Instead, show that you are listening and empathise by saying something like: “I understand you feel hurt and angry.” This lets her know she is being taken seriously and helps her to trust her own feelings, which builds self-awareness and confidence. Her relationship with you will colour her relationships with other men throughout her life: colleagues, friends, partners. Just think, one day she may fall in love and recognise the same empathy, respect and understanding in her partner that her father has shown her. As her dad, you’re an important role model.
- She watches how well you treat her mom: If you take one thing out of this entire list, make it this. One of the best things you can do for your daughter is to love her mom well. It’s easy to be child-centered. Running from one kid activity to another. But fight for your marriage and make it a priority. The seasons of life when you lose focus on dating your wife might also the same seasons when your children have more issues. You might want to think that’s coincidental but it’s not. Love your wife, make time to date her, take her on trips. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely. Pray for her, regularly, passionately and continually.
- Be a Great Example of Manhood: The way your daughter sees you treat women makes a big difference in how she will see men later in her life. Be on your best behavior with her, her mother and other female friends and relatives. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late. Simple courtesy and kindness will go a long way in helping her know what to expect of men in her later life. Making time and expending energy in building your relationship with your daughter will pay over time.
- Trust your daughter: Fathers need to temper their protective instinct when it comes to boys. “Fathers are afraid their daughters will get hurt. They try to intimidate the boys, let them know they’re being watched, which is so ridiculous. “Make them welcome! Get to know your daughter’s friends.”
The media has given our daughters messages that they need to be the right weight, wear the right makeup, dress stylishly and sometimes immodestly to be beautiful. Much more importantly, when you tell your daughter she is beautiful you emphasize the importance of being beautiful inside — more than skin-deep. Compliment her when her eyes sparkle or when she breaks into a big smile. Remember, it won’t all happen in a day. Give it time. Start the bonding now, dad.