At marriages, the bond between a father and his daughter is honored with the father daughter dance. Even schools will host dances for the fathers to attend with their daughters. As the first man in her life, it’s important that her father be the one to show her that she means something and is important. If you’re a father looking to strengthen the bond with your daughter, read on about why the father daughter relationship is important and what activities you can do with her.
Take a 30 day journey to having better relational health with this online course. You can also read up on child development theories in this quick article.
The Importance of the Father Daughter Relationship
Studies have shown that this first relationship will influence more of her life than you might realize. Without this relationship, young women grow up with low self-esteem, a low self-image, and their opinions about men are very skewed. According to Michael Austin, associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University, a father should live his life with integrity, honesty, no hypocrisy, and admissions of his own shortcomings.
By living in such a way, your daughter will have an example to follow that’s realistic – as opposed to fairy tale princes – and positive. If you’re having trouble showing such a life to your daughter, try taking seven days to become a better person with this course. Do it for her, and do it for yourself because you’re both worth it.
- A Father’s Influence on Her Self-Esteem and More
A daughter needs encouragement and involvement from her father. His words and time spent with her help lower her insecurity and increase the confidence she holds in her own abilities. Dr. Canfield believes that a daughter who doesn’t have such a relationship with her father will end up frozen in time as far as her future relationships with men. A longing to fill the void her distant father left behind will cause her to take risks and make bad choices as far as her relationships.
- Changes in the Father Daughter Relationship
The changes have been coming slowly but steadily. In past generations, the father has taken on full responsibility as bread winner, and the mother has been expected to remain at home with the children. Fathers spent what free time they did have to teach their sons how to be men. The daughter’s main interaction was with the mother.
Now, however, times are changing, and there has been more and more involvement from father’s in their daughter’s lives. It began with simply fulfilling a daughter’s needs. Rather than the mother being the only one to depend on, a father would now change diapers and give baths and rock his little girl to sleep. It became a team effort to raise not just the sons but the daughters as well.
Moving closer to the present, we now have mothers leaving the home as the sole bread winner while the father remains at home to raise the children. Now, it’s the father brushing her hair and braiding it. It’s the father making sure her favorite outfit is cleaned and pressed for the first day of school. It’s the father who’s playing with dolls and princess dress-up games. It’s the father becoming his daughter’s best friend.
Of course, every family has their own dynamics, and it’s important to realize that while not every father can be the stay-at-home kind, he should still be the make-time-for-daughter kind. Playing with her, even if it means dressing up as the princess instead of the prince, can have a huge impact on her later in life. It shows her how important it is to not take yourself too seriously.
- Reaching Your Daughter as an Infant and Young Child
Building a relationship with your child at this stage doesn’t have to be a huge battle. If you have an infant, helping to change diapers and soothe her is really all the time you need to put in. As she grows older, it becomes less about her needs and more about playing with her.
Sure, playing with dolls might look “uncool” to the guys at work, but to the little girl who matters, it means becoming a hero. Even if the guys at work did find out, your confidence and positive self-image that you’ve been impressing on your daughter should shine through enough to show them that they’re the “uncool” ones for not doing the same. Confidence to play with your daughter no matter how silly it is shows true strength.
- Reaching Your Daughter as a Tween and Teen
The hormonal years of your daughter’s life can prove to be your most difficult challenge. Mood swings, rebellious behavior, and getting the cold shoulder more than once might have you wondering if it’s doing more harm than good to even bother. It’s important for your daughter to see that no matter what, you will always love her.
Unconditional love of this nature will encourage her trust in you to grow, and you may just be the one she turns to when problems arise instead of her mother. Even as the teen years begin and hormones become even further imbalanced, continue cultivating trust with your daughter. Pulling away or abandoning her because it’s just too challenging for you can cause damage you never thought about.
- Reaching Your Daughter as an Adult
Even adult daughters still need their daddy, whether they admit it or not. If your relationship with your daughter is not what it should be, it’s still not too late to reach out. Don’t wait for her to come to you; be the one to approach her. She still needs you, even if you don’t think so and she repeatedly says so.
Activities for a Father and His Daughter
If you need help finding activities to do with your daughter, check out this short list below. There are plenty of things that you can do with your daughter, and many of them don’t even have to cost money. The most important part is to spend time with your daughter.
- Get Into Nature
Even if you yourself aren’t much of an outside man, you should consider taking your daughter out into nature at least for a short time. Pull yourself and her away from the computers, TV, and smartphones that distract from life, and just take a short walk, or you can even just go to the park and let her run around for a bit. It will have a huge impact on her life, and you might even feel better for it too. If you’ve got an older tween or teen, consider taking them on a hike or just a walk around the neighborhood. If she seems reluctant at first, express how important you feel this is for both of you. If you have a great relationship with your daughter already, just saying how much you’d love to do this with her will make her want to do it too. Take photos to remember the event; learn the ten steps to dramatic nature photography with this course.
- Let the Drama Reign
Men don’t always understand the drama of a woman’s life, but spending time with your daughter should start to clue you in on the drama and emotions. If you have a toddler especially, drama is the main order of the day. Every little thing can create a meltdown. Take her to plays, musicals, or even live theater to show her she could use those amazing dramatic skills in the future to perform on stage. Consider letting your tween put on her own drama in your house, and create a stage for her in the living room. She might be the only actor in it, but she’ll probably have fun doing it. For your teen, ask her about what she’s studying in English – or theater if her drama has continued all the way to high school – and see if you can find something to connect to a theater production or a play. You might even end up helping her grade as most teachers are willing to offer extra credit for going to performances related to lessons in class.
- Create a Spa Day
If you’ve got a girly girl, she’s likely all about make-up, fashion, and pretty jewelry. Encourage her by purchasing her favorite nail polish, some kid friendly make-up, and turn the bathroom into your own personal spa. Fill the tub with water so she can soak her feet, and give her a little mini pedicure. If you’re nervous about painting nails, ask your wife or a female companion for help. You might end up coming out of the lesson with bright red nails, but you’ll have learned something to make your daughter happy. Use your new found skills to paint her toes and nails, and put a little make-up on her. If you feel like laughing at yourself, let her give you a make-over too.
- Plan a Menu Together, and Cook
Give Mom a break, and decide to take over the meals for the week. Plan a menu with your daughter; you can even let her get away with a day where you all eat nothing but macaroni and cheese. Then take her along to the grocery store, tell her the items you need, and let her help you find them on the shelves. Get home, and let her help cook too. If she’s a toddler, avoid having her do any work with the stove or knives, but if you get her a stool, she can clean vegetables, knead dough (which is a favorite for kids), or even mix basic things. Measure out ingredients, and let her help pour them into the mixing bowl. Find all the little tasks that little fingers can do, and let her help, no matter how old she is. Try some vegetarian recipes for kids using this online course.