I’m not sure if most father’s intentionally set out to raise their daughter as a “daddy’s girl” or if it just happens over time as their relationship develops. For me I have always been one as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom dearly and would be very much lost in life without her, but I think it’s always been growing up that I’m a daddy’s girl. Maybe it’s because I’m a spitting image of him to the point of having had strangers at the grocery store ask me if I was Clint’s daughter. Maybe it’s because we’re both runners and runners will always have a unique bond to each other. In any case, I’m one through and through.
I’m writing this blog to explain what helps comprise a father-daughter relationship into the best that it can be in hopes that all the dads and dads-to-be out there who have daughters will know what it takes to make their relationship with them extra special. So let’s begin…
1. Be in her life. To often you hear about single mothers raising children alone because some dead beat chose not to help raise their child. On the other hand you may have a father who is physically in a child’s life, but not emotionally there whether it’s because he works constantly, favors his male children, or just doesn’t try to connect to his daughter. Overcome the challenges and be an active part in her life.
2. Find a shared interest with her. While it’s important for all members of a family to bond, if a father has something that he shares specifically with his daughter it will increase their bond greatly. My dad and I share bonds in high school sports and in running. Throughout middle and high school he made it to my track and cross country meets and often attended other sporting events such as wrestling matches, football and basketball games with me. I coached jr high cross country for 3 years and when I had to resign due to work conflicts he took over my coaching position which enabled me to stay indirectly tied to the team while also strengthening our bond. Running became our common interest when I took up cross country in high school and my parents didn’t want me to run roads alone in training. He often tells people that I’m the one who got him into running, and we’ve done many races including my first half marathon last September together.
3. Remember unique things about her. For some reason my dad still doesn’t remember that I don’t like ketchup, but he does know that I drink Turkey Hill lemonade for breakfast. Every overnight visit I make to my parents’ house since moving out my dad always has a bottle of it in the fridge for me. It’s the little things like that which make a child (even an adult one) feel special.
4. Talk to her. I know there are plenty of difficult stages in a girl’s life (trust me, leave the female talks to mom if at all possible), but communicate with her as much as possible even if it’s the standard “How’s school going?” conversation. As she gets older you may find that she’s someone you even feel comfortable in confiding in.
5. Support her choices even if you don’t always agree with them. I didn’t find out until months after the breakup that my dad couldn’t stand my 2nd boyfriend. He didn’t even tell me, my mom and sister did. While I do wish he had spoken up with his opinion as I certainly would’ve valued it, I respected the fact that although he wasn’t a fan of the decisions I was making, he let me make them and learn from them myself. It goes without saying of course if the daughter is doing anything harmful to herself or others certainly interfere.
6. Be a role model for her. My dad is one of the hardest working people I know. Part of it is in his nature; he just can’t sit still. A lot of the work he does though at least outside of his actual job is to benefit both our family as well as others he knows and cares about. My uncle once told me if something were to ever happen to my dad (knock on wood it never does) that people would be lining up to help out because he’s helped out so many people throughout his life.
7. Boost her self-esteem. You don’t have to understand a teenager girl’s world. Just know that no matter how wonderful, smart, pretty or funny she is, she’s bound to struggle with self-esteem at some point or another. Every encouraging word offered to her will make her a stronger woman as she grows up.
8. Make rituals or traditions with her. I always used to go to Root’s Auction with my dad before Christmas. Having moved nearly 3 hours away I no longer get to do this. Instead my dad now comes up to visit me to go Christmas shopping and spend the night. We’ve done it the past 2 years and I absolutely love it. It doesn’t matter that I had just seen him around Thanksgiving and that I’ll be seeing him around Christmas, it’s the fact that he’s willing to drive up here by himself to do it that makes it special to me.
The guidelines above are for all fathers… biological, step, adopted, anyone who fills in the father spot for a young lady in his life. Love that child and form a special bond with her and she very well may grow up being a “daddy’s girl”. I know I did.