It is true that a father and daughter have a very special relationship. It is either a time of learning how to be loved by a real man or learning that a man might not be trusted. There is a powerful influence that fathers have on their girls.
Dr. Voddie Baucham stated that, “Every father leaves a legacy for his daughter whether good or bad, whether by design or by default. Daughters watch carefully what dads prioritize as well as what they neglect, and then form their own ideals—including the kind of man they look for in a mate—in response to this.”
Can you see the excitement in our little girl’s eyes? It was was the first of many ‘dates’ with Daddy! My tired husband got all cleaned up after a hard day’s work outside, and she took a bath and wore her best dress. She still loves to dress up for a date with her Dad or brothers – and now the special young man she married.
She looks to her father for affirmation, encouragement, and guidance. As she grows through puberty (ESPECIALLY, as she grows through puberty), she needs his voice reminding her that she is beautiful, valuable, and worthy of love. If she is loved unconditionally, she won’t settle for anything less in her future husband, and she’ll believe her future husband when he tells her the same things.
Mothers, the lasting legacy of a rich and ongoing father and daughter relationship is worth the trouble to cultivate. You can either help it or hinder it.
We as mothers can gently help our husbands to cherish and protect our daughters from the earliest years. Dear Mother, do all you can in your quiet and womanly power to include your husband while your little girl is still in the cradle by inviting him into the nursery to rock and sing to her at bedtime. Pray a growing desire to protect and provide for her will fill his heart as he helps care for her smallest needs.
Express gratitude for your husband’s hard work and encourage every effort he makes to engage the children, both the boys AND the girls. It is easier for him to relate to a boy and toy cars … it may be more difficult for him to find his way among doll babies, pink dresses, and tea parties.
Each of our children enjoyed a ‘date’ with their daddy most every month when they were small; it is a tradition that has paid back huge dividends even though I did not get quite as many dates. While not always happy with that arrangement then, now I see the wisdom of fostering those bonding times.
Many, many problems and discipline issues were worked out during that time with their Father, and I was able to see my husband grow into the leader he strives to be today.
Foster a Strong Relationship Between He and She
First, pray for your husband daily and trust God to answer your requests. Pray for his well-being, that the Lord would ‘keep him from evil’ and give him blessing, wisdom, knowledge, spiritual maturity, purity, discretion, and guidance. Look for God’s answers to your prayers and thank Him for working in your attitude and your family’s attitude.
Respecting your husband and treating him as a man (not a bad little boy) will go a long way to encouraging him in the right direction. Don’t criticize or in any way belittle your husband to your children.
Make it easy for him to ease into his role. Plan a picnic or a special meal for just them and help her make special treats for her daddy. Help her write little endearing notes to cheer him after a day of hard work. Find the little things your husband likes to do that your daughter can come along side, and while she is still young, facilitate her helping him.
Encourage and model a respect in your daughter for her father (though we will not be perfect in this), which in turn will foster in him a greater love and desire to protect that we so long for as women.
Dear Mothers, take joy in that very special relationship and foster it; do not begrudge it, for your daughter is learning how to be loved by a real man, flaws and all. Where there is sincere and sacrificial love in Christ Jesus, it overflows, and there is enough to go around for everyone!
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” ~Proverbs 14: 1
What Can A Father Do?
Dr. Margaret J. Meeker, a pediatrician with more than 25 years of experience in counseling girls, wrote a book entitled Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know. In it, she lists some findings from her research on the important influence of fathers.
- Toddlers securely attached to fathers are better at solving problems.
- Six-month-olds scored higher on tests of mental development when their dads were involved in their lives.
- With dads in the home, children managed school stress better.
- Daughters whose fathers provide warmth and appropriate control achieve higher academic success. Girls involved with dad are twice as likely to stay in school.
- Daughters who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety and withdrawn behaviors.
- The likelihood that daughters engage in premarital sex, drug use, and alcohol plummets when their dads are involved in their lives.
- Daughters who feel that their fathers care about them and feel connected with their dads have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and unhealthy weight.
- A daughter’s self-esteem is best predicted by her father’s loving affection.
Meeker says, ”From the first years of a girl’s life her father is larger than life. She looks up to him, and for the rest of her life she craves his admiration, his respect and his affection.”
(excerpted from Father’s Impact on His Daughters by Valerie Plowman)
(Note: Of course, fathers also influence their sons, but as I am a daughter, I thought I would talk about daughters today. I also want to encourage any mother who is parenting without a father present. There are many, many people who grow up to be confident, God-fearing, and capable who did not have a father present. Most often, this is because of the total dedication and loving effort of their mother.)
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Thanks for reading!