Fathers are always there to fix our issues. No one ever asks them to check on us after a teary outburst behind a slammed door, but he always does. Our fathers love us despite the huge cloud that took over during those challenging teen years from time to time. When we overreact, are wrong, or are heartbroken by some boy, our fathers check to ensure we are okay, reminding us that we’re loved and of who we are.
Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with a similar story, but fathers can create real and lasting relationships with their daughters. It’s not rocket science, but simply putting the door back on the hinges and giving out hugs to let them know they’re loved more than they could understand. Here are some ways that fathers can create lasting bonds with their daughters.
Listen to your daughter.
Daughters give plenty of opportunities to listen. They need to discuss, in detail, the things on their minds all the time. It can be exhausting and annoying, so it’s remarkable when their dad genuinely listens. Try not to interrupt them. It teaches them manners and lets them know this is the treatment they should expect from others. The book of James tells us to be quick to listen. We’re too busy to stop and listen now, believing we’ll have time later. Before we know it, “Tell me later” drifts into the teenage wasteland. If you haven’t built those trusting communication channels early on, their teenage silence will be deafening.
Make time for talking.
There’s a time when it’s the father’s turn to talk, vital as it is to listen. Their advice lays the foundation for your child’s value system. Discipline, instruct and guide their decisions with a scripturally fed and Christ-led heart. Daughters should know how to guard their hearts in friendships that hope to take advantage of or mistreat them in romantic relationships. A girl’s sense of self can be furthered by a father who reminds her of who God says she is. The standards are higher than society’s because she is a child of God. So it’s essential to discuss with them what’s happening around them, why we believe what we believe, and how it impacts our lives. A daily time set aside to discuss a biblical devotion is a great way to start a conversation about what’s going on in their lives. God faithfully meets us in those moments as we seek Him with our daughters.
Make time for daddy dates.
Daughters love going on daddy dates. Occasionally, your husband can take them on small adventures. For example, a ride to the local grocery store for milk with their father can make their faces light up. Find small ways to include them in adventures. The time you invest with your children, specifically your daughters, during their formative years can help build their confidence when they face the turmoil of adolescence. Even the tween years are filled with new changes that threaten to disrupt their self-image and innocence. Stay updated with your daughter so they stay grounded in who and who they are.
Read with your daughter.
When your child is of age, start reading a popular book series aloud with them every night. You might be surprised when they decide to take over the reading. Some vocabularies might be beyond their years, but they’ll read through it without a problem. You may look forward to upholding the tradition with your other children when they reach the same age, but they may be disinterested. However, when dad picks up a book and reads one of their favorites after a busy work day, it may spark their interest. Even if a dad dislikes reading, they may still want to try it out. Fathers, take time out of your schedule to read with your daughter. Find books they love or were interested in as children and, most importantly, read the Bible with them. Reading the Bible with and to your daughter teaches them the importance of God’s Word in our everyday lives, which means a lot coming from Dad.
Treat others with respect.
This is one of the most important ways to build a lasting relationship with your daughters. Fathers treat others with respect, and your daughters are watching, noting how they’ll be treated based on your actions. In a world where men and women are considered equal, ensure she knows what makes her distinctive. There are excellent qualities about your daughter that might not surface, less they think it’s too weak to cry or too frail to be sentimental. Open a door, say “thank you,” or hand someone a tissue when they tear up, and do nice things without being asked. These are all ways that show others value us, and we want our daughters to know they’re appreciated by those they choose to spend time with as they get older.
Let her know you seek God.
It’s challenging to make time with God in the morning hours, but the witness to our children is rare. When they know your wisdom comes from God, they’re more apt to seek Him themselves. Fathers, as you trust God to lead your family, it creates a narrative they’ll hopefully follow someday. Your daughters should know that they can find their father at his desk when they wake up, seeking God in prayer in the quiet morning. Every so often, you may find one of them coming to join you. Typically, parents forget how much like their parents they want to be. Your daughter might sit next to you with her Bible and journal. As a father, pray she understands the importance of seeking God first as she ages.
Pass down traditions.
As time moves forward, many things come back around. Music and trends from decades ago can make good discussion topics for your children. They become interested in what their parents love to do. The whole idea of how old you are is funny to them. Still, besides the generational gap are things from your youth that parents can pass on as traditions. For example, buy a pack for your daughter if you collected baseball cards. Toss the ball with her and teach her how to hit. You may be shocked by the bond waiting for you.
The bond between a father and daughter is sacred. A father is the first man his daughter falls in love with, and he teaches her how she should be treated. If you struggle to connect with your daughter, try using some of these strategies. You won’t regret it, and she’ll be thankful for it.