Dads and Daughters: A Magic Weapon Against Low Self-Esteem
My husband is a fantastic dad. I mean, he's great at a lot of things, but he's really, really great at being a dad. I watch how he and Kiddo interact, and it is different than the way she and I have a relationship. The big things are the same, but it is a different dynamic, a different set-up - as it should be.
When it comes to fathers and daughters, there is a huge opportunity to impact your child in such a positive way (and let's be clear, when I use "father" it can mean a male in a variety of shapes and sizes and relationships -- an uncle or a grandfather or godfather or your best male bud who comes to every family event). Having a dad who is involved with your daughter's life gives her a much needed boost in the self-esteem department, Studies have shown that when a girl has a strong tie to her father, she is less likely to be depressed or use drugs and more likely to excel in school and go to college.
We all probably have great guys in our lives that are impacting our little girls. If your guy needs some help in what to do to make that bridge stronger and what to say to really boost her confidence, share some of these tips with him:
-- Set good examples of healthy relationships. Your daughter is watching how her dad treats her mom and other women and how he behaves in general. What he does, how he acts, his priorities, his choices will all shape with whom and how she chooses to have relationships in the future. If she sees him treat women with respect, it can resonate that she deserves respect as well, and that is a huge layer in that self-confidence foundation.
-- Make spending time together a priority. It really doesn't matter what they do together, but have her father sharing quality time, listening, talking and just being with her. That time spent is priceless.
-- Remember to praise. Have Dad tell your daughter how much he loves her sense of humor, how she rocks on spelling, how her kindness is beautiful - hearing it from Dad enforces that she is valued for something other than looks, which is essential to build a strong girl.
-- Have him help with social situations. Sometimes, talking it out with Dad about a hard social issue, like dealing with mean girls or how to resolve a tricky boyfriend problem is much better than you dealing with it. Hearing a different side, maybe having him help her see she needs to be more assertive or that he believes in her feelings is a big step in recognizing she is worthy and builds that self-esteem.
-- Share a hobby. Jigsaw puzzles or jogging, playing chess or having a daddy-daughter book club, have her dad approach your daughter with an idea that they do it regularly, together. He puts it in his Google calendar, it is a standing date.
-- Teach her a skill that her mom can't. Maybe it's how to use a lawn mower or how to really throw that football or how to play poker, teach her a skill that not only her mom can't teach her, but that gives her a little bit of oomph in the strength department. Not muscle strength, but ability strength, something she can walk around confident knowing that she knows how to do something special.
-- Have Dad go shopping sometime. When she gets older and goes clothes shopping, have Dad go. The dynamic will be different, and hearing what he thinks about fashion and choosing clothes is vital for her. A whole new dialogue on how clothes look to a guy will be had.
What is the best thing your husband or partner does with your daughter? Share your thoughts on dads and daughters with us!