There is often dialogue about the long-term benefits of a father actively being in a child’s life. Research, observation, and experience show that genuine involvement can help a child transition successfully from infancy to adolescence, and from adolescence to adulthood.
However, most of the conversation around active fathering is lopsided. There is a wealth of studies, articles, and reports about why boys need to have their fathers in their lives, but seldom do we see information that reflects the significant role an active father plays in shaping, developing, encouraging, and building confidence in their daughter(s).
Being a single father of both sons and daughters, I have learned that while their immediate needs may be very different, there are several needs that remain the same – feeling loved, secured, acknowledged and bonded with their father.
A Bond That’s Earned
I can attest to the unbreakable bond that my daughters and I have developed through the years: a bond that was built on trust, dedication, and sacrifice. A bond that was not automatic but earned.
It is very important that we as fathers come to understand the true impact of our involvement. We must not assume that they only want to feel like princesses or only want attention from mommy. Countless fathers fail to realize or understand the power of their influence over their daughter(s).
So, let me help take the guesswork out of it – YOUR GIRLS NEED YOU IN THEIR LIFE!
Over time, she will reciprocate the influence and encouragement that you have imparted on her, eventually empowering others with the life tools that dad equipped her with.
Raising Strong Daughters In A Digital Age
Times are different nowadays. The world has changed and with the continuous advancement of technology, the way our kids interact and think are no longer the same.
The pressures and the potential dangers of interacting online open our daughters up to a new set of challenges that you and I might not have been exposed to. With the online uncertainties of a person’s identity or intentions, the world is just not the same: socially or morally. It can feel like its becoming a more perilous place.
I personally believe we cannot leave our daughters to chance – thinking they will be ok to navigate through life without us. I have learned that we are the architects of our child’s life and should impart on them a vision, a direction, and a solid foundation to stand on. Just like boys, girls need that.
Every day, my girls lean on me for guidance. They look forward to interacting and engaging with their father. Sometimes they just want to talk. Other times they just want me listen about the latest school chatter, and some days they simply want me to take them along while I run errands.
Simply put, they want to be around their father. They want to share everything from sports (they play basketball and cheer) and career goals (one wants to be a marketer, one a scientist and one a cosmetologist or biologist) to cool movies (they love action and super hero movies, and what they’ve learned in church or studied in history (they are very inquisitive).
As my girls excel academically, athletically, and develop spiritually and emotionally. They are learning to think freely and aspire to reach levels and careers that are not stereotypical to their genders.
I personally believe that we are to train up a child in the way that they should go. We are responsible for developing them as a whole child. It is not our job to guess what they like or need. But it is our job to interact with them, so we can understand and meet their needs.
What I Believe Active Fathering Really Is
Based on my experiences, I’d like to offer four key takeaways that will help guide you on your journey of active fathering, and will also help you maneuver through some of the toughest challenges your daughter(s) may face.
Be emotionally connected.
It is important to try to understand where your daughter(s) is coming from and the phases she will go through. Try to think and talk to them on the level they are on instead of the level you are trying to get them to. Be sensitive to their feelings and let your love and compassion for them direct your interactions.
Let your guard down. Make yourself available. Don’t be afraid to share with them the mistakes that you’ve made in an effort to connect with them and gain their trust. Be patient with their choices and use them as opportunities to guide and encourage them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There’s a saying that goes: “You have not because you ask not.”
Employ a circle of women and like-minded fathers who are willing to lend advice or give insight on their experiences. It will help you become a better dad in providing better support and solutions for your daughter(s).
Don’t be overprotective.
Often times, being too controlling can cause your daughter(s) to rebel. Don’t be apprehensive about letting them explore under your supervision and avoid dictating their lives. It will make them feel more comfortable, and, in return, they will be more willing to share what they are facing (i.e. insecurities, and uncertainties). Your guidance will make them feel protected versus allowing an overbearing approach to make them feel confined.
The Truly Rewarding Experience
The benefits of daughters having an active father in their lives are immeasurable and are very rewarding. I hope this article helps others see past the myths out there, and helps reinforce how important a daddy-daughter relationship is.
There are often challenges men face when raising their daughters. But developing a successful relationship with your daughter(s) will help close emotional gaps, prevent rebellion and feeling unwanted, as well as make you more confident as a father. Good luck, dad.