What is my job as father to my daughter?
I mean when I think back over our lives, I remember changing diapers, cuddling, scolding, feeding and watching her sleep in her crib with my heart ready to melt. But what about the “core” job. Something to act as a guiding light for her life and mine? A job with a name, so that on retirement, instead of a gold watch, I see her walking down the aisle with tears in my eyes knowing I did a great job and her life is a better place for having had me. Well, here’s what I’ve learned from both my years, AND a great man named Justin Sterling
1. Be the man you want your daughter to marry:
Huh? Okay, what I mean by this is that your daughter is going to learn what a “man” is mostly by watching and interacting with you. In her eventual quest for marriage, she will base her decision and choice greatly on her relationship with you. If she is at peace with you, and respects you and feels loved by you, she will choose a man much like you. If she has issues with you, then she will subconsciously seek and find a man who allows her to work out those issues. Hence Justin’s warning to men about finding a woman with a good relationship with her father … “If she hasn’t worked out her issues with her father .. watch out! Cus’ she’s going to work them out with you!” Of course, this is academic because my view is that we all choose our relationships to heal something. So from that paradigm, being in a relationship with a woman with a lot of “Dad” issues speaks as much about you as her. But I digress Dear Dads!
2. Give your daughter love, acceptance and attention or she will seek it out in other men in ways that will give you f***ing nightmares.
Excuse the shocking verbiage, Dads, but this is so important, I’d rather risk offending you than to say something flowery and nice. Daughters get their self esteem mainly by the degree of acceptance they receive from their Dads. Especially important is acceptance based on who they are, not what they weigh or how they look. An entire industry and disease model has been birthed from girls needing to be skinny and beautiful enough for “Dad”. I am sure I’ll get some responses admonishing me for laying the blame for such a huge, complicated, widespread phenomenon as bulemia, anorexia, cosmetic surgery and professional modeling on Dad saying “hey, you’re gettin’ kinda chunky kid!” But hey, I can take it!!
3. Trust and Respect
Your daughter must have reason to trust you and respect you. That’s it. Everything else is wonderful, fantastic, ecstatic, endearing icing on the cake.
She must trust you to do what you say you’re going to do, and to be the “constant” unchanging force in her life. She is female. Her energy is much BIGGER but also multi targeted, spreading out. You must show her pinpoint, unwavering “you gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything” type of energy that she will seek out in her future husband so that she can continue to be “female”. She must respect you or she will not seek out a man with your qualities. (why would she model her choice of husband on a man she doesn’t even respect?)
Okay men. This is just a beginning for me. I’m very passionate about this and will edit and continue with this article and turn it into something that inspires and moves us all to action! Incidentally, I also welcome any “My job as father to a son” ideas. I simply don’t have a son, by the way, in case anyone is wondering why I have only written about daughters!
UPDATE: I’ve finished my book, “Hold Daddy’s Hand: A Father’s collection of life lessons for his daughter” available as Kindle book OR paperback. Visit www.HoldDaddysHand.com to get a copy!