This post was originally posted on Raising Teens Today
“Dad told us we were beautiful, that there was nothing we couldn’t accomplish, and that he would always be there for us. We believed him then, and we believe him now.”
When I talked with my daughters about the relationship they have with their Dad, that was what they had to say…
As much as I’d like to say that my influence in my daughters’ lives has carried enough weight to prepare them for adulthood, I’ve realized that, in some ways, my influence pales in comparison to the powerful influence their Dad has in their lives.
Not to discount my role as their mom, but their Dad was their first love, their first fair, honest, and trustworthy leader, and the first person who authoritatively established defined boundaries in their lives. As my husband would later realize, the pedestal our girls placed him on was both a gift and a challenge, tested daily through his words, actions, reactions, and decisions.
As one might expect, as my girls have matured, their view of their Dad has become more “humanized” and although he might very well have been knocked off the “pillar of perfection” they once had him on, he will, regardless, always be their hero.
The impact a father has on his daughter’s life reaches far beyond the role of provider and protector. As studies have revealed, the father-daughter relationship is far more important than we ever realized. Everything from self-confidence and body image to how she approaches future romantic relationships, her education and career success are all tied to the relationship a girl has with her father.
It all starts when girls are very young. As they grow and mature, they often view their self-worth through their father’s eyes. If Dad says she’s beautiful, then she is; if Dad says she’s a fantastic soccer player, then she is; if Dad says there’s nothing she can’t accomplish in life, then there isn’t.
The guidance and stead-fast praise a daughter hears from her father throughout her influential years, especially the teen years, stays with her for life.
To become a strong, confident woman, a daughter needs her father’s attention, respect, praise, wisdom, and guidance. Above all, she needs to hear and be reminded how he feels about her…and, not just from time to time, but as an ongoing part of her daily life.
If a father strives to give one thing to his daughter throughout her life, it should be the ability for his daughter to view herself through his eyes… only then will she realize just how special she is.
So, for all the Dads out there, here are a few powerful, yet simple messages you can relay to your daughters to empower them to become strong, resilient, self-confident women:
1. I Love You
2. I’m Proud of You
3. I’ll Always Be Here for You
4. You’re Beautiful
5. Never Allow Yourself to Be Pressured by Anyone
6. You Can Accomplish Anything You Set Your Mind To
7. I Believe In You
8. Be Cautious Who You Give Your Heart To
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Take the Road Less Traveled
10. Stand Strong – You Are What You Allow in Life
11. Always Remain True to Yourself
12. You Never Have to Compete with Anyone but Yourself
13. You’re Special… To Me, To Your Family, To Your Friends, To the World
14. Remember, Your Goal Should Be to Turn Hearts, Not Heads
15. Your Heart Will Always Be More Beautiful than Your Appearance
Fathers, be your daughter’s first love. Open doors, pull out her chair, treat her with respect, give her unconditional love, protect and guide her in life and love, and strive to always remain on the pedestal she has placed you on. Teach her to never settle for anything else… only then will you give her what she needs to face the world as a strong, confident woman.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.