A few weeks ago, I asked my daughters, Courtney (16) and Lauren (13), what I should blog about, and they gave me two ideas. Their first idea became 13 Things I Want My Teenage Daughters to Know About Social Media. Their second idea was for me to write about what a daughter needs from her father. Just so you know, I’ve learned a lot of this the hard way and I still have a long way to go.
Here are eleven things a daughter needs from her father, plus one final thought that is probably the most important of all.
1. Gentleness. One of the most important ways a man can show his strength is by being gentle with his wife and children. Your daughter needs you to treat her gently, not because she’s fragile, although she may be, but because you care.
2. Laughter. There are few things I enjoy more than making my daughters smile; even better is when I can make them laugh. Give your daughter the gift of laughing with her and never at her. When you laugh together, it reduces tension and stress and makes your home a more pleasant place.
3. Security. Your daughter needs to know you’re always there for her and looking out for her best interests. You communicate this with your words but even more by your actions. Be intentional about making your daughter feel secure.
4. Freedom. At the same time, your daughter needs to have the freedom to live and grow and become the person God created her to be. She needs the freedom to make mistakes or to do the right thing for the right reasons.
5. Attention. Your daughter needs to know that she has your attention, that she is one of the most significant people in your life. Listen to her. Listen not just for what she says, but for how she feels. Listen without judging or criticizing.
6. Affection. Your daughter needs to be liked by you and to know that you genuinely enjoy being around her. Let your know daughter know how fun she is to be with and what a unique, beautiful person she is.
7. Understanding. You will never completely understand why your daughter says and does the things she does. You don’t have to. But you do need to make a genuine effort to understand all that you can. Take time to learn how she thinks. Learn what makes her happy, angry, anxious, or sad. Your attempts to genuinely understand will go a long way.
8. Support. Your daughter needs to know that you will do everything you can to provide what she needs. She needs to know that you believe in the person she is and the person she is becoming.
9. Forgiveness. Your daughter is human. She will make mistakes, and she may say or do things that will hurt you, even though she loves you deeply. Let forgiveness be your default mode. Always be ready to forgive, and commit to not holding past infractions over her head, now or in the future.
10. Presence. There is no substitute for being with your daughter. It’s one of the primary ways you show you care. Your presence means more to your daughter than you can fully understand. Make it a priority to spend time with her—not just in the same room—but genuinely with her.
11. Love. Your daughter needs to know that you love her with the kind of love that will never fade or die. It’s not enough for you to feel love for her in your heart; she needs you to say it frequently and demonstrate it regularly through your actions.
One final thing: Teach her about redemption. All of us, including you and your daughter, are broken people. Help your daughter to believe and understand the truth that God is willing and able to put a life back together no matter how tiny the shattered pieces may seem to her. And she needs to know you’ll be with her every step of the way too.
A daughter is a precious gift from God. Treat her with great care and she will grow into a beautiful young woman who reflects God’s glory with her whole life.
You might also like: