Always Daddy’s Girl

I remember when my daughter was born. I told my friends, who were visiting at the hospital, “She’s a miracle! Isn’t she remarkably beautiful?”

They smiled and nodded politely.

“How amazing she is!” I made it, I mused.  “She is unusually intelligent. I can tell at forty-eight hours,” I announced.

My baby-less friends rolled their eyes.

After we brought her home, it hit me: Do I have what it takes to be a good father to my baby girl? I began to have worries that I might drop her, or forget her, or injure her emotionally. I realized then that making babies is a lot more fun than raising them!

It got me thinking: What role does a father play in his daughter’s life?


A daddy plays a huge role in his daughter’s life. From those first moments of holding her in his arms, a father has begun a twenty-year course of providing an example for his daughter on how to be in relationship with males.  From daddy she learns trust, communication and conflict-resolution skills. Or she may learn that she has no worth; how to be invisible; how to be a people pleaser or how to settle for the first guy who gives her attention.

My daughter is now grown and we speak together for the National Center for Fathering’s Father-Daughter Summit We survey thousands of girls. A recent survey question, asked of middle school girls: “What do you need from your dad?”

  • 47% Communication – “Take an interest in me and my life.”
  • 33% Connection – “More time with me.”
  • 15% Conflict resolution – “Would like less tension and arguing.” “Trust me.”
  • 2%  Confidence – “Treat me my age – not like a little kid.” “Trust me.”

Based on these responses, I’d like to suggest THREE GIFTS DADS CAN GIVE THEIR DAUGHTERS:

1. Trust – Daughters first learn trust from their dad. He protects her with his strength, masculinity and name. She feels confident when she is with him. He provides, protects – and she trusts. He throws her up in the air and catches her. A dad offers something different and desirable from what a mom provides.

One of the most effective ways to build (or rebuild) trust is to spend time with your daughter. Do things that interest her. Show her appropriate affection and your focused attention. When a daughter feels her father’s trust, she will feel secure.

2. Talk – Daughters may learn how to talk from their mom, but they learn how to communicate from their dads. A girl learns how to communicate from the male species – this strange, prickly-faced and different smelling man! From her father, a daughter learns that she has her own voice, and that her words and opinions matter.

I have worked with thousands of teen girls and every one of them wants to hear from her dad, “You are lovely. You are worth fighting for. With you I am pleased – just the way you are. I love you.”

3. Connection – A daughter learns how to relate to boys and men from her father – or not. Daughters with strong, healthy relationships with their fathers have many benefits. They are: better at school; better at sports; choose healthier friends; avoid at-risk behaviors; and are more likely to relate to boys in a healthy way. For example – not defining her worth and identity based on the opinion of some random boy.

Build your connection with your daughter. She might be going through puberty and changing into a woman, and it might be freaking you out! But don’t pull away. She needs you now, more than ever.

We want our daughters to be healthy and capable. Here is a solution for a capable daughter:

Trust + Communication + Connection = Capable Daughter

The popular culture often tells our girls some fairly negative messages. We cannot correct the message American media and culture are sending, but we can correct the message our daughters are receiving.

Timothy Smith