Fathers and daughters share a special bond. Dads influence and shape the ideal male figure in girls, which may influence her choice of a life partner.
Studies have also shown that dads who are involved in parenting their children foster their development. According to the work of child development expert, Norma Radin, women raised by highly-involved fathers are more likely to be mature, independent and have high self-esteem.
It does not require money or grand gestures to be a good parent. Here are 3 life lessons that Judith, a work-life specialist shared that all fathers can impart to their daughters.
#1: There is Always Time for Family
As a child, Judith’s father always managed to find time to spend with her despite working full days and three nights each week. Today, Judith is a working adult and realizes the sheer effort by her father.
Despite the workload, her father found the time to connect with her emotionally over dinner or watching television programmes together. This simple gesture had made her feel like she is always worth his time.
“Childhood is fleeting, and time invested in building a parent-child relationship will never come to naught,” she reminisces lovingly.
While work is important, children will remember the effort their fathers took in being part of their lives. When your daughter becomes a mother herself, she will remember to invest time to be with her children.
#2: Strive for Success on Your Own Terms
Fathers can appreciate their daughters for who they truly are. Help her identify her strengths and unique qualities and value them. Guide her to pursue her own ideals and ignore external influences dictating what she should be.
Judith shared that she was an average student during her school days, even failing a few subjects, especially during her teenage years.
Instead of venting his frustrations on his daughter, Judith’s father would have an open conversation with her.
“How do you think you did?” and “How do you think you can do better next time?” were the questions her father would ask her during examination periods. He guided her to reflect and gave her a sense of ownership in her own education. Above all, he looked beyond school grades and celebrated her innate talents while encouraging her to hone them.
“My father’s constant affirmations reassured me that while school and grades were important, they did not define me,” recounted Judith.
Today, Judith is a parent herself and credits her father for her ability to show empathy to her children. She acknowledged that her father’s constant encouragement and affirmation have enabled her to pick herself up in the face of adversity, and hope that her children will be able to do the same for themselves.
#3: A Woman’s Worth
“Fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do.” - John Mayer.
The first man in a girl’s life is her father. He will be a significant reference point when she tries to figure out what men are like. Fathers should exemplify how a proper, respectful male should behave.
Studies show that girls tend to look for men who possess the characteristics of their fathers. They think that they can handle the familiarity of it in relationships. Therefore, if her father is trustworthy, kind, family-oriented and loving, she will look for those traits in men.
Judith remembers that her father had never treated her mother as second class. He was also equally involved in family responsibilities such as house chores and child-rearing. Her earliest memory of her parents was her father complimenting her mother’s beauty when they prepared to go out for an event.
“As I watched my father help out around the home and be a hands-on parent, I learnt what a healthy marriage partnership looks like. While sweet affirmations come naturally at the start of most marriages, my father has shown me that it is possible and healthy to cherish and compliment our spouses through the years,” she shared.
While fathers cannot guarantee that their daughters will be shielded from unhealthy relationships, being a positive male role model will help your daughters be aware of negative behaviours in a relationship.<.p>
This article was written in collaboration with Focus On The Family Singapore , a local charity with IPC status, dedicated to empower families in Singapore with skills to build strong families and raise resilient kids.