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5 Things Every Daughter Needs From Her Father

Dads, your daughters need you. It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to raise them. Here are five ways to help you actively engage with their hearts right now and for a lifetime.

A father’s relationship with his daughter is not important just because people say it is. There are volumes of studies and statistics supporting the critical role a father plays in the psychological, social, and developmental role of his daughter.

For example, the North American Journal of Psychology states that a father’s engagement with his daughter directly correlates with his “daughter’s self-esteem and life satisfaction.” Additionally, a father has “greater impact on (his) daughter’s ability to trust, enjoy and relate well to the males in her life” according to a Wake Forest University study.

As a father of two girls, I often feel the weight of the role I play in my daughters’ lives. I am ever conscious of how my words and my actions are impacting the development of my girls into young women.

But what specifically do daughters need from their relationships with their dads?

Here are 5 basic things every daughter needs from her father:

1. Be Encouraging
As dads, we sometimes have a tendency to push our kids too hard. On more than one occasion, the Bible specifically warns fathers to not provoke their children so that they do not become angry or discouraged. (Col. 3:21, Eph. 6:4) Being an encouraging voice in our daughters’ lives does not make them weak, it makes them strong.

2. Be Affectionate
Our daughters crave our affection. If they don’t get it from us, they will seek it elsewhere. Affection can be in our words, in our touch, and in our actions. The important thing is letting them know they are loved. Researcher Paul Raeburn concluded that “girls who grow up with an engaged, involved father have a reduced risk of early puberty, risky sexual behavior, and teen pregnancy.”

3. Be Present
Dads are busy balancing work, marriage and parenting (moms are too!). Most men struggle with finding their significance in what they do as opposed to who they are. As dads, we can sometimes short change the ones we love by being with them, but not really being present. When we have the opportunity to spend time with our daughters, we need to give them our full attention. They need to see and feel that nothing else matters to us other than what’s happening in that moment with them.

4. Be Honest
Most of us don’t set out to lie to our children. However, there are times we justify not telling the whole truth under the premise that we are protecting our kids. However, many times “protecting our kids” is really more about “protecting ourselves.” No parent wants to look foolish in front of their children. As our daughters grow older (and I would suggest at a much younger age than we would suspect), they will pick up on our self-preservation techniques, and we will lose their trust and faith. Perhaps the best thing we could do is show our daughters that a man, a strong man, is capable of admitting his faults and confessing his shortcomings. If we want our daughters to marry a man of honesty and integrity, we must demonstrate the same to them.

5. Be Adventurous
From a very early age, my daughters have learned that if you want to hang out with dad, you have to be ready for an adventure. My oldest daughter is tentative and cautious by nature, but we have climbed mountainsides and swam with sharks. Dads can bring out the “wild side” in their daughters. That’s why little girls like to wrestle with their daddies and bookworms, like my daughter, will get in the water with sharks. Bringing out this trait in our daughters gives them confidence, boldness, and self-assurance that they can do whatever they set their mind to do.

Fathers: It is both a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility to raise daughters. Being aware of our important role and taking the time to actively engage in their lives will pay big dividends down the road. Let’s maximize our impact on the lives of our daughters.


Mitchell S. Owens

P.S. Dads, if you’re looking for ideas on how you can interact more with your daughter, our new family devotional may be just the thing!

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  1. I have a brand new baby daughter. I will hide these 5 things in my heart and am fiercely determined to be the father she deserves. (Obviously because God gave her to my wife and I) 🙂

  2. Sadly, I got only one of those from my Dad–honesty, the brutal kind. He was not a Christian. He tried to make God obey him, when his own father was dying, by pledging to worship Jesus forever if He let his dad live. G’pa. died, so Dad renounced Him. I was with Dad when he died, and I do not believe he went to heaven, from what I observed. The last communication I got from my father was his frustrated “death look” at me. On his own death bed at home. He tried desperately not to go with what he saw coming for him, to no avail. He left a bruise around my mother’s arm, from his desperate grip, that took 1 mo. to fade away. He was a 32nd degree Mason, and I suspect he called the super-secret name they are commanded to call if they find themselves totally helpless and in need of rescue. The name is Abaddon. I don’t believe he understood who that actually was, but I believe that’s who answered. I am a Child of God, born again and destined for heaven someday. It saddens my heart to be so sure he won’t be there to greet me. I didn’t hate him, but I feared him.

    1. I feel your pain and I am sorry for your father. I am very happy for you and the fact that you haven’t let that negative portion of your life deter you from God’s ever-reaching love! May the good Lord keep you in the faith and I look forward to seeing you in heaven sister.

  3. All good things. Yes don’t forget to directly mention that telling them I love them is important. Cant wait to be there for my daughter and need to remember to be fully 100% present and not a phone, etc…

  4. Also read somewhere that the best thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother.

    1. Without a doubt! Setting an example of how a husband should treat his wife will guide her decision-making as she chooses her spouse later in life.

  5. Love your wife, as the father sets the bench mark that a daughter will look for in a husband.
    Treat your wife as you will want a man to treat your daughter some day.

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