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10 Lessons Dads with Daughters Need to Learn Right Now

10 Lessons Dads with Daughters Need to Learn Right Now

1. You are the most important man in her life.

Your daughter takes her cues from you, her father, on everything from drug use, drinking, delinquency, smoking, and having sex, to self-esteem, moodiness, and seeking attention from teen boys. 

2. She needs a hero.

All it requires is that you be a man, a real man, which means a man of courage, perseverance, and integrity. You were made a man for a reason. You were made a man to be a strong, loving husband and father. So listen to your instincts, and do what’s right. Be a hero. 

3. You are her first love.

Daughters adore their fathers  or hate them -- sometimes they do both simultaneously. Your daughter yearns to secure your love, and throughout her life she’ll need you to prove it. At the beginning of her life, she will feel your love. At the end of the her life, you will be on her mind. And what happens in between is up to you. Love her extraordinarily. This is the heart of the great fathering. 

4. It’s your job to teach her humility. 

Teaching humility will demand more of you as a father. It doesn’t make sense unless it is modeled. If you live humbly, she will get it. Remember, she is a dry sponge following you around, waiting to see what you think, feel, and do. 

5. Protect her and defend her, no matter what.

Every day she gets the wrong messages loud and clear. You need to speak louder and clearer. And your voice is the only voice she really wants to hear. 

6. Pragmatism and grit are two of your greatest assets.

Fathers reach immediately for solutions while mothers yearn to understand and empathize. Your daughter needs you to be that voice of reason and pragmatism. 

7. Be the man you want her to marry.

The man you see at the end of the aisle will undoubtedly be a reflection of you -- be that good or bad. It’s the way it is: women are drawn to what they know, and you are the man who will teach your daughter about men. 

8. She needs you to teach her who God is.

Your daughter needs God. And she wants you to be the one to show her who He is, what He is like, and what He thinks about her. The fact is, your daughter is eager to hear what you think about God - and chances are she will embrace your beliefs. 

9. She needs you to teach her to fight.

As a father, your job is to provide your daughter with a moral compass, to be the voice of reason when she talks about feelings, and to show her the power of will that allows you to live with the outcome of moral reasoning. 

10. She needs to stay connected to you -- always. 

All your daughter needs is for you to spend time with her. Think of yourself as your daughter’s base camp. She needs a place to stop and settle, to reorient and remember who she is, where she started, and where she’s going. She needs a place to rest and get reenergized. You are that place. 

Being a hero to your daughter sounds daunting, but it actually can be quite easy. Protecting her and teaching her about God, sex, and humility doesn’t require a degree in psychology. It just means being a dad.

Adapted from Meg Meeker’s New York Times bestselling book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.

Meg Meeker’s Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is available now. You can also pre-order Dr. Meeker’s upcoming book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters Devotional, in bookstores May 2016.  

Publication date: February 8, 2016