Fathers have a profound impact on their daughters’ lives. The relationship a girl has with her dad sends a message to her about how she should be treated by others.
It’s therefore critical that a little girl hear certain things from her dad to help strengthen her self-image and self-esteem. If you have a daughter, think about whether the things you say to her are building her up and helping her develop the skills she needs to succeed.
1) “I love you.”
This sounds simple, but it’s one of the most important phrases kids can hear from their dad. Unconditional love from our parents is the building block that helps us create meaningful relationships with others.
When a daughter knows she is loved, she knows that there’s always a safe space for her no matter how bad she may feel. When she makes a mistake, has her heart broken, or just needs to talk, she’ll know that her dad is there for her.
2) “I’m here for advice.”
Children may act like they don’t want advice from their parents, but they really do. Fatherly advice is particularly helpful to girls, because dads can often help their daughters gain some insight into male behavior and interpersonal relationships.
A dad’s perspective can prove invaluable. It’s important not be too pushy about it, but be sure to let your daughter know that you are there to offer your advice when she needs it.
3) “You can do better.”
There are times when little girls need some straight talk and tough love. You shouldn’t be hyper-critical of your daughter, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to give your daughter a little push when it’s warranted.
If you think your daughter is doing something wrong or could improve her approach to a challenge, find a way to tell her. She’s ultimately going to make her own decisions, but your direction may help her make better decisions in the future.
4) “I understand you.”
As children grow, they struggle to find their place in the world and strive to develop a unique identity. During this period, it’s easy for them to feel misunderstood or like they’re alone.
A father can be there for his daughter as she works her way through these existential growing pains. Knowing that her dad has her back may give her the courage to try new things and make some mistakes as she approaches adulthood.
5) “I accept you.”
Daughters need acceptance from their fathers. They want to feel like they are valuable and that their dads are proud of them. You should do everything you can—through both actions and words—to show her that you accept her.
That means putting in the time to go to dance recitals, soccer games, swim meets, and other activities that are meaningful to her. Going to those events and showing your daughter that you support her and are proud of her efforts and achievements goes a long way toward building her self-confidence.
6) “I’m here to help.”
All children need help from their parents at some point. Whether it’s help with homework, help learning a new skill, or help with a life event, daughters need to know that their dads are there when they need them.
By helping your daughter, you show her that she’s important and a priority in your life. This will help her both realize her own self-worth and be unafraid to tackle challenges in the future.