In Meg Meeker’s book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, she states this, “Fathers inevitably change the course of their daughters’ lives—and can even save them. From the moment you set eyes on her wet-from-the-womb body until she leaves your home, the clock starts ticking. It’s the clock that times your hours with her, your opportunities to influence her, to shape her character.”
“Every daughter is born with the instinctive need and desire for her father’s attention and affection.”
And from the time she is born until the time she leaves the house, this need is yours to fill. There may be times when she verbalizes these needs, but there will certainly be seasons when she doesn’t know how to. However, her needs are real, and they don’t go away, whether verbalized or not. As a father of a teenage daughter, I’m constantly learning these things myself. Dad, here are six things your daughter won’t tell you but wishes you knew.
- “I need a man in my life who won’t always let me have my way.” Children were created with the need for male leadership. This especially applies to our daughters. There will be times when your precious princess will want things that are not in her best interest. This is where your leadership must step in to save the day, even when you may be accused of ruining it.
- “I crave your physical affection even when I don’t show it.” Girls naturally love the physical affection of their fathers. In fact, according to Meg Meeker’s book, a daughter’s self-esteem is best predicted by her father’s physical affection. Our daughters need lots of hugs and other physical displays of our affection. Let’s give it to them.
- “Sometimes I don’t need you to solve my problems; I just want you to listen.” Dads, let’s admit it, we’re full of answers. But that’s the last thing our daughter needs to hear from us, not the first. She doesn’t need us to jump to the rescue with all of our answers. She simply needs us to listen to her problems. And she’ll be much more likely to hear us out if we’ve done her the favor first.
- “Even when I disrespect you, I still respect you more than you know.”Dads, if you have a daughter, prepare to have your heart broken a time or two. Because your daughter will not always understand the what and the why behind what you do for her. But know this, that regardless of what she says or does, there are very few people in the world of whom she thinks as highly as you, even when you doubt it.
- “I know you think I’m beautiful, but I wish you’d tell me often.” Every girl needs to believe she is beautiful inside and out, and she needs to be told often. No one is better to tell her this than you, and for most of her years at home, there’s no one she’d rather hear it from than you either.
- “I long to hear the words ‘I love you’ from you more than possibly anyone else.” Your daughter is seeking your approval first and foremost. And there ought not to be anyone who tells her she is loved more than you. Dad, make it a daily practice to tell your daughter “I love you”.
Sound off: In which of these ways could you give your daughter more attention and affection?