If you are not a daddy and not a little girl, this blog still applies to you. Chances are, you may one day become a daddy to a little girl or you will marry someone who was once a little girl. For those of us who are not little girls anymore, we all remember what it felt like to be one. Those of us who are lucky to have had strong fathers know the effect it has had on us in terms of increased confidence, security in the world, and self-esteem. According to Michael Austin, associate professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University and editor of Fatherhood — Philosophy for Everyone: The Dao of Daddy. “How Dad approaches life will serve as an example for his daughter to build off of in her own life, even if she chooses a different view of the world.”
I have always had a strong relationship with my dad and he is by far one of my biggest fans in life, and amazing in general, but I never knew that wasn’t the case for everyone. As I grew older, I realized many of my classmates both male and female didn’t even know their dads or did not have supportive parents overall. Maybe they were experiencing neglect, emotional or physical abuse…something I was very unfamiliar with. I know now, I am one of the lucky ones and I am so grateful.
What inspired me to write this post is not only my own experience but seeing my little girl gazing up at her daddy like he is the most important thing in her world, and the reality is, he is. He will be the first man who will show her how she should be treated, spoken to, cared for and loved. She will look to him for approval and guidance in the future. She will know that if he thinks she can do it, than she can. Her confidence will soar if she knows her dad thinks she’s beautiful, intelligent, caring, compassionate and hardworking. If she wants to be an engineer or a basketball star or a lawyer or a doctor or a homemaker one day, she will know her daddy believes in her.
If a daughter knows that she has her father to lean on no matter what; that he loves and respects her no matter what, this creates a space for her to flourish and love herself. The statistics are clear with regards to this cherished little girl choosing more stable relationships with men, being able to respond to situations in emotionally healthy ways, as well as making advances in her career.
According to Dr. Carol Langlois former University Associate Provost and Dean, trained therapist, researcher and writer of Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image “ Dads, the best gift you can give your daughters is the gift of respect. Showing her and her mother respect consistently in your actions and with your words is incredibly powerful and sets the standard for how she feels she should be treated by other men. You have the power to put a healthy pattern in motion that lasts a lifetime. The old saying “girls marry their fathers” is true. Regardless if the relationship was positive or negative, we are human and gravitate toward what’s comfortable and familiar to us. There’s no bigger job and title than dad, and none more rewarding.