The Father Daughter Relationship Is Key To A Girl's Well-Being
I know marrying a man 15 years older than myself was not an accident. It was part of a carefully executed plan on my part to actively (whether consciously or subconsciously) seek out a man who could take care of me, or in other words father me. No, I was not a fatherless child, I had a dad who was incredibly demonstrative with his love, but somewhere along the line, right about on the cusp of teendom, I needed more than he was equipped to give, or at least that is how I have rationalized my active pursuit of older men all these years later. I also know that as adults we often choose partners with whom we can work through our long held childhood issues that went unresolved with our parents. And I know this for sure... the kind of man you are attracted to and ultimately the type of spouse you choose has a direct correlation to the relationship you had, or didn't have with the first leading man in your life, your dad.
Ask any adult woman about the impact her relationship with her dad had in shaping the woman she'd become and you'll likely get an earful. The role a father plays in the evolution of his daughter is irrefutable, sacred and impacts her self-esteem, confidence and ultimately how she interacts with the men in her life and the spouse she will choose.
So of course I'm determined to ensure that my husband is cognizant of the fact that his every word and actions are being measured by our daughter, who's like a sponge soaking up every last one of his compliments and criticisms too. Unfortunately, it's no easy task convincing my husband of the larger-than-life role he plays in my daughter's universe and the lasting effects his words may have on her.
I'll admit my careful monitoring of their relationship has certainly led to some heated arguments between us. In fact since the birth of my daughter, I've made it my mission to make sure my husband knows more about dolls, One Direction, gymnastic routines and clothes shopping than he ever imagined possible. But being that my husband — like so many men I know — isn't much of a verbal communicator I am forever searching for ways to facilitate the bonding process between him and our daughter.
Joshua Levitt a naturopathic physician, father of three (including two
girls) and author of "Baby Barbells: The Dads Guide to Fitness and Fathering", a little board book for new dads that addresses involved fathering in a really fun way agrees that the father/daughter dynamic is vital to a girl's growth and self esteem.
More than ever before, fathers are taking an active role in the day to day raising of their children, notes Dr. Levitt. This movement we call "involved fathering" represents the largest social change that we have seen in the American family in generations. And it's a good thing too. Studies clearly demonstrate that children who grow up with an involved father develop sharper minds and healthier bodies, and are more confident, more sensitive, and generally more likely to succeed.
There are so many cultural and societal influences that represent major threats to our daughters' emotional and physical health; the best defense for our little girls against these threats is right there at home... dad.
Dr. Levitt offers these 5 Action Steps for Involved Fathers (which can ultimately be applied to fathering a child of ANY gender!)
Pay attention to your attention: Your email can wait. During daddy time, keep your child at the center of your attention.
One day at a time: Invest time into your child’s life on a daily basis. Commit to reading at least one story every day. (even if it’s the same one over and over and over)
Tap into your inner child: Get excited about a squirrel, marvel at a garbage truck, chase a pigeon.
Timeless treasures: Share your old favorites...Delight in rediscovering the games, stories, and songs from your childhood.
Embrace the pace: Keep your plans flexible and fluid. Take your cues from the kid, not the clock.
So tell us- how do you encourage your husband to take an active role in his daughter's life?