5 Things Every Dad Needs to Teach His Daughter

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We are our children’s first and last teacher. There is so much to prepare them for, it can be overwhelming, but that just makes our job as dads that much more important.

To help with this, I have created a list of 5 things every dad needs to teach his daughter. They are by no means exclusive. There is so much to teach in what feels like so little time, that I offer a handful of suggestions to guide you on your father-daughter journey. Consider this list a starting point.

5 Things Every Dad Needs to Teach His Daughter

What “self care” really means.

You’ve likely heard mantras encouraging women to practice “self care.” Usually it’s in the context of bubble baths, shopping sprees, and massages. These are all good things.

However, what women and girls really need in order to care for themselves is confidence, encouragement, support, rest, and empathy. This is what I want my daughter to recognize is good for her body and mind, and seek places and people who offer these things. And dads, we need to be one of the first places she finds them.

How to be self sufficient.

Teach her how to change a tire and leave written directions in the car when she inevitably forgets what she is doing. She will appreciate the extra nudge when she is tempted to call you for help. Teach her how to use a drill, a saw, a hammer, and a screwdriver. Invite her to help out on your home improvement projects. Teach her how to mow the lawn and create a formidable fantasy football team.

You will get to have some incredible time together, and she will build the skills and confidence to know that she doesn’t need to rely on a man to do these things for her in the future.

Her worth comes from within.

The very first male in a girl’s life is her father. He sets the expectation for how she expects to be treated. As a father, it is my job to protect and provide for my children, as well as model how to be a good person. But it’s also my job to help her know what she is worth, and to set her expectations accordingly.

I want her to expect only the best from her friends and future partners (gulp!). In order to do this, dads, you make an effort to spend time with her one on one. You listen to her stories and ask questions about her life. You play pretend and color and invite her to do things with you. Show her that you value her and her thoughts and opinions and she will start to recognize her own value.

Kindness is beautiful.

I’m not really sure much else needs to be said here, except this: Kindness costs nothing and means everything. There is nothing more beautiful than a kind person showing empathy, compassion, and understanding to another.

That should be the measure of beauty, not clothes, shoes, or makeup. And it’s free. Absolutely free.

Life is an adventure.
Since we only get one life, it should be filled with adventures and experiences, not just things. It can be so tempting to fall into the trap of buying all of the nice and trendy things your daughter wants; but looking back, what she will remember most are the experiences and memories you created with her. So instead of buying the latest Barbie Dream House or iPhone for Christmas or her birthday, take her to see her favorite band, take her skiing for the day, or for a hike in the woods. These are experiences she will never forget.

Dads, it all comes down to this question: In 30 years, what do you want your daughter to think back on and remember most? Let your answer to that question guide you.

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