What Fathers Should Teach Their Daughters
Fathers have a significant impact on how well their daughters evolve into women. To help their daughter’s transition from girlhood to womanhood, fathers must teach them confidence and relationship expectations.
Most importantly, however, fathers should be role models for their girls.
Dads help mold their daughters’ self-images, with each stage of development building on the last one, making their experiences relevant.
The human brain relies on experience to create pathways of learning that result in information storage. The brain retains repetitive and useful information, and the harmful or useless information is either tucked deep into the amygdala or discarded.
A young child’s brain prunes what it doesn’t find relevant. Known as synaptic pruning, this neural housecleaning results from negative or absent relationships. The lack of a positive relationship eliminates the possibility of repetition and reduces neural growth. The connections or learning confidence wither away.
On the other hand, positive relationships nurture neurons, making them thrive. Repeated positive experiences build confidence.
Can a mom build confidence in her daughter? The answer is yes, but it is the father who teaches – either implicitly or explicitly – what kind of relationships a girl should expect to have with boys and eventually with men.
The absent father teaches his daughter that relationships could be emotionally or physically detached. A father who is present maintains a connection between himself and his daughter even if away on business or deployed overseas.
Some women have unreasonable or inappropriate expectations of the men in their lives. They may feel entitled if they were spoiled excessively as a young child or they may assume that an abusive relationship is normal if that’s what they witnessed between Dad and Mom.
Whether these expectations about relationships are conscious or subconscious, they manifest as a result of the father-daughter relationship.
What to Do
You can develop a positive relationship with your daughter and help her build the confidence she needs by modeling how you want other boys and men to treat her:
- Avoid objectifying women, or you daughter will learn that objectification is appropriate.
- Teach her what respect looks like. A daughter expects the men in their life to meet the expectations established by her father.
- Avoid stereotypical activities. Let your daughter learn how to work on the mower engine or show her how to change a tire if that’s what you do.
- Don’t limit her experiences because she’s a girl. Women go to college, have fulfilling careers and raise families.
- Spend time together. Communicate honestly, getting your daughter’s opinion about things and sharing yours.
By being the positive role model your daughter needs, she will grow into a confident woman who can identify and maintain active and healthy relationships with other men in her life.