What Every Dad Should Know About Their Daughter


Last week I was dropping my daughter off for a birthday party.  As I was leaving a man stopped me asking for direction.  He was standing with one of my daughter’s school friends.  Immediately recognizing her I put my hand out and introduced myself explaining that our daughters sit together at lunch often.  His reaction was sarcastic as he gave his daughter a side-ways glance.  I didn’t fully catch what he said but whatever it was it didn’t honor his daughter in any way.  Looking at her I could tell this was not abnormal behavior.

I’ll be honest… I wanted to punch him.

It’s challenging to articulate the influence a father has on a little girl.  How much of his attitude and actions toward her can determine her future relationships.  I remember how much stock I placed in what my dad thought of me.  I remember how much I wanted him to be proud of me.  To affirm me.  To show me my value.

I remember how he would brag about me on the sidelines of the soccer field.

How he would tell me I’m beautiful.

How he would hug me so hard I couldn’t breath.

How often he reminded me as a teenager, “Never date a boy you wouldn’t marry.”
(What a way to narrow the playing field!)

Dad’s, don’t lose sight of the impact you have today on your daughter’s future.  Here are three things I encourage you to focus on:

Affirm Her

She looks to you for affirmation, encouragement, & guidance.  As she grows through puberty (ESPECIALLY, as she grows through puberty), she needs your voice reminding her that she is beautiful, valuable and worthy of love.  If she can learn to believe you, then she’ll believe her future husband when he tells her the same things.

Set the Standard

Be the husband you want her to have one day.  Enough said.  Is it difficult?  Yes.  Does it mean sacrifice?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  I watch my husband daily making changes to be a better husband and dad.  He’s amazing.  He demonstrates for our daughter the kind of man he wants her to marry one day.

Talk About the Standard

Talk about the future.  As you “Imagine the End” and think about the man you hope she marries… talk about it!  Let her know what you expect.  Set the bar.  She’ll do everything she can to jump over it.

Let me level with you, dad.  The more you affirm her today, the less she’ll seek affirmation in some teenage boy later.


264 Replies to “What Every Dad Should Know About Their Daughter”

  1. That point was made time and again, because of the importance of choosing wisely.  If you only date someone who is marriage material, you’ll keep your sights high and your social life in perspective.  If she hangs out with less desirable types, the consequences will likely be less happy.  
    The fact that we’re talking about dads is significant, as well.  Assume for a moment that *gasp* her dad is actually married to her mom, and honors and loves her.  A good example is louder than most words he might say (but words should reaffirm his attitude towards Mom and Daughter).

  2. Really great post. I have no father, and growing up I was always really jealous of girls who had great dads and didn’t appreciate them. I’m saving this, and if I ever get married and have kids I’ll show it to my husband. Frequently.

    Thank you.

  3. You know, I read this…and at first I thought, “right on.” However, I soon got to thinking if we say the same things to our sons. Do we tell them, “never date a girl unless you’d marry her”? Or do we constantly reassure them that they are “handsome”? I don’t think so…aren’t we perpetuating the stereotype that girls have to be beautiful to have self-esteem? Just thinking on the flip side. 

  4. She could also tell by the daughters expression that this kind of behavior is routine………..judgmental crap. The guy may have been having a bad day for all we know and she is going to ,not only pass judgement on his ability to be a supportive father based on something she admits she didn’t even hear, but entertain the notion of physical violence against him. This woman is hilarious!

  5. I think different sexes get different things, no? I think it doesn’t have to be affirmations of being “beautiful” in a society way, but beautiful just as they are! For being a wonderful creation of the universe! 

  6. Yes, we tell our son to never date a girl he wouldn’t want to marry. We tell him he’s smart, we bolster his self-esteem, we teach him that he needs to care about his appearance, to be clean and well kept. We try to instill in him what it means to be a real man. Society is losing what that means and we don’t want him to be lost in that. The reason a man tells his daughter she is beautiful and loved is not to for a stereotype, it is to treat her as God treats us. We teach our son that he must honor his wife someday, he must cherish her. A father must model this to his daughter. The point is that every woman needs to feel beautiful and wanted. This begins with her father and continues with her husband someday. Its’s not a beauty thing. It’s an inner need. Our son hears his father tell me I am beautiful and precious. I don’t think I am, but he will never stop telling me, because HE believes it. No one should just date to date and mess around. If you arn’t telling your son these things then you are not teaching him to be a real man..a man of God.

  7. As a Father, AND a dad, i would like to add that my actions cannot, and will not completely direct my daughters path.  It will however help guide her, even through the darkest paths.  I have been very blessed to have a daughter who is trustworthy, courageous, caring, loving, and giving.  I realize it wasn’t me that made her that way, but my actions, caring, and loving her have helped in the molding of her heart.

  8. NO. every girl needs this affirmation, when she is growing up.  It satisfies a need.  This article is right on with the advice.  The women you are referring to, the ones who believe they must be physically beautiful, and have low self esteem and are constantly trying to “become” beautiful enough to be worthy to be loved, ARE those girls who did not have this affirmation while growing up. 

  9. The best piece of advice I ever received regarding my daughter was that as her father, I am the one who shows her what a man is like and how he should treat her. This is a great article that all fathers should read

  10. This rocks! I didn’t have a dad that did those things. I can’t imagine having one that did! I don’t have a daughter yet… but we are taking these same actions with our son!
    Thanks for the reminder of what great influence we have as parents!

  11. My husband of 42 years says his mom and dad told him that every time he went out on a date – “Don’t date a girl you wouldn’t marry!”  So, yes, I think we should say those things to our sons.  I know we turned around and said them to both our son and daughter!!

  12. It sounds to me as though God and Jesus are acceptable forms of imaginary friends that adults can have to help them through tough times, or to make them feel better when they screw up, as long as they ask for forgiveness and shallowly claim that they won’t make that mistake again.  While yes, Jesus was a walking talking person on this Earth, I think that his association with a supreme being is widely exaggerated.

    Thank you for taking your time to explain your beliefs, and your interpretation of the Bible.  I think that is part of the problem, the Bible is completely open to interpretation.  Some faiths have run with that while others have tried to stay closer to the words written in it.  In the end, the entire book is written by men, who are extremely fallible.  Claim what you will about it being God’s word… but what makes you say that it is God’s word?  Because a man several thousand years ago said it was when they wrote it down?  So then let’s talk about the Al-Sahihain, the collection of Muslim writings that are comparable to the Bible, or the many scriptures and text of Hinduism.  

    Which is true?  Which is correct?  How can we possibly follow words written about belief systems that are so old?  Sure, some of the teachings are still applicable today… but a lot of them are not.  Also, why do we spill so much blood over these belief systems?  Can’t we simply put them aside and accept that we will not all believe in the same exact things?  Without the fear mongering that states “If you don’t believe in this, and pass it down to your children, then something terrible awaits you (i.e. Hell)”, then where is the motivation to continue the faith?  Once again, religion is a means of societal control.  A way to teach people the difference between right and wrong.  A way to put fear into them for acting out against their fellow man.  A way to enslave a society.  Though some might claim that it is also a way to free a society, as they can achieve forgiveness for terrible acts against their fellow man.  I find it interesting that per capita, the U.S Prison system is mostly filled with uneducated people claiming Christianity.  While on the flip side of that most scientists are athiest or agnostic.  It would seem that knowledge is power, just not in the favor of religion.

    I do not think of all Christians the same, as many truly are trying to live good lives, and their faith is their tool to do so.

    I simply think that there has to be a better way to teach our youth how to be productive and helpful tenants on this Earth without all of the fairy tales.

  13. My 5 year old wanted to buy a little girl a present…cute, right? until I learned that he was hoping it might make her nicer to him. Since then, we’ve worked  on appreciating the nice and smart girls around him, although we’re leaving marriage out of the equation for now!

  14. Don’t forget to instill values that go beyond how to treat a husband or wife.  If your son turns out to be gay and marries a man, he might not be faithful to him because he was always taught that men only have to be faithful to women in conventional relationships.  I think its best to teach our sons and daughters to treat EVERYONE with kindness, love, respect, devotion, faithfulness. This should be taught to them for how to treat their future partner, and what to demand from them for their own self worth as well.  And then from both parents (or partners, irregardless of sex or orientation) to both of their kids, affirmation of their personal qualities. Ones that go far beyond which ones happen to only apply from a man to women or women to man.

  15. I think many mothers do…I definitely did, and still do to this day…and my husband also has tried to show him what a good husband and father looks like…no double standard in our house.

  16. That was my reaction, too. I spent several minutes trying to figure out what the author assumed: did he know the daughter and disapprove of their friendship or at least pretend to? Did he think the statement was weird? Did he make a bad pun? Was he rude, mean, insensitive, or just droll? As someone whose entire family uses bad jokes as a love language, I really had to struggle to try to focus on anything else said and avoid feeling like the author was passing judgement on my family by proxy. Maybe a bit more concrete explanation rather than, “he gave her a sideways glance and said something I didn’t hear” would help.

    It’s a pity, too, because the rest of the post was great. Hopefully Bald guy and I are the only ones weird enough to care about this. 😀

  17. Yes, I told my son he was handsome and I told him he shouldn’t have sex with a female unless he loves her. I told him sex is shared between two people that love each other. I told him he has one mother so he doesn’t need to find another “mother” to marry, he should find his best friend. I told him it’s perfectly natural to masturbate. I also told him that it was okay if he was gay, I would still love him, maybe even a little bit more, lol. And I told him the song Simple Man was my song to him.

  18. Good stuff. Me and my daughter have a routine saying which what I say every night…and my son to.

    To my daughter, I say She’s Kind, She’s Smart, and she’s Beautiful. She repeats all of it.
    To my son, I say He’s Kind, He’s Smart, He’s Handsome, and He’s Strong. He repeats all of it.

  19. I strongly recommend a good book that was recommended to me by A PERFECT STRANGER… I know believe that he was an angel sent by God to guide me hands on.  It’s “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by 
    Margaret J. Meeker M.D.

  20. Our son will not turn out to be gay because he is a Christian who knows that that sin is an abomination to God. Yes, everyone should be treated with respect and all that you stated. Some people do not deserve my respect however, and I do not have to tolerate behavior that is wrong just because a politically correct society tells me to. I do what God tells me to do and I find that in my bible. And no one “turns out” gay, they choose to be in a lifestyle that goes againest God’s plan for us. I thought this was a church website. Why are there so many ridiculous comments?! 

  21. I have an amazing father. He taught me a lot. However, coming from a divorced family, I realized the way he treated my mother had an effect on how I view myself today. It also affects the way I view the rolls that a mother and wife are supposed to fill, in an adverse way. I think to give your kids a good sense of worth and self esteem, you also need to be able to treat your spouse the way you would want your child to be treated in a relationship when they get older. 

  22. LOL at the first guest comment. God is about love and I see hatred in the words written by the first guest comment. Love the hypocrisy.

  23. I do constantly reassure my boys that they are handsome- and believe me, they are looking for that affirmation!  The pressure society puts on kids of both genders is tremendous!  And I will tell them to only date girls they would marry, I have taught them to open doors for anyone, and I will remind them when they start dating that their date is someone’s sister and to think about how they want their sisters to be treated.  This article just happens to address girls/fathers.

  24. to guest1117, where is the hypocrisy? Is it just because the writer does not agree with you and is a Christian? He did not condemn you when you stated your belief, so why would you when he states his belief? There is a hatred for sin-yes-but not for the person. God even speaks of that in the Bible when he tells us to hate what is evil. Evil is sin. Forgive one another just as Christ has forgiven us. God is love. God does hate sin. 
    I’m sorry, I’m not seeing the hatred in his words nor am I seeing the hypocrisy.

  25. The hypocrisy is in apparently not knowing what being a “Christ follower” is all about.  Jesus spent most of His time with non-believers and tax collectors in order to win them over with His love and compassion.  Get over your self- righteousness and learn how to lead others to the Lord by loving them.  You can hate sin and love the sinner.  Afterall, that’s how Jesus made such an impression on others that thousands flocked to follow Him and hear Him speak words of wisdom, encouragment and love.  You know who He spoke the worst of- calling them “broad of vipers” and “hypocrits”.  It was the priests and Rabbis.  All sins are the same in the eyes of the Lord.  “Judge not lest you be judged.”  “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.  Love, love, love 

  26. Sue, As a Christian you shouldn’t have sex unless you are married.  Not “if you love the person” but if you are married.  Love is fleeting and feelings change from day to day.  There are men I thought I loved in my life and all I can remember about them now is their name.  Love is a decision but people treat love as a feeling and that is what changes.  That’s why you should only have sex in marriage.

    Your statements are 100% politically correct and also 100% against God’s word.   I do believe some people have gay feelings and they choose to either give in or not.  It makes me think of Paul referring to his “thorn in the flesh”.  We don’t know what it is but he was tormented by it.  I would think gay feelings would be something that could torment a Christian believer.

  27. why does religion and god always come up in stories….This stuff is getting old, science is moving in get with it people…Really really think about god and how long ago the bible was written….  Amazing things happen like LIFE and sometimes you just can’t explain…  If you think your going to Hell because you do bad things well it truly sucks to be you.  Maybe something amazing did create all, but RELIGION IS JUST RIDICULOUS….I don’t want to go to a place where some of my family and friends might not be cause they were “sinners”

  28. Not to sound redundant but where’s the hypocrisy? Maybe I am missing something here but I don’t see the self righteousness that you speak of. All that is being said is what the Bible says. Hate what God hates, love what God loves. God hates sin, God loves his  children. Where’s the hypocrisy and self righteousness in that?

  29. I don’t think this man God exists.  When Humans were able to relies what death was they came up with this imagine lord in sky.. In the bible Women are suppose to stay home cook clean and take care of kids… I don’t even want to get into it….  He needs to come down in today’s society and there will be no mistakes thanks to the World Wide Web.  Humans made the Devil so when all the bad shit happens you can’t blame it on god… .Yet God created ALL thus all the bad things that happen are because of him… Hey kids the tooth fairy, Santa clause, Easter bunny etc doesn’t exists but god still does

  30. I don’t see any Biblical teaching in this story or the comments but I’ll bite anyway.  He is the Alpha and the Omega and no amount of foot stomping saying, “I don’t wanna!” isn’t going to change what happens when we leave this world.  My sins are not sending me to Hell because despite being unworthy from the womb, Jesus died for those sins so that I will be with Him, not in Hell.  If you don’t believe that, fine but I don’t see the point in talking me out of it.  You are free to die as smug as you like.

  31. I hope you accidentally left off where you tell your daughter that she’s strong, like you do your son. It’s something girls need to hear, too.

  32. I have two daughters and a son!  and I can assure you I tell him all the time how handsome he is!  hes not old enough to date BUT i would def tell him the same as my daughters

  33. Atheism… The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything, and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever, into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.  Yep. Makes perfect sense.

  34. Guest, I hate to be the one to let you know, but many children of devout Christians, with real belief and love for God find themselves attracted to members of the same sex…your faith, and even your child’s faith isn’t a guarantee against that.  My good friend is the child of Christian missionaries, through the Christian Missionary Alliance (very conservative), he’s gay, also is a gifted pastor himself…hard to get your head around I’m sure.  I hope for your child’s sake that he is not gay, because I’m not sure you’ll be able to have the grace to deal with it, but I do hope that you realize at some point that you can’t take out an insurance policy against it by regular church attendance or teaching.

  35. Wise up Dude!  Heb 12:14 FollowG1377 peaceG1515 withG3326 allG3956 men, andG2532 holiness,G38 withoutG5565 whichG3739 no manG3762 shall seeG3700 theG3588 Lord:G2962   (mentally) to venerate: – hallow, be holy, sanctify. FollowG1377 peaceG1515 withG3326 allG3956 men, andG2532 holiness,G38 withoutG5565 whichG3739 no manG3762 shall seeG3700 theG3588 Lord:G2962   (mentally) to venerate: – hallow, be holy, sanctify.

  36. actually, I have two daughters and one son. In addition to reassuring the girls, I remind my son daily that he is handsome, and what a wonderful boy he is.  I also reassure him that he is patient, thoughtful and smart.  He is the youngest of the three children,and definately not ready to “date”, but he is already adored by so many girls!  I will absolutely tell him not to bother with a girl unless he could see himself marrying her.  I will also absolutely make sure that we try to guide him so that he is the type of boy a girl WOULD marry.  He holds doors open for people, he reminds other guys that they need to be gentle with girls, and he will stick up for his sisters…sometimes to a fault.  There doesn’t have to be a double standard.  If we teach our children to have higher standards, and behave with higher standards, maybe the next generation will have more adults that treat themselves, and others, with the respect we all deserve. 🙂

  37. Hi there!
    I enjoyed reading your response.  All we have to stand on is God’s Word.  In His Word, He tells us that:
    We have all sinned.
    We all fall short of His glory.
    The wages of sin is death.

    All our good deeds add up to filthy rags in His sight.

    All unrighteousness is sin.

    God said of Jesus:”This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”
    The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    God’s desire is that none should perish but all have eternal life.
    God sent His Son not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.
    He who has the Son has life.
    He who does not have the Son, does not have life.
    For Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
    As long as there is breath there is hope.
    Seek Him while He may be found.
    Jesus said on the cross, before He died, “It is finished.”
    Nothing else needs to be done on His part to save us from our sins. 
    Today is the day of salvation.
    There is no other name by which man can be saved other than the name of Jesus.

    All this to say:

    It’s important to remember,

    If one truly wants to know God, God is faithful and will reveal Himself to him or her.

    It is by grace we are saved through faith.

    When:  We admit we are sinners and ask Jesus to forgive us our sins, turning away from them and
    ask Him to be our Lord and Savior
    trusing He took the punishment for our sins upon Him,
    then we are saved.
    We then take on the righteousness of Christ.

    The only worst sin there is that is unforgivable is not accepting by faith, Christ Jesus.

    Just wanted to share this with you!
    Love you, Katrina


  38. Are you watching ‘Ancient Aliens’ again Jacob? I told you it was time for bed. We have church tomorrow. 

  39. No, not every girl needs or wants this affirmation. Personally, I do not like to be told I am beautiful because it usually is representative of what someone thinks of my outward appearance. I’d much rather be intelligent, gracious, or kind. Fortunately, I found a wonderful man who affirms me in the ways I like to hear and doesn’t think I’m a piece of art.

  40. Guest, no, your son will not “turn out” to be gay. But, he may have been born that way. You can believe what you want to believe. We’re all entitled to our own beliefs. Can you honestly sit there and say as a parent that IF (God forbid. Yes, sarcasm) your son tells you he’s gay, you’ll not “tolerate” his “behavior?” Christian or not, our children are our flesh and blood. As a mother, there is NOTHING, NOTHING my children can do to make me not love and accept them for who they are.

  41. Yes, I do.  My daughter is 7 and my son is 5.  Just Monday night as I was tucking them is, I prayed with them and shared almost the exact same thing with them.  1.  Your husband/wife must love God more than you.  2.  Your husband/wife must love you more than I do. 3.  I tell each of them how sweet, caring, kind and handsome/beautiful they are. 4. My father-in-law DIDN’T do this and guess what, my wife has trouble accepting love from me after 15 years of loving, faithful marriage.  This is so true and we need to step up to the plate for our boys and our girls!

  42. Memowmom, nowhere in the four gospels does Jesus say anything about gays. Homosexuals can no more change their feelings toward a member of the same sex as heterosexuals can change their feelings. If it were considered sinful to feel sexual love toward someone of the opposite sex, could YOU change those feelings in yourself?  God made us all different from one another…Black, White, Yellow, Red, Brown, all in various hues. God also made us Heterosexual, Homosexual, Bisexual in various degrees. God wants us to love one another just as God loves each of us, just as we are.  No judgments, no shaming, only acceptance and support as members of the same family.  Love you, Memowmom

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