In this series, my intention is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, one that transcends the awkwardness of puberty. (I wrote about it in more detail here.) This post is about how to be a good dad; scratch that – it’s about how to be a wonderful dad. 

I agreed that once a week I’d answer – honestly – any question my husband put to me. This is one of the most poignant questions he came up with:

Hubby: I want to be everything our daughters need in a Dad. I want to give them the best possible start in life, and I want to continue that forward. How can I be their hero?

Me: *Composes self* First of all, you’re already halfway there – wanting to be those things and acknowledging you have to work for them makes you a pretty special daddy. However, it’s essential that you’re aware of this very poignant truth:

You’ve got it wrong – because you will be their hero by default.

The real question would not be how can you be their hero, but how can you be a worthy hero?

How to be a good dad

So I’ve compiled a list for you of the things I believe will make you deserving of our daughters’ worship:

How to Be a Good Dad and A Wonderful Father

  1. Respect Women

How you interact with women is going to be a blueprint for how our daughters allow men to treat them as they mature into young women. The more respectful they see you being towards women, the more respect they will command from the men in their lives, be they bosses, colleagues or partners.

You’re in the very privileged – and responsible – position of cultivating our daughters’ self-esteem, and having a direct impact on how assertive they grows up to be.

  1. Tell Them You’re Proud of Them

This goes hand in hand with self-esteem. All children want to make their parents proud; but possibly none more so than the daughter of a father. If she feels good enough in her hero’s eyes, she will believe she is good enough for anyone else.

  1. Give Them Your Time

Nothing will tell Pixie and Elfin they’re worth your love more than the time you give them.

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Yes, I’ve no doubt they will be more than content to accept financial benefaction from The Bank of Mum and Dad; but of far greater value are the hours you spend with them reading, playing, talking, supporting.

Father and Baby

  1. Encourage Them

If you tell her it’s worth it, she’ll believe you; if you tell her she can do it, she won’t give up trying.

  1. Allow Them to Make Mistakes

Sometimes they won’t succeed. Sometimes they’ll make an error of judgement. They will need you then more than ever: to show them how to learn from the mistakes they makes, and to take lessons from those experiences. To grow as a person, gain wisdom, and do better next time.

But to flourish they need to know that though they may not always succeed, they will never be a failure to you.

With this knowledge, they will take opportunities and chances they are unsure of, which will in turn grow their confidence.

  1. Tell Them You Love Them

They need to hear this. It may be a given; it may be uncomfortable if you don’t have that type of relationship with your own dad. But this is non-negotiable in order for Pixie and Elfin to grow up feeling secure.

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  1. Show Them You Love Them – Unconditionally

Equally important is that they feel that love in your interactions with them – and that they rely on it absolutely.

There are situations where taking a relationship for granted is necessary, and none more so than for a child with their parent. Fostering that level of trust in them (with both you and I) will give us the best possible chance of them confiding in us about those issues we hope they never face…

And seeing that level of love reflected from us, even when they behave in ways more likely to evoke shame than pride, will also help teach them compassion for others.

  1. Teach Them It’s Okay to Be Wrong

If we want our daughters to grow into well-rounded, respectable women, we need to let them see us make mistakes – and own up to them. Allowing Pixie and Elfin to see we’re fallible is how we can instil humbleness and humility in them; traits which will stand them in good stead for the future.

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  1. Show Them Your Weaknesses

As their daddy, our girls will view you as almost omnipotent. This is no bad thing while they are tiny, but as they develop into young ladies it’s a dangerous belief to hold on to.

In order to prepare them for the harsh realities of life, it’s crucial that they be allowed to see your weaknesses.

Though in many cases being strong is in itself a strength, there are some situations when vulnerability can be an asset – and the braver option.

  1. Give Them Room to Grow

Our final job as Pixie and Elfin’s parents will be to teach them to spread their wings and step out of the comfort and safety of our metaphorical embrace, into the big wide world – alone. In the meantime, we can arm them with the tools to help them be successful, in every sense of the word.

But in the end it is ours not to confine them, but to set them free.

I take great delight, pleasure and pride in watching you with our daughters, and having no concerns about your ability to meet these daunting tasks. You are already a wonderful father, and I relish watching your relationship with our girls grow and develop alongside their milestones.

Like this? You can check out more of my hubby’s ponderings (and my attempts to answer them) here.

Tags

Parenting

An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.

35 Comments

  1. What a lovely post to read. Pixie is lucky to have such thoughtful and loving people as parents. This has really made it hit home for me what a huge responsibility parenting is (we are expecting our first child in June) and I can only hope we are able to fulfil these expectations for our child. #BloggerClubUK

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Jules! Thank you for your lovely comments. I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job – congratulations, and wishing your family all the very best x

  2. Realy great advice, especially the allowing her to fail as it can be so tempting not to let this happen and this can be damaging in the long run and not prepare them for adult life #bloggerclubuk

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Emma,

      You’re not wrong – my husband is always chiding me for being a helicopter parent because I’m so worried about Pixie falling and hurting herself! So I’m still mastering to do this one even though I know how important it is to her learning. Although that’s a more literal example, really I’m talking about more intangible mistakes.

      Anyway, my point is – it’s all a learning curve! We can know the right thing and still something can prevent us from doing it…

      All the best x

  3. This is such a moving piece of writing about the relationship between a Father and Daughter. I might just send it to my hubby, a brilliant Daddy to two little girls…
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      A lovely accolade! Thank you so much ? and I hope your husband enjoys it too x

  4. I really like this post. Good, balanced and realistic advice.

    My wife always joked that my eldest was a daddy’s girl from the very beginning but now she’s starting to pull towards her mother more and I’m finding that a little tricky to handle!

    #BloggerClubUK

    • Kate Reply

      Haha, I’m sure children are Like pendulums in that respect! Though I personally think all daughter’s will be inclined towards being daddy’s girls as they grow – presuming their dad is deserving of course. And sadly, often even when they’re not…

  5. Awww this is such a lovely post, coming from a girl whose relationship with there father is distant at best I think you have it completely nailed. The trick is not to loose it (like mine did). I am sure he will make a brilliant hero. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week x

  6. Such great advice and tips that I’ll take into my life as fatherhood…assuming we do have a girl! #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      Thanks so much, and I’m sure much of the advice could equally apply to boys. ?

      All the best!

  7. It’s a special bond. My own dad made me feel included in his passions (if you can include decorating as a passion), and made me feel like I was really helping (even if he had to go behind me and tighten all the screws I had put in – he never made me feel like I hadn’t done it well enough in the first place) and taking me fishing with him, which must have been trying! Thank you for bringing those memories to the surface with this post 🙂
    x Alice
    #kcakols

    • Kate Reply

      So pleased to have had that effect, thanks for your comment x

  8. This is really lovely to read and completely right. As parents we set the expectations for our children. #KCACOLS

  9. Educating Roversi Reply

    A lovely post and excellent advice. We don’t have a daughter yet but obviously I am a daughter and as a teenager who only saw her dad on weekends, it was so hard to form a close bond with him. Luckily we had lots of nice days out and they are the memories I hold close to my heart as he died when i was just 17. I still visit the regular places we went to with my son as it makes me feel closer to him.

  10. My daughter and I am very close and I think the main thing it comes down to is time and attention. Its a great list. Perfect for any parent and any child #KCACOLS

  11. This is a great list of things all parents should be aiming to achieve. It’s so handy to have a reminder of the important role we have in shaping our children, so thank you for sharing this on #KCACOLS. I hope you can make it again next Sunday x

    • Kate Reply

      Thanks so much Claire, I’m glad you liked the post ? x

  12. This is lovely, I didn’t really have a father figure I could rely on so watching my Husband’s close relationship with our daughters makes me so happy. It does worry me a bit how it will change as they get older, I think I will show him this post

    • Kate Reply

      Thank you for your very lovely comment. I hope your husband also likes the post and is able to take something from it. X

    • Kate Reply

      Thank you, that’s exactly what I thought. She’s a lucky girl to have him for her dad. x

  13. Silly Mummy Reply

    I think that’s really good advice. & I agree – it’s not about being her hero, but being worthy of it. #KCACOLS

  14. Laura @ Dot Makes 4 Reply

    Such a lovely post and such great advice 🙂
    I’ve shared it with the hubby!
    Laura xx
    #KCACOLS

    • Kate Reply

      Thank you so much Laura! That’s the best compliment I could receive. ? I hope he likes it too. xx

  15. A Moment with Franca Reply

    I also think these are all great advice!! For me the most important one is respect woman. I’m sure that Learning this from daddy is the best example for your kids as it will definitely make a difference!! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x

    • Kate Reply

      I hope so, if that’s the case then my daughter is lucky to have a great teacher. ? x

  16. What great advice. Yes all (well most) dads are heros to their kids but that doesn’t mean they can’t do more to ensure that they are always heros!

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