Unsplash / Caroline Hernandez
Raising a confident woman in a day full of unrealistic expectations and issues like cyberbullying can be a real challenge, but it is not impossible. With the following tips, daddies can raise confident daughters.
Be present physically and mentally
Being around as she grows up is extremely important. Allowing her to feel abandoned is not conducive to growing up with confidence. Even if you and her mother are not together, make every effort to be there for her as often as possible.
If it is at all possible, be around more than just on the weekends. Show up to any events she is involved in, like sports or dance. When you cannot see her, give her a call or send her a text.
Also, an important part of being present goes beyond physically showing up. You need to have your head in the game. If you are going to be on your phone during her entire cheerleading practice, you might as well stay home. You need to be available both physically and mentally.
Show her what love is
Your daughter needs to see what real love is so she does not fall for the wrong thing. Treat her like a lady so she expects that from others. Treat her mother with respect, as well, even if your relationship is not the best. If your daughter sees you yelling at or mistreating her mom, she will think it is normal and expect her relationships to be the same.
Show her how she should expect to be treated by any man she lets into her life. This is not to say that she will never fall for the wrong guy or make mistakes in love. We all do that, but by showing her what she should expect, she will make better decisions in the long run.
Choose to love her
Many people mistake love for a feeling, and to an extent, that is what it is. When you feel so strongly that you would do anything for someone, you understand love. However, love is more than a feeling- it is an action.
Loving your daughter means making it to her recital even when you feel terrible or really want to be watching the game. Loving her is choosing to get up and going to work every day to provide for her, even when you simply want to lie in bed.
Loving her also means putting your pride to the side and getting on her level. When she requests your presence at her tea party, go to it. If she wants to put a boa around your neck and hands you a tiny teacup, let her. It may seem silly, but it will make a big difference in her life.
We often hear of girls who fall for the first guy who pays her attention and tell her she is pretty, and this is often a mistake. Compliment your daughter regularly so that a compliment from another will not sway her. And compliment more than just her looks- though that is important. She needs to know that she is smart, kind, and any other inner attribute you see in her.
Communicate with her
Communication is key in any relationship, and that includes parent and child. Talk with your daughter from the time she is little until and for the rest of your life. Ask her about her day at school- and listen when she talks. Talk to her about her dreams, her friends, her struggles, her hobbies- anything she is willing to talk about. By keeping the lines of communication open, she will know that you are there for her. It will also make her more comfortable coming to you about problems.
Step in when you need to, and back off when you don’t
When your daughter comes home crying about her first break up, you are going to want to be her champion. Your first inclination will be to go out and get the poor kid that broke her heart. In fact, any time she has a problem, you will want to fix it.
Sometimes, that is exactly what she needs- daddy to the rescue- but not always. Sometimes, she needs space to fix the problem herself. During these times, you have to learn to let go…just a little. Give her space to grow, but let her know you are there if she needs you.
You will also experience times when she will not want to tell you what is going on. This is normal for girls as not everything is comfortable to talk to daddy about. When these times come about, back up. Be sure that she has someone to talk to, be it a good friend or her mom, and be there if she needs you to be. Try not to interfere and, instead, let her approach you when and if the time is right.
The biggest key to raising a confident woman is being the man your daughter needs you to be. It is not about spoiling her, as some people think. It is not about using nothing but tough love. Your daughter needs love and support in her life from you so that she expects nothing less from others. You are the first man in her life and the most important. Strive to be the best man and father that you can be so that her standards are high when it comes to those she chooses to let in her life.