Back in the old ages, raising kids was simplified; the boys were raised by their fathers and the daughters raised by their mothers. The boys would be taught to be great men in society while girls were taught how to be wives and mothers. However, modernization has redefined the role of fathers and mothers in raising children. Both parents have come to play a crucial part in their both their daughters and sons lives.
The father-daughter relationship has especially gone through some major changes. The role of a father in his daughter’s life is growing each day. These days there is a difference between girls raised by present fathers’ as opposed to absentee fathers. I was recently reading an article where a father was talking about keeping the promise he had made to his daughter about taking her to Mombasa for the December holidays. From afar, you would not think much of it, it is after all just a promise about a trip probably made hastily. However, he expressed the importance of keeping that promise to his daughter. He knew that if he did not, the daughter would probably meet a man in future who would constantly break his promises to her and she would think that it was okay.
Fathers should strive to build healthy bonds with their daughters because believe it or not, that relationship will have a great impact on how the child turns out. This bond should begin right from birth. Unfortunately for men, women have the advantage of nursing their children which is a great way to bond with their newborns. Fathers need to go the extra mile and actively spend time with the baby to create a bond. They need to be active in changing diapers, feeding them with the bottle, bathing them etc. It may not seem like much but the daughter latches on and identifies the father as a beacon of safety. It is their role to ensure that their daughter feels safe and secure. This sense of security will come into play in many of her future relationships.
Most fathers tend to shy away from their daughters in their teen years. While this may seem understandable, fathers should fight the instinct to run. Her teen years can either mould her or break her. These are the years she discovers her womanhood. And while that may not be the most comfortable of seasons, fathers need to be there. The truth is, most of these teen years are marred by confusion, bullying, peer pressure and so much more. Fathers need to build a trusting relationship with their daughters. They need to support them and help them figure out what kind people they really are. Constantly involving themselves in their daughter’s lives is a plus. It will go a long way in building confidence in themselves and their own abilities and also boosting their self-esteem.
Self-image is another aspect that fathers have a lot of influence on. How a girl carries herself at a young age has a lot to do with her environment. As much as mothers play a very active role in this avenue, fathers have their own piece of the pie. Fathers have a very distinctive role here-the ability to empower.
I distinctively remember that for the better part of primary school, my dream job switched in weeks. From watchman, to doctor, to astronaut, to an athlete. All through those many dreams, I remember my father always cheering me on in the background. He believed I could be whatever I wanted to be. The ability to make their daughters believe that they can be whoever they want to be and that they should never let anyone stop them. Fathers need to constantly give verbal encouragement. They also need to show up for their daughters, listening to them whenever they need to talk. It is a bond like this that strengthen a woman’s character in the long run.
Eventually, when the daughter is old enough, she will leave the nest and set out to start her own family. How she treats men and eventually how she allows men to treat her will have a lot to do with her father. Her father was the first man in her life. Most things she knows about how a man should behave and act she learned from him. First and foremost, fathers should teach treat their daughters with love and respect. Allow them to air their views; let her know that their opinion matters. If a father treats his daughter a certain way, she will learn to expect that of any other man she comes across. Same goes for how a father treats his wife. The daughter will pick up on how he treats his wife so he should set a great example.
In this day and era, being an active father in your daughter’s life is not that hard. Schedule one on one time with her alone. Have your own little traditions and rituals. Create a bond that will last you for the rest of your lives.