Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
So it’s Valentine’s Day. My Facebook page is going berserk with updates on what my friends got gifted, to pictures of romantic dates and of course the there’s the anti-valentine’s day brigade too. Well my husband and I have never really been the type to celebrate Valentine’s Day. These days it is so hyped up that even pre-schoolers know about it. I wonder what the day would mean to my children as they grow older. How will my little girl know how she must be treated by a man?
I want her father to show her.
Dads and daughters share a unique bond. It is no wonder, that apart from being the first man in his little girl’s life, a father is probably the most influential as well. Fathers these days want to be more hands on, and play a greater role in raising children, than the previous generation did. So here’s a checklist for daddies to help foster a special relationship with their princess.
Love her unconditionally
A daughter needs to know that she is loved and appreciated for what she is. Your actions and words go a long way in making her a more self assured and confident woman. Tell her she’s pretty, but don’t just stop at that. Compliment her on her intelligence, skills, hard work and thoughtfulness as well. She must know not to equate her self worth with her appearance.
Spend quality time
However busy life might keep you, try and make time for your little girl. Remember, quality is the key, not quantity. Let whatever time you set aside for your child be free from office calls, television and other distractions. You could even make a ritual of it, be it a walk everyday, a monthly date or a shopping spree every birthday.
I know you love your girl to the moon and back, but it is important to not treat her like a hapless little soul. Always treating her like a damsel in distress will encourage her to be dependent on others as an adult. Instead, teach her skills, nurture her strengths and encourage her to make her own decisions. This will lead to her growing to be an independent and self reliant woman.
Take interest in their life
Involve yourself in your daughter’s life, know her friends and foes and be encouraging of her interests. Try and be around for important milestones; be it her first day at school, first on stage performance or sporting event. Encourage her with positive words and actions to reiterate that you care.
Treat her like you would treat your son
Do not gender stereotype. When my mom was a child, her father taught the boys at home to swim and cycle, but did not feel it to be necessary for the girls. The times are changing and it is vital for young girls today to learn various skills to see them through life.Teach her to throw a ball, learn to drive and fix a fuse. She will thank you for it someday.
Respect the women in your life and treat them as equals so that your daughter knows how she should be treated too. How you treat her mother is especially important. Whether your wife is a stay at home mom or works outside, never demean her role in the running of the family. Managing a household is not an easy task. Balancing work and home is even harder. Appreciate and compliment her often, even in her absence. Children pick up cues from their environment.
Build strong communication lines with your daughter in her early years, and ensure you keep them open through teenage and adulthood. Take true interest in your conversations with her rather than just asking questions for the sake of it. Be approachable and let her know that she can always turn to you without the fear of being judged or condemned.
Set the bar high
They say that a woman almost always picks somebody similar to her father for her partner. Set the right standards as you model love, warmth, simplicity, courage and honesty. Ultimately, this is what she will look for in her relationships later in life.
She might outgrow your lap, but she’ll never outgrow your heart. Be her ideal man, and give her memories of childhood that she will cherish forever.