Fathers Be Good to Your Daughters
Losing My Dad
As I cried, he held me close. "I will never leave you," he promised.
Promises made in haste, in darkened bedrooms, to crying daughters, are often forgotten when harsh light begins another cruel day. He left, and three lonely children often cried. Our crying reflected the loss of the dream, not the reality of our life with him.
The reality of life with daddy was quite different than the idealized image we created in our minds. Angry and abusive, short tempered and untrusting; I worked hard to get him to like me, in spite of the pain, the rejection and the anger.
I wanted a dad who loved me and who liked me. Instead, I was faced with a resentful man who gave away his youth and dreams to raise a family. He wore his disdain for us as a badge, proudly displaying all he had given up. His sacrifice excused his abuse. He felt beyond reproach, as he had eschewed a great life of fame and glory to work as a miner. All of his dreams, his hopes and his ambition ended when I came along, and he never let me forget that.
And yet. We cried when he was gone. Gone was the dream for us, of a family. Gone the idea of a doting father. Gone the innocence preceding the demise and collapse of our home life. I remember consoling my brother on the school bus, as we drove past a ball field, where he coached little league. We couldn't afford little league, so my brother couldn't play ball. We stared out the window in disbelief, as we watched our dad pitch the ball to so many unknown children. He played with kids. Not us. He played with the rich kids, whose dads he worked with. We rode the bus in silence, my brother growing angry, then crying. I didn't have words to console him. So I wrapped my arms around him and held him close.
Slowly dad rebuilt his life, carefully leaving out the distasteful past. Conveniently remarried, he began life anew. Moved to a better city. Got a better house. Became an engineer. Married a better wife. Fathered better children. Finally, realized the dream. Hopefully, the taste of success is a bitter one.
Fathers Be Good To Your Daughters
Father's Leave an Eternal Mark on the Hearts of Their Children
Fathers, be good to your daughters. They will grow into women, who will marry men, just like you.
Fathers be good to your sons. They will grow into men, who will be fathers, just like you.
The impact of a father on a life is an eternal thing. We forever bear the images of our fathers on our hearts, for better or worse.
The impact of a father on the life of his children cannot be understated. Girls form their self-image in large part, based on how they are treated by their father. A dad can teach a young woman that she is valuable, regardless of her looks and abilities. A dad can impart confidence, certainty and strength in his daughters.
A dad can also destroy a girl. His disdain, criticism and disproval can mar a girls self-esteem for her entire life. A girl whose dad never approves of her will spend her life trying to win the approval of men. She will try time and again to prove that she is good enough.
The problem is, that until someone teaches a woman that who she is is good enough, she will never find the acceptance and love that she craves. Until she learns that she is surrounded by love, she will never feel loved.
A strong, caring father will help his children grow into self-assured, successful adults who lead productive lives and who then teach their own children the same valuable lessons.
A weak, controlling father will hold his children back, making them believe that they can never be good enough. No matter what job they have, what accolades they achieve, what successes they enjoy, the children of a weak father will forever wonder why they can't be good enough.
A Father Sets the Mark for Future Men
Good Dad vs Bad Dad
Whether a man realizes it or not, fathers play an important role in the development of their children, and their daughters.
According to recent studies, well-fathered children are more emotionally intelligent and socially successful as adults. Being a good father doesn't only mean being there physically, but also providing emotional, intellectual, and social support. A good father validates his children, and shows them their value, not only to him and the family, but to society.
A weak father criticizes and demeans his children, never making them feel like they can do things right. He belittles them, often in front of others, and he is distant, not only physically but, more importantly, emotionally. He never offers them his love or approval. His children constantly wonder why they aren't good enough.
The following information was compiled by the Gottman Group, and demonstrates tangible ways a man can be a good father for his children.
How to Be a Good Dad
Notice low-intensity emotions as well as high-intensity emotions
Only notices harmful or escalated emotions
Sees all ranges of emotion as an opportunity to teach or grow closer
Doesn't encourage healthy emotional expression. Sees negative emotions as a personal affront
Validate and empathize all emotions, regardless of associated behavior
Dismisses emotions, tries to eliminate any negative emotions
Helps child recognize and label emotions, without judging them as good or bad
Sees emotional exploration as dangerous, harmful or a waste of time
Allows a wide range of emotions, but sets limits on poor behavior or acting out, helps child problem solve for emotional problems
Disapproves of negative emotions, punitive punishment for emotion
Accepting What Is
Many women struggle throughout their lives, trying to fill a hole in their heart, that is the shape of their father. They enter into unhealthy relationships, subconsciously hoping to fill that hole.
Women take abuse and mistreatment, seeking the approval of a man in their life, who will love them like their father should.
Years ago, I listened to Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the radio every day. One day, she was speaking with a woman who was struggling in her life, because of her relationship with her father. The woman wished that her dad was a better grandparent, because he was never present in the grandchildren's lives.
I listened intently to her story. My own father has never met any of my eight children. I could definitely relate to the woman's plight, and I was curious about how to get over my own feelings of abandonment and the sense of never being good enough.
Dr. Laura let the woman speak her peace, and then told her, "You need to accept the fact that you will never have a dad." I pulled my car over, and began to cry. Deep sobs tore through me, as I listened to her words, and realized that my dad would never be able to be the father I wanted him to be. He would never fill that role in my life, or my kids lives. I wept for several minutes, as I realized that my unmet expectations were causing me pain.
I realized in that moment that I had to give up the dream of having a dad who would love me and be proud of me and be there to cheer me on. The reality of my situation is that my father is not able to be the kind of man I wanted him to be. I could accept him as my dad, as he was willing to be, or I could continue to suffer.
Expecting something other than what is only causes misery. We have a choice in life, to be miserable, or to release misery and find peace. In my case, when I accepted the reality of the situation, that I don't have the kind of dad I would prefer, I was able to let go of my misery.
Dr. Laura advised that timely caller to openly mourn the loss of that dream, and then to get on with her life. And that is what I chose to do. I cried a bit more, over the loss of an ideal that I created in my mind, and then I wiped my eyes, and got on with my life.
What Does a Daughter Need?
Fathers, you are important. Your role in the lives of your children cannot be understated.
Be kind to your daughters. Be equally kind to your sons. Tell them you love them. Tell them they matter. Let them know they are important and valuable. Hug them close and tell them they are perfect, just the way they are. Your children need you.They need to know that you value them, that you love them, and that you are there for them, no matter what.
Your job is to be strong, to be loving, and to be there, for your kids.