Hey Dads! What do YOU have planned for your daughter(s) this weekend? Many national calendars here in the U.S. have August 2nd as Daughter’s Day. It derives from old Chinese folklore in which Zhi Nu, the daughter of the Queen of Heaven, was allowed to return to earth on this day once a year to see her husband.
Even if you don’t celebrate this obscure holiday, here are four tips for dads, stepdads, granddads, and foster/adoptive dads in raising little girls.
TAKE HER ON A DATE
At least once a month (if not more often) take her on a date so she gets to spend quality one-on-one time with you. Make a big deal of it by placing it on the calendar and letting her pick out what she will wear on that special day. Make a list of all the possible places the two of you could go and let her pick. If you already know what she would like and she likes surprises, don’t reveal where you’re going until you get there. (If you have more than one child, plan dates with each of them).
GET YOUR NAILS DONE
Take her out for a manicure or pedicure and YOU get one too! If you don’t want to spend the money and she’s old enough to be doing her own nails, ask her to do yours. One of the greatest moments I’ll always cherish with one of my daughters was the day she was painting her toenails in her room… ON HER BED! When I walked by her room and saw her with the nail polish on her bed, my first reaction was to scold her. But instead, I asked for permission to enter her room and sat with her on her bed. I then asked her if she would do my toenails too. It was the best time we ever spent together.
PLAY ROUGH WITH HER
Sometimes, we dads are afraid to get physical with our daughters because we think they’re fragile. But you won’t break her. Even though little boys tend to be more physical, little girls need it too. Play hide and seek and chase her. My favorite was always giving my daughters rides on my back, imitating an elephant as she rode on top. Before her teen years, my step daughter use to love to catch me off guard and jump on my back for a ride and not let go. Today she is so busy with her life and I miss those precious moments.
SHOW HER WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT
Your little girl will learn how to expect others to treat her by the way she sees you treat her mother. Even if you think she’s not paying attention, be sure and treat her mother as you would want young men to treat her. If you and her mother are separated or divorced, it can present a challenge. Your daughter doesn’t understand your position in the relationship, so at the very least, treat her mother with kindness and respect.
Bill Corbett has a degree in clinical psychology and is the author of the award winning book “Love, Limits, & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Cooperative Kids,” in English and in Spanish. He is happily married with three grown children, two grandchildren, and three step children. You can visit his Web site www.CooperativeKids.com for further information and parenting advice.