I think how a dad communicates with his daughters is so super important to get right because it literally affects his little girls for the rest of their lives. And as a Daddy to our little girls, we all struggle.
As a father of daughters, I often ask myself these 2 questions:
“Brian, are you helping your girls grow into women who are strong, smart, articulate, independent, aware, kind and amazingly awesome?”
“Brian, are you fucking your girls up?”
These questions are constantly on my mind. They are constantly flashing on the back of my eyelids. I try to do my best to be the best daddy to my little girls as I can be. That said, although I think I’m helping them turn into amazing young women I’m sure I’m fucking them up too.
No one is perfect, especially parents. No one is “ready” or “prepared” to be a parent no matter how many classes, books or advice one receives or tries to implement.
At the end of the day, all I can do is try my best.
I try my best to be the best dad I can be. I truly care about my girls’ happiness and more than anything I want them to have many more happy days while they’re on their life journey than not. We are all here for such a short period of time… we’re all here for a blip in time compared to how old the universe is. Being happy feels good and if we can live our lives feeling good, why not?
It’s been hard on Zoë and Kaylee with Chrystal being sick and for sure we’ve had many tears of sadness around the house. The girls are worried about their mommy and they’re struggling with the loss of having a very active mommy to a bedridden mommy. There’s nothing I can do or they can do to change the circumstances we are in. What the girls can do and, more importantly, what I can do is everything in my power to help them have a better day.
By no means am I perfect… I definitely make mountains out of molehills. I definitely raise my voice when I shouldn’t. I definitely overreact sometimes. I’m glad I’m aware of my actions. When I mess up I apologize to my children and own my mistakes.
I try to educate myself on what being a good parent and what being a good dad looks like. Before Chrystal got sick, I was a 3-books-a-week type of guy, I try to educate myself on anything I think is cool and anything I think will benefit me. Since Chrystal has been sick I’m like a 1-book-every-3-weeks type of guy. Two books I can’t recommend enough are Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the 7 Transitions Into Adulthood and Be the Dad She Needs You to Be.
I also read tons of blogs and articles on parenting. Our friend Carolina just posted this the other day and it’s amazing, “How to Discipline Your Child Without Yelling.” I feel one thing that helps me be a better parent is to learn from others.
I’m definitely not a perfect parent… far from it. That said, I strive to be the best daddy in the world to my little girls that I possibly can be.
Words and actions don’t go unnoticed!
Every single word and action we say and do in front of our little girls will affect them for the rest of their lives.
I strive to lead by example. I don’t and won’t ask them to do anything I’m not willing to do myself. If there’s one thing I heard often and truly hated and ultimately turned to resent was, “Do as I say and not as I do.” It’s something I refuse to do with my girls.
When it comes to leading by example, it doesn’t matter if it’s doing something physical in the park like hitting a rail or jump or riding the superpipe on a snowboard – I go first. Or if it’s the way they see me take care of their mommy, treating her with kindness and love. I always try to lead with love and follow with empathy and kindness… and I really hope that stays with them in the future.
As their Daddy, I am the first man they will ever love. I am the first man they will ever trust. I am the first man they will ever look to as a protector. I am the first man whose opinion will matter to them. I am the first example of a man in their lives.
The way I treat their mommy will be the way they expect men to treat them in the future. The way I speak to them is the way they will expect men to speak to them in the future. The way I act is the way they will expect all men in their lives to act.
All of my girls’ beliefs and limiting beliefs about men start with me as well as a good amount of the way they perceive the world. I take it so very seriously. Everything I do affects my girls in one way or another… either positively or negatively.
I tell my girls “I love you” more times a day than I can count. I give them positive affirmations as often as I can. When I catch them doing something right, I make a big deal out of it. When they do something wrong, I correct them and I truly try to not make it into a mountain.
The way I communicate with my girls affects their self-esteem. The way I communicate with my girls will affect them in life and will play a huge factor in how happy they will be in the future. The way I communicate with my girls will affect how successful they are in their lives. (And so you know my definition of success… If you go to bed with a smile on your face and happy, that is what success is to me.)
My communication goals.
My goal is to have a close relationship with my girls, which I do. My girls and I are super close. I want them to always know they can come to me for ANYTHING… and I mean absolutely ANYTHING without the fear of me judging them.
All girls fear being judged… by their peers, friends, teachers, coaches, extended family, their mom and especially their dad.
I feel what really screws kids up is when parents don’t listen to them. All any kid wants is attention and if parents don’t give them that attention, they will seek it out and find it elsewhere or act out in ways that make the parents pay attention to them.
Effective communication is key.
I strive to have the best communication with my daughters that I can possibly have. The way I do this is by talking to them. I speak to them like they are people; I don’t talk at them. I try to engage in meaningful conversations with my girls.
When I have conversations with my girls I am genuinely interested in knowing about my girls’ thoughts and feelings about whatever they feel is important. I value their opinions and show them and tell them I value their opinions.
I try to have conversations with my girls rather than dictate to them. I try to understand things from their point of view and try to have as much empathy as I can. I value their thoughts, feelings and opinions on whatever they find important.
I validate my girls’ feelings. They are only 9- and 10-years old and it’s so important they feel they are being heard and taken seriously.
Communication with my girls is so uber important to me. I want them to always know they can come to me with absolutely anything and I will listen and try to understand.
I don’t have all of the answers.
I don’t have all of the answers… I’m still searching for answers to my own questions. And that’s what I think is important – trying to improve myself every chance I get. I really hope this post gets your brain going on what you can do to be a better dad to your daughters and you really think about how your communication affects them and will affect them forever.