Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dads and Daughters: a Few Guidelines

I have a daughter. She captured my heart the day she was born, and I'm sure she's got it for good. The other day she started a sentence with, "Daddy, I love you." (Only she said it dragging out the "dy" in daddy and really drawing out the "love" part.) I sensed there would be a request after that and was not disappointed. I really wanted to say "no," but in the end she negotiated a "yes" out of me.

There is a special bond between a dad and his daughter, just as there is something special between a mom and her son. Most of the time the daughter doesn't trade on this bond, but once in awhile we dads get the whole "But daaaaddddyyy, I really looooooove you" pitch. Then and there we know this could be trouble.

I recently came across "50 Rules for Dads of Daughters" by Michael Mitchell. I pass along a few here that are especially helpful to me:

1. "Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she'll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that's just the way it is. I'd prefer good."

2. "Always be there. ... She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage." In other words, don't just watch from the sidelines while her life goes rushing by; help add life to her years.

3. "Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually."

4. "It's never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager ... and on her wedding day."

5. "Dance with her. Start when she's a little girl or even when she's a baby. Don't wait until her wedding day."

6. "Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic-inducing event in her life. She'll still call you crying the first time it happens."

And then there's my personal favorite: "Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you'll both be glad you stuck to your guns."

Now if I could only figure out how to say "no" without the tears, I would be a happy man.

You can read more of Mitchell's rules on the web.

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