Father’s play a significant part in the way their daughter shows strength, self-worth and confidence. Father’s can also impact their daughter’s ambitions for the future. The example you set now will determine whether your daughter believes she can be powerful, strong and succeed in anything she puts her mind to.
It starts in the home, from a young age, and through out her life up until she grows into a woman. In a society that still makes it hard for women to feel confident, seen and heard, you can help make a difference by what you model and teach your daughter through out her life.
1. Encourage confidence and to take physical risks
Did you know that majority of girls aged eight to seventeen are insecure and unsure of themselves? As a father you help to build confidence in your daughter. When you speak to her, use encouraging words and agree with a no put-down rule. Help her to work out her own plans, encourage her to take calculated risks and make decisions. For example, if she’s afraid to ride a bike downhill, help her to move out of her comfort zone and encourage her to conquer a small hill first!
2. Be egalitarian in the home
We speak often about being a role model in the home. Children are constantly watching what you’re doing and in turn will subconsciously take this on as they grow up. If you want to raise your daughter to demand equality in life, then you need to practice what you preach, this can include taking on equal share of household duties, as an example. Research by The University of British Columbia found that households that have mothers and fathers who share the duties like cooking and doing the laundry demonstrate to their children that roles don’t have to be gendered. In turn, the research finds that this has a direct impact on a girl’s ambitions.
3.Have open dialogue
Discussing important topics of conversation open and honestly tells your daughter her voice is heard and that she has a right to her own opinions and beliefs. You teach her a valuable lesson that you’re entitled to speak your mind and an opinion is just as valued as any other.
4.Expose her to typically male-dominated activities and jobs
Ensure she is aware that she can do any activity she likes or grow up to work in any field, regardless of whether it has traditionally been considered ‘for boys’. This helps to remove gender stereotypes and allows her to strive for anything she’d like to pursue. According to research by Dr. Nilanjana Dasgupta, a professor of psychological and brain science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, says its crucial for fathers to talk to their daughters about work and engage in traditionally ‘male’ activities. This can include playing coding games together, building things, fixing cars, home repairs or going fishing.
5. Make it known it’s not her job to look pretty and you love her for who she is, not because of how she looks
As a girl, dressing up in different outfits, trying out new hairstyles and putting on make-up is fun and many love to do these things. As she grows, let her know that she shouldn’t feel obligated to do this, especially to please others. Remember to focus on other attributes that showcase her value, from her intelligence, her creativity, inner-strength, resiliency, compassion and humour. Her value does not reside in how she looks!