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The bond shared between father and daughter is a uniquely special bond. Despite our society’s desire to pretend like gender differences do not exist, fathers must approach their parenting duties with their daughters differently than they would with their sons.

Throughout the journey of fatherhood, more specifically being a father of a daughter, the father will be faced with harsh truths that can be difficult to face. While you may be thinking that I am insinuating that daughters are more difficult, it’s less of that and more so that these obstacles are typically rooted in the inherent differences between father and daughter.

Most fathers, unless they were raised around younger sisters, are going to struggle with how to approach being the father of a daughter. Here are 10 truths all dads must face.

1. She is going to have a period one day, don’t make a big deal out of it.

One day your daughter will hit puberty. When this happens, she doesn’t need you to back off, she needs you more than ever. However, don’t make too big of a deal about it either, because it’s very likely that she is already nervous, embarrassed, and confused.

2. NEVER poke fun at her about her appearance.

Do not call her chubby, make jokes about her messy hair, or say anything negative about her appearance. The things you say, jokingly or not, are going to stick with her. If you say the wrong thing, you could create an insecurity that sticks with her for life.

3. You are going to have to get comfortable saying the word vagina when referring to her private parts.

Please refrain from calling it anything but vagina. The reason being is that if she knows the proper word for it, she is far less likely to be taken advantage of by a predator because it is technically the right word. So, set aside any discomfort you have with saying the word.

4. Girls touch themselves too, don’t make a big deal about it.

Much like boys, girls grab themselves in their private regions. Unless it becomes a problem, don’t make a big deal about it. If you do, you likely are only going to make the problem worse, because telling her not to is going to make her want to do it more.

5. One day a boy is going to pay her special attention, and you are going to have to deal with it.

As she gets older, boys will start to pay her more attention. When this happens, you are not going to like it. While it is good to be clear on the rules for all of that- the fact of the matter is, this is just a rite of passage that you will eventually encounter.

6. Calling her a princess isn’t going to help her.

You may be tempted to put her on a pedestal and spoil her rotten. You may even be tempted to call her your beautiful princess all the time- but be wary of this, because by doing this, you may be setting her up for failure. The thing is, when you label her as such, she may live up to this role. Perhaps a better term for endearment is in order?

7. You are going to have to do girly stuff.

She is going to want you to play with dolls, to play with makeup, to have tea parties, and all of that. You might be tempted to back down and put this task on mom, but it’s much better to just participate in these moments with her.

8. Don’t assume that any aspect of parenting is outside of your realm, and entirely on her mother.

No part of her parenting should be placed entirely on the mom. Even if you consider it ‘girl stuff,’ she needs you, too.

9. Don’t threaten her boyfriend.

When she does get a boyfriend, you are not going to love the idea of it. However, if you threaten him, or insist that she dump him, you are only going to push her further into his arms.

10. She needs you to set a good example as a father & as the husband of her mother.

The most important aspect of your job is setting the stage for the relationships she will seek later in life. Treat her with respect, compassion, and with love. Do not be inconsistent with her, and do not treat her mother with anything less than respect. Even if you aren’t with her mom- treat her with respect, and make sure that you set a healthy example of what a relationship should look like.