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Fathers play an integral role in their daughters’ lives, whether they realize it or not. Even when you don’t realize it, and even in those moments in passing, a father’s words majorly impact his daughter.

Words have power. That is why it is so important for a father to speak with intention, even in the moments he believes she isn’t listening. There are so many expectations of girls in our society. They are told to look a certain way, speak a certain way, and smile at everyone, no matter what. The thing is- as a father, you don’t want to be just another critical voice, sounding off on what she should or shouldn’t be. Instead, you need to communicate with her, let her know what she is capable of, and support her through it all.

1. I love you.

It might seem obvious, but your daughter needs to hear the words I love you, every single day. Not just in passing, but in the midst of conversation, when you are hugging her, and every moment in between. She needs to know that your love for her is unconditional.

2. You can tell me anything.

A lot of fathers believe that their daughters should lean more on their mothers, but you are just as important to them as their mother. Assure her that any time she needs to, she can talk to you about what is happening in her life.

3. You are beautiful.

Throughout the span of her life, she will likely hear the words, “You are beautiful,” many times. However, the most important person she could hear this from is you. And it doesn’t have to end with beautiful. Remind her that she is smart, pretty, fun, funny or whatever word fits her.

4. You are valuable.

Society is going to displace your daughter’s value time and time again. It is up to you to make sure she understands she is valuable and for the right reasons.

5. I will protect you.

More than anything, your daughter needs to feel safe. As her father, you are her protector. When you affirm that you will protect her no matter what-you are helping her to feel secure and safe.

6. You can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Please do not limit your daughter to just ‘girly’ aspirations. If she wants to be an athlete, show support. If she wants to be a truck driver, show her support. Let her know that she can achieve anything she works hard for and puts her mind to, within reason, of course.

7. I will always be here to support you.

She needs to know that even when you may not necessarily agree with her, you support her. When everyone else has left her hanging, she needs to know that you will not.

8. Never settle for less than you deserve.

One day, a boy will come knocking on the door. Explain to her and model for her what a gentleman looks like, and tell her to never settle for less.

9. I am lucky to be your dad.

Above all, she needs to know that you are proud to be her father. You might think she knows this, but she NEEDS to hear it time and time again.