My daughter doesn’t know this, but her father did something the other day that is one of the most powerful things he could do for her.
As some sweet little girls are prone to do, Audrey had a bit of a “moment” on Sunday afternoon. She wanted to do something and had been told, “no”. The result was that there was great wailing. Loud cries came from our 7 year old and you would swear her heart was broken. The easy thing to do would have been to cave in to soothe her broken heart. As her mother, I mostly just wanted to be hysterical toward her for being hysterical. Daddy chose another response.
Nathan calmly went to her room and laid on her bed next to her and talked to her. He told her that he couldn’t let her do what she wanted because he didn’t want to encourage her wailing. He was sympathetic and calm. The most amazing thing happened. The formerly heart-broken girl stopped crying.
There are things that dads can do that moms cannot. When it comes to diffusing emotional situations, dads can have an advantage if they aren’t too afraid to enter the fray. I’m thankful my kids had a dad who isn’t afraid to be around confusing emotions. Did you know that the presence of a loving father has benefits to a little girl that are good for her emotionally and physically? It even impacts her brain chemistry. I’d call that a superpower.
The book, Bringing Up Girls, cites several studies in showing the impact of dads:
- Girls who are close to their fathers exhibit less anxiety
- Daughters who believe their fathers care about them have fewer suicide attempts, fewer instances of depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse and unhealthy weight
- Boys and girls do better academically if their fathers establish rules and exhibit affection.
- A Vanderbilt study also came to the striking conclusion that a father’s presence and positive affection and support also had an impact on the timing of puberty. (girls started puberty a bit later– they literally didn’t grow up “too fast”)
Dad’s don’t be afraid of your daughters. Your girls aren’t just the “job” of her mom. Your daughters need you too!