Thursday, March 4, 2010

Daughters-Daddys Part 1

Little girls need their Moms - no argument there. They need the special something that only a woman’s touch can give to them (I touch on that next week). Just as importantly - they need their Daddy's just as much. Little girls grow up to be woman and those that grow up without a positive male role model often suffer on so many levels. There is so much that only a Daddy can teach them. Take note that I said a positive male role model, not just anyone who happens to be male.

My daughter’s birth father walked away from her at the tender age of three, just a few years after we divorced. Thankfully at that point in her life she still had constant contact with her Grampy which gave her in bits and pieces access to a positive, loving male figure. He doted over her, loved her gently and compassionately. But as life would have it his life turned in another direction and the time they spent together as she began to grow up became sporadic and then distant. I remember how her little heart would break when she asked “why doesn’t Grampy come around anymore”.

As a single mother I did my very best to be both mother and father to her. I worked diligently at teaching her "guy stuff" like how to play baseball and shoot a basketball, how to roller skate and build stuff. She loved to work with her hands as my dad taught her and I tried to follow through but I know I feel short of being a good male figure in her life. What I learned much later is that is wasn't the "guy stuff" I was teaching her that was the really important part. What she longed for was the emotional connection with a strong male figure. The real void was the “guy way”, you know the way that men think, feel and react to life. She missed out on that very special bond that grows between and daughter and her Daddy.

There is a special way a Daddy holds his little girls hand, the look he gives her that lets her know she is the most beautiful girl in the universe. Little girls pick up on those things. Girls need to see a positive male figure to understand how woman are suppose to be treated. They need to see woman in their lives being treated with respect, to witness them being loved and cherished by their partner. The key word here is witness. It’s one thing to be told how to be treated; however, actions speak volumes over mere words alone. How else are they going to really know what they should demand from relationships later in life? It is one thing to see a woman of strength moving through life and taking care of business. It is another to see that woman of strength being cherished for who she is by the partner that loves her.

Sadly, no matter how hard I tried to be both Mommy and Daddy, she suffered from lack of proper male role models. She needed to be shown by a man how very special she was and that she deserved to be treated like a princess. Not spoiled or totally dependent on a man that's not what I mean at all. She needed to see that she could be anyone she wanted to be and still find someone in her future that would treat her with kindness, respect and be her equal partner moving forward in her life. Daddies your little girls are going to grow up to be woman – daddies teach them how to love and what to expect in return. There is something mystical about the strength of a father in the eyes of his little girl. My Daddy passed a way over a year ago and at 47 I still think he was magical. How I miss him.

Daddy’s everywhere (or other wonderful positive male role models) you need to spend time with you daughters at every age. If you make the effort to be actively involved with them from birth everyone comes out a winner. If you are not careful you will miss there progression from toddler to woman – life happens so quickly. There is no shame in a grown man playing Barbie’s, tea party… or dancing with their little girls. Don't let the “tween” and teen years scare you into hibernation stay with them, be involved in their life. Take them for pizza or ice cream. A night with Dad could turn into a great conversation night and a time to show your growing little girl what you are made of - the grown up stuff. You helped to bring her into this world... don't let it end there. She needs to know she can count on you to be there...always. She wants to know you, even if you don’t think so – in secret she longs to be close to you and to know that you love her.

Dysfunctional relationships, low self esteem, poor self image are all big factors in young women turning to destructive behaviors, e.i. drugs, alcohol, early sexual activity. From the time they are small girls are bombarded by TV, magazines, and now the Internet showing them images of how women are suppose to look, dress and behave. Don't let the the media direct your daughter's thought process and base who she is on what the media tells her to be. Your direction here is very important... very important- do not underestimate your power as a source for your daughter's decision making process.

Help her to have a life filled with nurturing, functional relationships... show her, teach her that she deserves a future full of love and joy. Let her always be Daddy's little princess - a precious, unique gift from God!!!


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