FAMILY FUSION: Fatherhood to ‘dadhood’ (4)
THE BONDING OF DADS with their daughters from an early age is just as important as their bonding with sons.
Recently I met a young woman in her late 20s who had tremendous praise for her dad. She spoke of him as being a phenomenal father.
She said he laid an excellent foundation for her since she was an infant by teaching her by example and precept what a true dad is all about.
She mentioned that when she looks around within society for a potential husband and father of her children, she is often guided by her dad’s principled life as a genuine leader and distinguished man of integrity.
I thought to myself, what a glowing tribute to the kind of parent that fits the “dadhood” model. Girls need this type of example today as they face the challenges of a morally sick environment, which seeks to desensitise them away from their intrinsic worth and value.
It is therefore important that fathers understand the need for girls to have them not only as fathers but also as dads, which suggests a more intimate involvement. Here are a few of the many important needs of daughters:
Daughters need to experience unconditional love from dads:
Dads should be the first to demonstrate genuine, pure, tender, unselfish, unconditional love toward their daughters from birth, because it fosters strong emotional, social and spiritual esteem levels in their psyche.
An absence of such love can make them potential candidates for human sharks seeking to strip them very early of their ability to see what genuine love from a man entails.
A young woman once told me that her father deserted her as a child and she grew up searching for a father’s love, only to end up in the arms of individuals who took advantage of her in several pernicious ways.
Her story is similar to that of many women I know, where the absence of a dad has left them with great emotional deficits, sadly making it easy for them to be exposed to diverse indignities and indecencies.
Daughters need affirmation from dads:
From the formative years, let your daughter know how special she is, how beautiful she is developing, not only on the outside but also on the inside. Tell her how proud you are to have her as your daughter; express to her that she is unique and extraordinary; say to her that you see her as very bright and intelligent.
This verbal affirmation can act as motivation for her to set a high standard for herself and encourage robust security blocks in all areas of her personality and stimulate high levels of personal stability.
Daughters need to witness genuine love exhibited toward their mothers by their dads:
You may ask: How significant is the display of love a daughter sees exhibited toward her mother? Very significant. By such acts, your daughter is getting pictures in her mind as to the kind of man she may end up with as a life partner. Therefore, let love flow from your heart to her mother.
Set the kind of example that will show to her that faithfulness within the family is still a character trait that keeps relationships on a solid, long-lasting foundation. Commitment toward her mother may give a daughter a steady gauge as to the quality of character she may look for in a life partner.
If you run around with other women it may give your growing daughter a false sense of family and they may grow up to believe that such a lifestyle may be a good alternative that is workable for them.
As much as possible, let your commitment to your daughter’s mother be exemplary.
Daughters need to witness integrity in their dads:
Girls are growing up in today’s world where truth is said to be relative, honesty no longer seems to be the best policy and morality is losing its once firm foundation.
Daughters need to have dads who they can confidently speak of as ones whose character, when placed under the public microscope, shines forth like a beacon.
The wise man in Proverbs 20: 7 of The Bible states that “the righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him”.
Mahatma Gandhi also emphasised: “There are seven things that will destroy us: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; religion without sacrifice; politics without principle; science without humanity; business without ethics.” Dad, live a life of integrity and make your daughter proud.
Daughters need instruction from dads:
I am amazed at the number of young women who do not know a lot about males. Some of these girls get involved in diverse forms of risky sexual behaviours; submit to various forms of abuse, and yield to pressure to take substances dangerous for their mental health.
Some young men who desire to keep themselves focused are saying that they are coming up against aggressive, forward girls, who seem bent on getting them to submit to less than morally sound behaviour.
The need for a dad to sit and talk with his daughter is more than necessary, especially in light of an unchecked social media, and corrupt minds that will stop at nothing to more than whet teenagers’ curious appetite for the undesirable.
A dad educating his daughter about how men function; empowering her to set and assertively pursue wholesome goals in all areas of her life; encouraging her to bond with peers who are focused and goal-oriented, are just a few areas in which a dad needs to be involved today.
Moving from fatherhood to “dadhood” for your daughter may cause her to grow up to applaud you.
• Rev. Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email [email protected]