Fathers, every man who enters her life will be compared to you; every relationship she has with a man will be filtered through her relationship with you. If you have a good relationship, she will choose boyfriends who will treat her well. If she sees you as open and warm, she’ll be confident with other men. If you are cold and unaffectionate, she’ll find it hard to express love in a healthy way.
Love her with your words. First and foremost, tell her you love her. Not just on special occasions, but regularly. That might be easy when she’s 5, but she needs to hear it even more when she is 15. Many times fathers make innocent comments that are hurtful to daughters. If you comment on her weight, physical appearance, athletic prowess, or academic achievement, she’ll focus on her “external self” and worry about retaining your love through her achievements and appearance. Your daughters want you to admire her deep, intrinsic qualities. Keep your comments positive, keep them on those qualities, and you can’t lose.
Love her with appropriate boundaries. Daughters with a curfew know that someone wants them home and probably waiting for them. Daughters without curfews wonder. Many fathers fear that enforcing rules on their daughters will only make them rebel. Some daughters do rebel–but not because of rules. They rebel because the rules aren’t balanced by anything else. Rules can’t be the center of your relationship. That’s when love comes in.
Love her with your time. Yes, you’re busy and have to travel for work. You have other kids to dote on and a wife to care for…but don’t forget your daughter(s). Make time for them doing things they like to do. Find something that both of you can share without the rest of the family.