Men, we need you. We—mothers, daughters, and sisters—need your help to raise healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own because fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life.
I have had father issues my whole life. I was pretty close to my dad when I was a kid. I was Daddy’s princess like most of us are. But things haven’t been the same ever since my parents decided to separate. The relationship started falling out because he always saw me as a burden financially. Yes he did say that he cared about me but actions speak louder than words you see.
In high school, we were expected to show our editing skills by Wikipedia-ing one of the famous personalities. My classmates chose to write about The King, Nelson Mandela, George Washington and so on. I wrote about my dad because I respected him and was really proud of who he was. I wanted the world to know that my dad is no less than a famous personality that you know. My father has always been around but is very unsupportive of me. We argued a lot because he feels I’m not the daughter he wanted. I feel that’s the reason I do the things I do because I’ve always kind of wanted to be loved and accepted by a male figure.
I wouldn’t blame the divorce for whatever happened and I shouldn’t because a piece of paper doesn’t really change anything but even if I want to deny that, it has definitely changed the way I look at things. Do I miss him? Yes, of course I do. Am I ready to forgive him for whatever he did to our family? I forgave him long time back. The only thing I regret is not trying hard enough to make it up to him. But it’s always not up to me because it takes two hands to clap. And after all these years I feel like I now know why I did certain things in life and why I look for love in all the wrong places.
I have watched my female friends talk to their fathers. When dad comes in their room, they change. Everything about them changes: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, and their body language. Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers. They might take their mothers for granted, but not dads. They light up—or they cry. They watch dads intensely and hang on their words. We hope for the attention, and wait for it in frustration—or in despair. We need a gesture of approval, a nod of encouragement, or even simple eye contact to let us know that you care and are willing to help.
Many fathers assume they have little influence over their daughters—certainly less influence than their daughters’ peers or pop culture—and think their daughters need to figure out life on their own. But your daughter faces a world markedly different from the one you did growing up: it’s less friendly, morally unmoored, and even outright dangerous. If you fully understood just how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be overwhelmed.
When she’s in your company, your daughter tries harder to excel. When you teach her, she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence.
Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.
The only advice I can give to dads is that when you are with her, whether you eat dinner and do homework together or even when you are present but don’t say much, the quality and stability of her life—and, you’ll find, your own—improves immeasurably. Even if you think the two of you operate on different planes, even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts.
Your daughter will view this time spent with you vastly differently than you do. Over the years, she will absorb your influence. She will watch every move you make. She might not understand why you are happy or angry, affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever.
Be it good or painful, the hours and years you spend with her or don’t spend with her change who she is. Come on men, we daughters need you!