How To Be a Good Dad, as Told by Daughters
(Some names were changed to protect their privacy)
Raising a little girl requires extra attention, love, and care from a father. As the first man in his daughter’s life, a father must set a good example of how a good man acts. But how can you be a good father? What matters most? We spoke to five daughters — Angeline (34), Margaret (34), Sam (20), Patrice (12), and Colign (9) — about what makes a great dad, and what fathers need to know about raising girls. Here is what they had to say.
Provide Support and Security
Margaret grew up with two brothers. Growing up in a house with three men, it was especially important for her to feel supported — especially by her father. "Fathers — as men, in particular — can further enrich their young daughters by using their position of privilege to amplify their daughters' voices and empower them,” she tells CircleAround.
Angeline likens the importance of her late father to a security blanket. "He assured me that I will be fine, and I am invincible when I am with him. I wasn’t afraid of changes, to adaptations." She says her dad's support meant a lot, even when her life decisions did not align with his beliefs.
Sam also appreciates the security her father provided to her and her two sisters. "A father's security is something a daughter doesn’t get from anyone else," Sam says. She adds that her father offered different perspectives on situations and on life.
Patrice says of fathers of daughters: "His role as a father greatly influences his daughter on how to interact with other people."
Always Be There for Your Daughters
Margaret considers her father an incredibly dynamic, confident person. "He inspires me to keep moving forward just as he has. He has co-led our family through some very difficult things, and he has always been there for me to offer his support with no questions asked," she says.
Sam shares that her father has always been there for her. "He’s been there to comfort me when I was at my lowest, done a lot for our family, and seeing him juggle family, work, and free time for himself inspires me to do the same." Sam adds, "He’s a kindhearted man who communicates and shows his love for us. There’s nothing more I can ask for."
Patrice says her father provides for her family’s daily needs and works hard to ensure they have “enough food and a good shelter.” She explains that she respects his generosity and regards him as a hero.
Be a Hero to Your Children
Angeline sees her father as her best friend and hero. Her advice to dads? "Teach her the basics of right from wrong, and everything will follow. He will have trust and will be there for his daughter."
Margaret’s description of a hero dad is "someone who embodies positive values, uplifts people, empowers them, and inspires them.” She adds, “I think fathers who are heroes to their daughters possess the same attributes."
Sam says a dad who can admit his mistakes when he’s wrong is also worthy of hero status. "A father doesn’t have to be perfect for them to become a hero for her."
Colign says a heroic dad is someone who loves and takes care of his family.
Patrice says a heroic father is someone who prepares his daughters to face life, and someone who assures his daughters he’ll be there for them through thick and thin.
Tend to Your Father-Daughter Bond
Angeline recommends open communication to keep a father-daughter bond strong through the years. “My dad calls me every day to check up on me," Angeline says. "I don’t let a day pass by that we don’t check in on each other. He was my first love."
Margaret adds that it’s important to "keep having meaningful conversations."
Sam says that simply having one topic you and your daughter are both interested in is "enough to feel connected".
Colign says bonding time “like playing the same games and watching movies together" is a great way to stay connected.
Go the Extra Mile To Understand Your Daughter’s Experience
Margaret says it’s important for dads to understand what it’s like for women in the world. They must be a role model and equip daughters “with the tools she will need to carve out her own place in it.” She adds that it’s important for dads to "listen to women and ask them about what it was like for them to be young girls." She stresses the importance of respecting women — not because a father wants her daughter to be respected but because women simply deserve respect. Being a good dad and husband go hand in hand."If you have a wife, respect your wife with that same respect and make sure that your daughter sees it."
Sam says she thinks it’s important for dads to know what a girl goes through during her period. "To me, if someone took the time to learn about something that I experienced so they could understand me, I’d be over the moon."
The Bottom Line
There are so many ways a dad can show up for his daughter, stay connected, and illustrate his love and support for her. These daughters know what it means to be a great dad. They also know that dads can impart the best life lessons to their daughters. Sam says her father taught her to simply “enjoy what and who you have in your life." While dads can teach their daughters so much, dads should remember to always listen and learn from their daughters as well.