Your daughter is lucky to have you as a father. Because you're her dad, your influence on her is unique to any other person's. She gets to see the world sitting on your shoulders, she has someone to teach the lyrics to awesome songs, show her how to be respectful, and she will always be protected from everything between spiders and bullies because of you.
Once you recognize how special your influence is on your daughter's life, your initiation of important conversations will become natural. So, here are four necessary conversations to have with your daughter:
1. You need to discuss her beauty
It goes without saying that your daughter needs to know she's beautiful and your influence on the subject is powerful because of your gender.
First, it's crucial that your daughter develops a healthy body image. With all the celebrities, friends and boys who influence how she views her body, your task is enormous, but you can make a positive difference. Never criticize her body or anyone's for that matter.
Secondly, teach her the value of inner beauty. It's intuitive to comment on appearance and easy for her to confuse your admiration of a woman's beauty as evidence that looks are priority. Instead, drive home the fact that her value is not based on her appearance. Teach her the importance of looking well and being comfortable with who she is (because her beauty is not a mark of her worth).
2. You need to discuss sex
This discussion is certainly not one you need to tackle solo. Her mother, aunt or trusted female friend should definitely be present. However, because you're a man, your perspective is relevant (and important) to the conversation, so you shouldn't avoid discussing it.
Although you may not feel comfortable talking about sex with your daughter, it can be casual, so long as its importance is clear. It's vital to speak openly and avoid euphemisms about the birds and the bees. This will allow her to understand that sex is OK to talk about, and set her up for healthy communication about sexual relationships in the future.
3. You need to discuss what it means to be a woman
Your young daughter has no idea anyone would consider her inferior because she's a girl. Help her avoid these ideas for as long as possible. This naivety toward a world that can be cold to women is a strength that will allow her to be herself without inhibition.
However, when she eventually faces sexism, help her understand it. Teach her the issues and where she can turn for truth about her worth and who she is. Help her feel empowered.
4. You need to discuss media
Media is becoming increasingly influential in this day and age. Endless information is difussed through social media sites and smart phone apps. If you want your daughter to be a healthy and safe consumer, you need to be the one to teach her the boundaries. Show her what is and isn't appropriate to post on the internet.
Also, teach her what types of content she should engage in. Movies and television shows are getting increasingly less appropriate for young viewers. Show her how to evaluate the content of shows using detailed rating services like the Dove Channel. Likewise, you can subscribe to the Dove Channel (get your one month free trial here) to gain access to wholesome and uplifting programs. This way, you can help her avoid the destructive influences of violent, crude and debasing media which are proven to have negative effects on children.
Dove Channel is a new digital network that provides families with a wide array of safe, wholesome, values-based entertainment for a small monthly subscription fee. Every title on Dove Channel -- movies, short-form kid vids, documentaries and episodic television series -- is reviewed and approved by trained and certified staff at the Dove Foundation. Available wherever and whenever subscribers want, on Roku, Amazon Prime, iTunes, iOS and Android devices, smart phones and tablets, Dove Channel ensures a curated environment where any selection is the right selection for family viewing.