As a daughter, I have some experience in the subject of father-daughter relationships and what makes them work. I love my father and respect him more than almost anyone I know. He tries to teach me about life, work ethic, and being tough, and I in turn try to teach him about raising girls and being an understanding male figure in my life. I owe everything I have to him and his work, and looking back on our relationship, there isn't much I would change. However, for all you new dads out there, or for the ones seeking to improve your relationship with your daughters, here are a few things you could and should do. Each relationship is different and special, so find what makes yours work.
Even after a long day of work, it's crucial to be around. That doesn't mean playing board games into the night with her. It means being seen, being available, and being alert.
No daughter wants to approach her father when he is fuming, angry, or annoyed. Try to be the type of person she can talk to and confide in.
Don't speak differently when she is around or use baby-like language. Tell her about work, about your family vacation plans, and about your day-to-day activities. I've learned so much from my dad on our weekly walks because he opens up about his work life, favorite lunch spots, or cool new movies to check out.
That doesn't mean lock up the house if a boy gets near, but be the type of person she can turn to for safety. Be strong, kill the spiders, and stay there. You might turn into her hero.
If she turns to her mom first, don't be surprised or offended. You don't want to hear about all of her crushes or her girl problems. That's what women are for. But when she does have a problem, be there to listen. Just be there!
If she doesn't know how to fix that TV that you've fixed 1000 times, be patient. She may not wash the car like you do or know how to clean the floors perfectly, but she is learning. You didn't know it all at the beginning, and she will look to you for help. Be there to help.
She may not become your best friend forever, but if you want to improve your relationship with your daughter, the first thing to do is be truly interested in her life and her goals. Know her favorite things and who her friends are. Be there for her successes, and more importantly, her failures. Know when to give constructive advice or when to sit back and listen. Love will grow throughout the process, and it will never really end. You have each other for forever, and hopefully that is something you can both smile about.
Jenna Koford is on the content team at FamilyShare. She graduated with a degree in Communications—Journalism and a minor in editing. Jenna enjoys painting and calligraphy, planning a wedding, and Pinterest and Netflix.