I met a young dad today who enthusiastically told me about his adorable 2½-year old daughter. His face lit up and his eyes smiled as he shared about his little treasure, one who clearly holds the key to his heart.
When he found out that I’ve recently written a book to dads about daughters he leaned in and very intentionally asked, “In 20 seconds what advice can you give me as a dad to a daughter?”
I didn’t hesitate for a moment.
“Make sure to always drop your anger. Anger is the number one way to hurt your daughter’s heart. So even when she pushes your buttons as she gets older, make a commitment not to respond in anger as a way to assert your power because it is the most effective way to destroy her and close up her spirit.”
Though my 20 seconds were up, he was all ears. So I kept going.
“Just like Malachi 4:6 and Luke 1:17 both say, it’s all about turning your heart and not just your head towards your daughter. In fact, God says that if the hearts of fathers don’t turn towards their children that He will come and strike the land with a curse. Pretty intense, eh?”
After our short conversation I walked away and thought that perhaps my response was too negative. I wondered if it would have been better to have told him what TO do instead of what NOT to do.
But on second thought, the reality is that my reflexive, intuitive response was based on three and a half decades of interacting with girls and young women. I’ve heard more stories of heart hurts from dad’s anger than anything else. I knew I had to speak boldly and honestly in an attempt to plant this seed in his heart and mind early.
Here are five main ways that a dad’s anger impacts his daughter:
- Your anger destroys her spirit.
- Your anger shuts her down.
- Your anger crushes the core of who she is.
- Your anger causes her to give up.
- Your anger makes her believe she unloveable and unworthy and not worth loving.
My belief is that every one of you dads wants the opposite of these five things when it comes to fathering your daughter.
You want her to stay open in her spirit and live strong from her core. You want her be all of who she is created to be, coming from a deep knowledge that she is loved and worthy of being loved with the ultimate expression being that she is able to share her love with the world.
With that in mind, here’s the bottom line for you, dad: The only way your daughter will achieve this goal is for you to stay the course consistently, daily.
- Instruct her without anger.
- Discipline her without anger.
- Dialogue with her without anger.
- Disagree with her without anger.
- Lead her without anger.
Choose today to set a new course by determining that when triggered you will walk away and get your feet back on the ground before responding. Of course you are human, so when you’ve hurt her, humble yourself and make amends. Ask forgiveness. This is also a heart healing, heart restorative move.
Here’s how I know this can be done: If you were offered a million dollars to stop being harsh for a week or a month or a year, you would be motivated to do it, right?. Your daughter is your million dollar investment!
Make a covenant with your mouth not to vent anger at your daughter from this day forward.
Instead, be the life-breathing, positive voice in her head that motivates and inspires her because there’s nothing better than a daughter who she knows in the depths of her being that her dad is FOR her!
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