I know we all have quirky things about us. Among my many quirks is the fact that I love acrostics. They make it easier for me to memorize and remember things. So here is one that might click for you as you engage and re-engage your heart with your daughter in an ongoing way.
Whether you’re a dad who is already dialed-in or you are a dad who knows there is room for improvement, this way of looking at where you’re at could help you “kick it up a notch” today.
Here are Six Key Areas of Focus if You Want to be a Dad Dialed-in Dad to Your Daughter…
First love---Reflect back to when you first laid eyes on her
Get out pictures when she was a newborn and toddler---I guarantee that you will fall in love with her all over again! Doing this will help to turn your heart towards your daughter and keep your heart open, especially if you’re in a tough season with her.
Affirm---Love Bank = Making 5 deposits (positive interactions) to every 1 withdrawal
Dr. John Gottman has discovered this ratio to be the key to sustaining a healthy relationship. How many positive, affirming deposits have you made into your dad-daughter relationship account lately?
Tune in---To her world and what matters to her, even if it’s not your thing
Take time to enter into activities that interest her. Do them together if you can (without only hiring “experts” to get up close and personal). Show her by your actions that you love her, all the while remembering that her reactions and responses matter to her even if they don’t make sense to you (like when she has a meltdown over a bad hair cut, which is always a very big deal to us girls). Proactively invest in validating her while remembering that she is a work in progress and process…just like you. Give her grace to be her age.
Humor---Make time for fun and laughter while intentionally investing in enjoying her
Come up with ways to engage her in things that bring a smile to her face…and yours. Listen and watch for what makes her laugh and then connect with her around those things. Find ways to laugh together. You could ask her to write a list of her Top 10 Favorite Things That Make Her Laugh or Smile. Follow up by actively investing in creating memories around those things.
Engage---Decide to proactively and consistently learn about her life by asking questions to draw her out, not questions to interrogate her
Trust me, she’ll be able to tell the difference! Remember that your goal is not to lecture but to help her to open up so the two of you can have deeper, honest, heartfelt dialogue. Be sure to talk with her, not at her. If you notice she’s disinterested, change the subject and work hard to talk about what she’s interested in. Doing this in between times you have to set limits will help the conversations be padded with love.
Recalibrate—As the adult you have to make the first move in leading and pacing
No matter what your relational history looks like, it’s up to you to activate her heart by consistently dialing in and letting her know you care. It’s about adjusting your responses to her as a father because it’s up to you to lead by example. And if your daughter doesn’t want to connect in person right now, you can change course and write to her (click here and here to read my last two blogs this month for more ideas on how to do that).
Summing up: Your daughter needs you to dial in to her heart. Being a dialed-in dad means you are committed to doing exactly that with your daughter in some way, big or small, every single day.
Don’t give up---pursue her with real love that takes action!
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