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The Role a Father Plays in His Daughter’s Life

The Role a Father Plays in His Daughter’s Life

Fathers and daughters share a unique bond. Women lucky enough to have had a good relationship with their fathers as children can look back fondly on special occasions such as birthdays and family parties, whilst also treasuring memories of everyday pleasures like trips to the park or cozy bedtime stories.

Not only does a girl’s relationship with her father shape her childhood experience, but it will also influence how she interacts with men in her adult years. If a father is absent or erratic in his behavior, this sets his daughter up for feelings of low self-esteem and trouble with trusting men in general. All parents should therefore appreciate the importance of understanding the father’s role in his daughter’s life, as his presence (or absence) will play a role in her self-image and wellbeing for decades to come.[1]

Research has shown that women who enjoy more supportive, close relationships with their fathers tend to be less stressed and to view themselves in a more positive light compared with those who have more conflicted or toxic bonds.[2]

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So what are the traits a man should look to develop in order to build a strong father daughter relationship?

Model a Respectful Attitude Towards Women

A good father does not make sexist jokes or speak disrespectfully about women. He has the intelligence to realize that his daughter’s self-image will suffer if he does so, and knows that it is important to uphold the idea that women are of equal value to men.[3]

Inspire His Daughter to Reach Her Goals

A father should encourage his daughter to follow her dreams and show her that he believes she has what it takes to succeed. Girls habitually look to both parents for guidance and support, so fathers must make the effort to inspire their daughters whenever possible/[4]

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Teach His Daughter That She Is Worthy of a Respectful Partner

A father who treats his daughter – and his daughter’s mother – with respect is sending a clear message that women deserve good treatment from the men in their lives. This can make all the difference when his daughter begins dating. If she is used to positive support and kind behavior, she is less likely to tolerate it from abusive dates and partners.[5]

Make Time for His Daughter, No Matter How Busy He Is

One of the most important things a father can do is simply show that he is willing to be around. He should make the effort to attend special events at his daughter’s school, engage her in conversation, and take an interest in all areas of her life. This will build her self-esteem and let her know that she is a worthwhile individual.

Enjoy Activities Together

Healthy activities such as walking, biking and swimming are a great way of building memories and teaching your daughter that exercise is an important habit. Keeping fit will help her maintain a good body image, which will be a real asset as she develops into a teenager.

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Be Consistently Loving but Firm

Daughters who do not receive affection and approval from their fathers are likely to seek it elsewhere as teenagers and adults, and this may lead to an unhealthy dependency on men. Fathers can prevent this happening by telling their daughters how special and loved they are, whilst maintaining appropriate levels of discipline and upholding firm boundaries.

Know When to Ask for Forgiveness

No father can be perfect all the time. When you mess up, explain how you plan to do better next time and tell her that you are sorry. For example, if you accidentally miss her piano recital, plan an outing to make it up to her. Ask for her forgiveness and learn from your mistakes.

Always Treat Her Mother Well, Even If They Are Not Together

If a daughter witnesses her father treating her mother poorly, she will receive negative or mixed messages about how men and women relate to one another. Even if you are not with her mother, always take the high road and act in a civil manner.

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Take Her on Special Trips and Outings

Let your daughter feel special by making the time to take her out on a regular basis. A simple trip to the park with a picnic is enough to show her that you care enough to make her a priority. Take the opportunity to show her how men should treat women – with respect and dignity. Engage her in conversation and talk to her as an equal.

Show Her That Men Can Be Comfortable with Their Feminine Side

Even if you are a traditionally macho man, it is healthy to show your gentle side once in a while. Allow your young daughter to paint your nails, or why not go to a spa for the day when she is a little older? You should also be comfortable showing affection through kind words and gestures. This will allow her to grow up with a balanced view of the different ways in which men can behave.

Remind Her That She Is Beautiful Inside and Out

There is nothing wrong with telling your daughter that she is pretty, but remember to tell her how much you value her intellectual abilities and character. This will prevent her from relying on her looks to carry her through life and from placing too much value on what others think of her face and body.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Hope is not a strategy when it comes to change. Commitment is what is needed to make real change happen. Can people change? Absolutely, but exchanging your excuses for commitment is necessary to get started.

Human nature leans toward habits, which can become ingrained over the years, but that doesn’t mean habits can be undone.

The good news is that your personality and behaviors can be changed, but it is up to you. Below are some tips to help you get started with change.

1. Figure out What You Need to Change

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of something you would like to change. That’s great! The first step toward change is acknowledging that you have something you need to change.

Look at the repeated problems in your life, the issues that seem to come up time and time again. Do you keep gravitating toward the wrong relationships, but you blame the people you are choosing, rather than looking at your problem in the selection process?

Do you jump from one job to another, yet blame co-workers and bosses, rather than look at what you may be doing to cause problems and dissatisfaction on the job?

We are creatures of habit, so look at the negative patterns in your life. Then, look inside to see what’s causing these repeated life problems to occur. If you can’t figure it out on your own, consider going to a counselor for better understanding. Once you recognize the area that requires change, you can move to the next step.

2. Believe That Change Is Indeed Possible

There are people out there who believe that personality is unchangeable. When confronted with their problem, such as constant negativity, they lash back with “that’s just who I am.” It may be who you are, but does it need to be?

Change in personality and behaviors is possible. Nobody stays the same from one year to the next, let alone across a decade, so why not move change in the direction that is best for you? Be proactive about the change you want in your life, including the belief that change can occur.

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Look for success stories and people who have changed and done what you so deeply desire to do. Seeing that others have been where you have are and have accomplished the change you desire will help you in your process to accomplish that change.

3. List the Benefits of This Change

In order for people to change, they need to buy into the premise that the change is necessary for their betterment. For example, maybe your goal is to be more productive at work. There are many benefits that could come from this, including:

  • Getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
  • Having more time for your family.
  • Getting a promotion
  • Being liked and appreciated by your boss.
  • Being part of the success of the company.

One of the best ways to help yourself stick to the commitment of change is to make a list of the benefits that the change will bring in your life. Make one list of the benefits for your life and another for your loved ones. Recognizing the full spectrum of benefits, including how your change will affect those closest to you, will help you stick with the process of change.

When you have moments of weakness, or fail on a particular day or time, then getting back on track becomes easier when you review your list on a regular basis. Posting your “benefits of change” list somewhere where you see it often, such as a bathroom mirror, will help you be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing.

4. Make a Real Commitment to Change

Make a commitment to the time frame needed for the change to happen. If you want to lose 50 lbs., then set out a realistic plan of a few pounds per week and a timeline that reflects those goals.

It will take you a lot longer than a month, but setting realistic goals will help you stick to your commitment. Change happens one day at a time. It is not immediate, but over the course of time because of your dedication and commitment to the process.

It also helps if you make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.[1]

People can change using SMART goals

    An example of this would be a person who wants to become an active runner so they can tackle a half marathon. The first step would be to research what other people have done for training plans to achieve this goal.

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    Runners World lays out specifics for a beginner to train for a half marathon: “Target the Long Run: Every other week, increase your long run by 1.5 miles until you’re run/walking 13 to 14 miles. On alternate weeks, keep your long run to no longer than three miles. Your longest long run should fall two weeks before your half-marathon. Plan to take about 15 weeks to prepare for the big day.”[2]

    These kinds of specificities will help you create a personalized plan that is achievable and time-bound.

    You can learn more about writing SMART goals here.

    5. Create a Plan of Attack

    You need a set of steps outlined to succeed. This is why 12-step programs are so successful. You can’t simply walk into a meeting and be cured and changed. You need to mentally process the change in order for the change to be lasting and effective.

    Create a plan for your change. Be realistic and investigate what other people have done to change.

    For example, if you are dealing with anxiety and want to change that, then seek out therapy methods to address your problem. Stick with the therapy plan until your change process is complete. Simply hoping the anxiety will someday go away is not a plan.

    6. Commit to Action

    It is wonderful to set a goal for change and to write it down, but if you don’t act, then your mental commitment means nothing. There is no actual commitment unless action follows. To best kick start our change, the key is to act now[3].

    For example, if you committed to lose 50lbs, then now is the time to go join a gym, hire a trainer, and walk into a weight loss clinic to get support. We can make up our mind to be determined to change, but if action does not follow soon thereafter, then you will likely fail.

    If you wait until later that week, you will get caught up in doing your daily routine, things for works, taking care of others, or whatever it may be; there will be distractions that will derail you from taking action later. There is no better time to take action than when you make the decision to change.

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    For example, if you decide you want to finally write that book that is in your mind, but you don’t have a working laptop, then go and get a laptop today. Then, set aside an hour each day after work (and on your calendar) so that you can write. Instead of going out with friends after work, you are committing to achieve this goal, and you have time set aside to make that goal happen.

    7. Find a Support System

    When people want to change, finding a support system is key. A great way to find support is through group therapy or support groups. If you have a substance abuse issue, for example, you can find groups that specialize is supporting you through recovery and change.

    If you prefer to find support in the comfort of your own home, then you can look for online support forums and Facebook groups that deal with whatever change you are looking to pursue.

    Your ability to be successful in change is dependent on your ability to dive in; support systems help you with the initial dive and staying committed thereafter. and will help you stay committed to the process. Don’t underestimate the power you have by partnering with others who are seeking the same change.

    8. Get Uncomfortable

    Change should be uncomfortable. You are entering new territory and stepping out of your comfort zone. Your mind and past habits will be resistant to the change, as it is uncomfortable and difficult.

    If you give up because of the discomfort, then you are destined to fail in your pursuit of change. Embrace the discomfort associated with change and recognize that it puts you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.

    9. Stick to the Plan

    When people decide to change, sticking to it is difficult. If you get derailed from your plan, don’t berate yourself. Instead, allow yourself some margin of error and then get back on track.

    You can’t expect to go on a diet without splurging sometimes. The key is “sometimes.” The sooner you get back on track, the more successful you will be in accomplishing your change goals.

    Other researchers on the topic of change believe this process is about dedication and commitment to the change desired in our day to day lives, as Douglas LaBier from the Huffington Post so aptly stated:[4]

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    “Change occurs from awareness of what aspects of our personality we want to develop, and working hard to “practice” them in daily life.”

    Here are some tips on sticking to a plan:

    Engage in Self-Reflection

    Reflect on things that have derailed you in the past and problem solve them before they happen.

    Jot down those things that tend to get you off track. Now, list ways to combat the derailments before they happen. For example, if you are wanting to lose weight but you work late hours, then commit to morning workouts.

    If you know that in the past you would continually hit the snooze button and subsequently miss the workouts, then hire a trainer for early morning workouts. You are less likely to miss your workout if you have real money attached to it and someone counting on you to show up. You could also schedule morning workouts with a friend, so you know there is someone showing up and you don’t want to let them down.

    Brainstorm solutions for your past derailments so that this time around you are ready to stick to the plan and the commitment you have made to change.

    Define Your Commitment

    Commitment is a daily mental and physical plight when it comes to change. If your commitment is to lose weight, then be specific about how you are going to achieve your change. For example, you decide you are going to stick to 1,800 calories a day and a 1-hour workout every day.

    Then, write those goals down and chart your daily progress. Hold yourself accountable.

    Final Thoughts

    Can people change? Hopefully, by now, you believe that they can. If you have a sense of commitment and persistence, change is possible with any life experience.

    Start small, create specific goals, and don’t wait to get started. You’ll be amazed how far change will take you.

    More on How to Make Changes in Your Life

    Featured photo credit: Jurica Koletić via unsplash.com

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