8 Things Every Father Must Teach His Daughter

8 Things Every Father Must teach His Daughter

My daughters Megan, Emily, and Hannah know my voice.  When they were younger, they climbed into my lap and listened to my voice as I read bedtime stories and prayed with them.  They heard my voice as I cheered them on at the soccer game, piano recital, or school play. They heard my voice as I instructed and encouraged them. As they grew, my daughters began to notice other voices of the world…voices from people and sources who would never love them like I do. In fact, those other voices were telling my daughters things that weren’t good for them and could harm them.

So my job was to do my very best to ensure that my voice of truth and love was heard loud and clear, above all others, by my girls.  And if you have sons, here are 8 Things Every Father Must Teach His Son. Here are 8 things every father must teach his daughter:

1. “You are immeasurably valuable.” We need to impress upon our daughters that their immeasurable value rests in who they are, not in what they do, what they wear, what the drive, where they live or how they look. They are valuable because they are our daughters and were created by God and for God.

2. “You are beautiful.” Every daughter needs to hear, and here often, from her dad, “You are beautiful.” Our daughters need to hear that they are not only beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside where true beauty finds its source. It doesn’t hurt to write it down either.

3. “Be a Lady.” Teach her to be a lady in the way she dresses. Girls can be modest and still be trendy. It means to use lady-like language…crassness and cussing are very unattractive. It means to use good manners. It means to draw physical boundaries and let men know that her body is reserved exclusively for her future husband.

4. “Command honor and respect from men.” The best way to teach her about the kind of man she should develop a relationship with and ultimately marry is to show her by your example in your marriage and other relationships.

5. “I Love You Unconditionally.” Our daughters need to know that we love them no matter what, and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever separate them from our love. We need to continually tell them, and show them, that we always love them.

6. “You can Always Count on Me.” No matter what, my daughters know that they can count on me to always speak the truth to them. If they ask me a question, they will get the truth. They can trust what I say because of my track record over time. They can also count on me to do what’s in their best interests. On many occasions, I have sat down with my children and advised them on someone or something they should avoid—a bad relationship, a questionable movie, an inappropriate party…or, someone or something they should embrace—a new opportunity, a good event, or a faithful friend.  When I do so, I often preface my comments with something like, “You know that I am saying this because I have your best interests at heart. And, I want you to help you avoid pain and prosper in life.”

7. “Love Others.” Loving others is our great and eternal duty. Love is all about giving selflessly and sacrificially to others. Remind her how she must take time to look beyond her own world and care for those who are hurting around her.

5 Places You and Your Kids Can Serve Others

8. “Love God.” We were created by God and for God. We are to love him with all of our being—heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is absolutely the most important thing I must teach my daughters.

So let your daughter hear your loving voice on each of these 8 things.  What are some other things you’ve taught your daughter over the years?  I’d like to hear your thoughts below.

Related Resources:

7 Things a Daughter Needs from Her Father

7 Things a Son Needs from His Father

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Anthony Fazzary

    These are 8 are great!! They will not only melt your daughter’s heart in the moment, but stay with her wherever the path takes her! #AnthonyFazzary

  • Jan R Miesse

    Love it. I’m passing this on to my sons who have daughters. Thank you!

  • Jan, thanks for passing it on.

  • Anthony, sure will!

  • lambertl08

    These are really great! The only comment I would make is that I think we need to revamp how we talk to young girls about their bodies and the boundaries that come along with it. If we tell them that their body is to be kept as a means to an end (i.e. her purity for her husband’s pleasure) then temptation will be much harder to withstand than if we dig even deeper into the truth about keeping our bodies holy because that’s simply what God has commanded. I mean, what if she doesn’t get married? Is purity only for holiness for her husband or is it holiness for God, regardless of a husband? Just something to consider! Thanks again for a great post!

  • Earth girl

    Thank you. Really helpful and great to hear.

  • My pleasure!

  • John

    I love this. I have 3 daughters of my own and cherish every minute I spend with them!

  • Craig House Images

    I disagree. 1, 4 & 5 are the only necessary things on this list. Here is what’s wrong with the other 5:

    2: 1 is more important. Value is a thing of beauty, and much less easily confused with the shallow nature of physical appearance.

    3: How a woman chooses to conduct herself is up to her. Everyone should be less crass, and we should all dial down the profane language. But if my daughter feels more comfortable as a tomboy, that’s her choice.

    6: I hope to always be there for my daughter, but she shouldn’t count on that. If by death or by some chance I become a total jerk and abandon her, I hope she would have the strength to carry on.

    7: My daughter shouldn’t assume that love is necessary to survive this life. If she finds it, great. But she shouldn’t feel obligated to love at the expense of getting hurt by those who don’t reciprocate.

    8: I want my daughter to choose her faith wisely. There are multiple spiritual answers to fit all of our needs. Some don’t need faith at all. I will love my daughter no matter what she chooses to believe.

  • cameron teeter

    8. Truth is Truth, not relative to opinions or circumstances. If you believe there is a God, then God deserves our worship(love). God designed us to be fulfilled in all of our needs primarily through a relationship with Him. I have to think the “multiple spiritual answers” path would be insulting to our Creator.
    7.Life can be difficult at times, yet we are called to love others unconditionally, regardless of reciprocation or family ties. There is not a person on Earth who will reciprocate the love they receive at all times, and if you love someone in order to get something from them in return ( ie love), is that love or just a trade?
    3.God loves all people, but he is pleased by those most who Honor him with how they live their lives. And yes, God is proud and honored by Godly Tomboys as much as he is of Godly princesses, geeks, jocks etc….

  • As it should be John!

  • JohnW

    Good word, Mark. Us dads need to hear this more often. By the tone of one gentleman, he’s not thinking anything about his girl. Yes, girls (and women) need to hear they’re beautiful. All the time. Regardless.
    Every night, for both of my kids, for nearly their entire lives, my wife and I both go into their rooms, and the last thing they hear from us – regardless of the day or evening we’ve all had – is “I love you, always and forever, no matter what”. Amen

  • Well done JohnW.

  • Karen Regling

    A girl needs to hear that she is beautiful and valued in many specific ways from her father, or she will go looking for it somewhere else.

  • Karen, so true…thanks for sharing.

  • Chris Cloer

    HI Mark, these are great. Would love to hear how you have applied practical ways to reinforce these things?

  • Thanks for the good idea for a future blog topic Chris

  • Daughtersbecomemothers

    Hello! It is always a pleasure to see the posts from Family Minute and All Pro Dad. I figured I’d share something I feel is very important that we don’t see enough of. Fellas, Dads, etc. … we simply don’t see enough of men making an effort to respect and appreciate the mother’s of these daughters. To say ‘well, I’m gonna make sure I treat the daughter in a certain, highly regarded way’, is to “choose” to still deny something that the daughter needs! What we have to realize is that no matter how we want to put a spin on things, you cannot and should not try to exclude the mother from the picture. The mother, after all , is how you even came about having the daughter. And when you leave the mother out of the picture, you are missing giving your daughter something else she needs. I am not saying that you have to have a close bond with the mother and “every time” you interact with the daughter, there has to be this connect with her Mom. I am, however, saying that the very first way you teach a daughter how she can and “should” be regarded is by having a high regard of respect and appreciation for the woman who blessed you with her (the daughter) in the first place. You cannot have the latter without the former. I was a daughter who picked up my clues from the relationship I saw before me. If I didn’t see my mother as being regarded a certain way, there was a deficit in how I felt and would ultimately regard myself. They say that a father is a girls first hero & love but please realize that the truth is we find a love and a hero in both parents for different reasons. Both images are VERY important. My mother was the first view of who I would become and what I would, could, or should be like. So what I would see in how my father would treat my mother reflected somewhere deep in me and my worth too. And to have a father show their kids, like some do, ‘well, me and Mom didn’t work out so it’s okay for me to disrespect her while I go off and find a new woman to be with and treat well’, is also operating from a lower level and standard than should be carried out by a father (the leader of the family). That is simply NOT what God has called men to do in the handling, raising, leading of his family. We must absolutely stop trying to exclude the mother so much. Otherwise the disgracing cycles we see will continue to grow. Really, what ever happened to make men look at the person who is giving her body, energy, mind to carrying their seed/ offspring, and birthing them, so that the FAMILY ( and GOD’s will) could be born and carried on, in such a way that is not somehow one of gentle handling? …. I’m just curious and rather bothered by the disgracing of family relations that I see. And men, you were made to lead. Lead with care and conviction, setting the tone from the beginning with careful thought and intent. I think the other problem is that too many people start their families as a by-product of something that’s not about commitment and Godly intentions. We have to work on that … all of us. May GOD bless us all with more awareness and actions that reflect better intentions.

  • lilith

    “It means to draw physical boundaries and let men know that her body is reserved exclusively for her future husband.”…uhm…no. Her body is her body…it does not belong to her future husband…and she has the right to share her body with whoever she pleases because it is HERS!…religion always objectifies women…STOP DOING THIS!…Maybe you should teach your sons to not view women as property…your sons do not deserve virgins because you do not teach your sons to wait for marriage…you have all corrupted your little girls…this mideval way of thiking needs to change.

  • samanthadee

    I absolutely love this and the fact that together they all make sense. #3 goes with #8 in the aspect that she should wait for her future husband because it is God’s will. I like that God wasn’t left out to avoid bothering people. Great article well done

  • Mark, I think it is awesome that you took the time to make a list of important values you want to teach your daughter. Your eight steps are more than eight examples to follow. These steps are eight ways that you plan to tell your daughter that you love and care for her. I admire you for doing this. Thank you for sharing your steps. I plan to use several.

  • DumbFounded

    Based on your views, I would rather go with the religious version. I’m not going to tell my daughter to share her body with whoever she pleases. What kind of message does that send? I don’t know which religion you’re referring to, but mine doesn’t not teach sons to “deserve” virgins but we do talk about both people saving themselves for marriage. Yes, you can join the band wagon of people who chant that the abstinence message doesn’t work, but we can agree to disagree. My children will be taught that their bodies are valuable and not something to just share with whoever they please. It’s a well-known fact that teenagers don’t make the best decisions, so why would I give tell son or daughter to do whatever they want with whoever they want b/c it’s their body?? That’s just asinine!

  • Matthew Garcia

    These are great, I would only add that we need to reaffirm to our daughters as often as we can that they are intelligent and completely capable of achieving any goal they set their mind to. Helping them to focus their energy on their intellect is another important way to help them succeed in life and lets them know how much you truly value them for who they are! A sharp intellect is substantial and is of untold value. Our job is to prepare them for the world we live in, self-sufficient women are less likely to be taken advantage of in a world full of opportunistic personalities.

  • kaylynn peters

    There are so many versions of “family” these days that the advice has to apply to fathers–even those who are not married to or living w/the
    mother of their children.

    My dad was, in our presence, cordial to my mom, which did not detract from any of the points made in this article. Since he was married, he could not dote on my mom as recommended. Also, my mom was not, and still is not a model mother. Although my dad worked to maintain the peace, my mother criticized him every chance she got. Therefore, she was not my best example of what a mother should be and neither was my stepmother, whom my dad is married to but does not live with. She too is critical of my father and often vents to and looks to me for support. I resent both mothers for 1. Not yielding to God, 2. Making us kids play referee, 3. Making us pick sides/favorites. 4. Breaking the cardinal rule of never speaking ill about a parant to a child.

    Despite the conflict between mothers, my dad did the 8 things mentioned, and that kept me through adulthood. I’ve since had to find female mentors to keep me from being the kind of women I’ve had as role models. So don’t go jumping on the what dad should do for mom bandwagon. More often than not, it’s dad who is absentee and mom who is bitter about a list of ills. As a result, the article should be reworked to switch #8 to #1. Keeping God first and having a relationship with God takes the pressure off of either parent to do everything right… Eventually, one or both parents will fall short. My mom and stepmom remain bitter. My dad has since shifted his priorities to his grandkids. I guess the stautes of limitations have run out re: how long he was obligated to do those 8 things so now neither parent is an active, meaningful part of my life…

  • Michael

    Teach daughters to be tolerant earlier in life. Tolerant across religious boundaries especially and be open to other people’s point of view. They will need that to thrive in today’s modern world.

  • Eric Petty

    I tend to disregard anything a man says when it comes to what a woman needs to hear. Good thoughts, but no man can be an expert on what women need to hear.

  • Buck

    I have an 8yr old daughter and a couple of weeks ago I took her on her First date. I dressed up and brought her flowers and did all the things us dads want the guy that finally gets permission to take our daughters out to do. I want my daughter to know how a guy is supposed to treat her and to know that no matter what or who, nobody will ever love her the way I do. These 8 things are perfect and I do believe we as dads play a major role in the way our daughters grow up!

  • Buck, way to go! That’s awesome. Keep loving your daughter well.

  • Kat

    There is no god. The Bible is made up by people in power in order to retain their power.

  • Joe

    Haven’t heard any good explanations as to what caused the big bang yet… I think you are on the wrong thread unless you have an open heart to GODLY advice and insight. While I would hate to ever encourage someone to not listen to GOD’s word or will, I do encourage those who do not have an open heart to not interject in such a forum meant for His teachings.

  • Jean

    Not at all true. A man made doctrine that girls and women think is true, because we preach it to women all the time. Then poor, gullible women and girls lick it up. 5-1-2016

  • Jean

    So true

  • Jean

    Then where are the articles that tell moms to teach sons to save their virginity for their wives? Huh?

    You can’t even see what’s going on . 5-2016

  • Jean

    A dad is not supposed to melt his daughter’s heart. That’s for her partner to do. A man should be trying to melt his wife’s heart.

    So many men in this country get creepy and weird when it comes to their daughters. Be careful dads and love all your children and take all of them out to dinner with your wife too!! Especially take your son out and tell him about how not to go around not degrading and disrespecting females..the way we see males doing all the time in this world. 5-1-2016

  • Jean

    That is for her mother too, in fact dad, slow down, stand back and don’t be overbearing. Let you all’s daughter’s mother who gave birth to her, be up front and nurture and teach the daughter, not just you. This is mom’s role TOO. You are not the only adult in that family with wisdom and knowledge.

  • Jean

    The main thing her mother and dad need to teach her is that she is vital and her opinion is important and it matters. She need to be tolerant of her own feelings, and aware that she has a voice and not let men tear her down. She needs to love herself before she loves any man, and not to exalt her dad or her husband, only her God.

    All people need to be tolerant of other people. This way she can know that women are important too in this world.

  • Beryl

    Wow, you said something quite awesome. It would nice to see your comment in a book that you write. I would buy your book, if you wrote a book on that comment.

    I truly believe that you helped many girls and women, with those words. Keep writing that comment all over the Internet. It is needed!

  • Beryl

    I don’t know your dad, but I do know some dads who drive their wives to complain. The dads expect mom to do everything silently and never have a voice. Are you kidding? Do you realize what women put up with from a man who she has to cook and clean up after?

    Moms can’t do everything and then be left to care for the children. What else do you expect a woman to do. Women feel pain, get tired, get disgusted, have women’s issues, and don’t expect for them to be robots and take all the mess from dad and children.

    Sometimes, husbands can do some disrespectful and cold things to their wives. Women shoulder a lot of mess from the husband and the children. Then the naive children sit back and think mom is the one who causes all the problems and drove dad to leave. Men can be slick, sneaky, and selfish. Jean

    Open your eyes and see the truth.

  • jeans dad

    Lol jean why dont you go somewhere no one is saying the mothers role isnt important. You’re on this post spreading negative opinions no one asked for. All the material i’ve seen asks youth male and female to save themselves for marriage. Troll be gone with your false accusations. Your opinion is your opinion and the truth is the truth.

  • These are great pointers a dad should be teaching his daughter. I couldn’t agree more on #8. Love is very important. I’m glad to have stumbled upon your site. Keep up the good work.

  • Brad

    Exactly what you put here is what I was going to. Then I scrolled down read the responses on my way to write a response and these were my exact thoughts …nicely done

  • Mark Dickinson

    Mark Merrill,

    I have three daughters and have been giving them this advice on their 16th birthday framed and with a short note from me at the bottom. I used all 8 items, but shortened a couple items. It’s been interesting to see what they do with the framed words of wisdom over the years. My oldest daughter at first didn’t pay much attention… but a few years later it’s now hanging on the wall over her dresser. My middle daughter loved it and has it on her desk. My youngest daughter gets her framed words of wisdom in one year. It’s been a nice tradition and definately a blessing. My two oldest daughters are young ladies that love the Lord without a doubt. My youngest loves the Lord, but I pray the most for her right now. Thanks so much again. Blessings to you.