Bringing Up Girls

God has chosen to bless my wife and I with three amazing daughters whom you see here to the right. The truth is probably nothing scared me more than the thought of raising daughters. Now that we have three and the oldest is nine I would not have it any other way. All three have very different strong personalities and as a result I am pushed to grow as a father daily. As a result I am always looking for good books to read on how to raise daughters.

As always Dr. James Dobson the founder of Focus on the Family does not disappoint. He first brought us Bringing Up Boys which was a best seller and as a companion he then released Bringing Up Girls. This book is the result of three years of working through research and materials. My goal here is not to give you a full review of the book but rather to share a couple key things I learned that will hopefully peak your interest enough for you to pick up the book.

My wife and I have a son as well and the first thing that struck me was because we have both boys and girls. Dobson shares that daughters will naturally take third place in the home when there. When we have sons and daugthers, we as fathers need to be careful not to let our daughters feel like a third wheel. He explains that the wife will always get attention because she is the wife. Typically the son will then get attention because it is easier for a dad to relate to the son than the daughter. Especially when the daughter starts to mature and develop and us dads start to be a little uncomfortable. Dobson encourages fathers to be aware of this and to make sure we give our girls the attention they need. Without even realizing it we can make our daughters feel less significant. I know that is one thing none of us fathers want to do. So make the extra time to make your daughter feel special.

The other thing that really spoke to me was the idea of praising your daughter simply because she is your daughter. I know in my life it can become so easy to simply praise my daughters when they do something good or special. In the book, Dobson shares interviews with some girls and in those interviews it was clear that the girls simply wanted to know that regardless their dads loved them and were proud of them. Wow, that is huge and so simple to take care. One thing I do almost every night is go in and pray with each of my kids. Now when I pray I make sure to praise God for them. I say something like this, “Lord I praise you that Alexa is my daughter and that I get to share my life with her.” It is so simple but each night it reaffirms how deeply I love them and thank God for them.

These are two of the many things I took away from the book. Fathers of girls if I were you I would read it. You will find yourself much better equipped as a father after you have finished it. Dobson does a good job of sharing the “why” behind things and at the same time giving lots of sound practical advice.

Your turn to respond: What are ways that you let your daughters know how special they are?

  • B. Douglas Todd

    I did many things for my kids that I think went beyond normal to show them my love. Like you, I have three girls and a son. But I was the oldest in a house of 7 kids, so I was pretty good at dishes, cooking, ironing, laundry and cleaning. My wife was the baby of her family, so I spent a lot of time teaching my girls.

    In a short form, the three things I want to share most are: 1. When they had friends stay all night, they almost always got breakfast in bed. Their friends were usually blown away and my girls were so excited. But, it was a small price to pay to get everyone out of bed at a reasonable time without them suspecting I was getting their butts out of bed.

    2. For one of their birthdays I had a scavenger hunt. I went to several of my favorite restaurants and a movie theater and paid for light snacks. At a Chinese restaurant they got an egg roll, at the movie theater they got a bag of popcorn and at the fast food place they got a cherry pie, etc. Each place gave then the next clue. The clues were mixed up so each of 4 teams went to the same places, but at different times. The team to complete all five places first would win. They loved it. Then back home for the party.

    3. I found that just because my kids were over the age of 18, they did not outgrow their need for my advice. I could not (and still can not) butt in on their lives, but anytime they ask for help, I make it a rule to go beyond what they ask for. ( i.e. if they asked to borrow $100.00, I gave them $125.00). When ever I borrowed money when I was young, I borrow just enough to get by on. The small extra always said “You have not reached your limit with me, and I knew you could use a little more than you asked for!” My non-interference but generous attitude kept me close with all the kids. Now I am teaching grandkids.

    • admin

      Douglas that was some great ideas of things you did with your kids! I love the breakfast idea and the giving a little extra cash when they asked for money is very insightful. Thanks for taking the time to share! IF we get creative it is amazing all the fun things we can come up with.