As a Dad, do you give too much advice and not enough support?
This is something many dads do not understand. When your daughter discusses something that’s important to her, many Dads instinctively respond by giving “advice”. It’s something we dads generally do really well.
But to most girls, when we give them advice, it is almost like telling them they are not smart enough to figure things out for themselves. The message is subtle but many daughters explain that they feel this is the underlying message they are getting, when dad continually gives them advice.
Of course, for many dads, giving advice is our way of showing our love. “We care about you and want to make sure you don’t make mistakes.”
But, women (and definitely daughters) often just want their dad to be there for her; to listen, to comfort and support her. They want to know that they are smart, capable and amazing, even when they tell you about some problem or issue.
But for many dads, this is extremely difficult—just listening without providing advice. Yet this is often essential to building a strong relationship with your daughter. She needs to know that every time she comes to you with an issue, you won’t be automatically telling her how to handle it.
Instead, she wants you to let her know how amazing and smart and competent she is. In this way, as her dad you will be boosting her confidence rather than inadvertently tearing it down.
So here’s a simple way to be sure you are doing the right thing with your daughter.
If your daughter tells you about some problem she’s having, before you give advice, ask her, “Do you want my advice or do you just want me to just listen and be here for you?”
Could you, as her father, just listen and be there for her without giving advice?
Then, after the information has been given, you may ask, “Is there something you would like me to do, or are you okay?” In this way, you are being strong for her, but allowing your daughter to define what she really needs, and what is important for her.
This is an essential element in developing emotionally healthy daughters—by giving them the ability to “ask” for what they really want when confronted with an important situation.
This simple procedure alone can strengthen in immeasurable ways your relationship with your daughter, boost her self confidence in life, and make her comfortable coming to you whenever something important comes up for her.