There is something special about the distinct bond between a man and his daughter. If you’re a dad who’s raising a girl, you know the unique challenges of cleaning inordinate amounts of hair out of the shower drain. You understand the urge to carefully scrutinize every boy in your daughter’s social circle. Fathers of daughters also know that while raising a girl can be difficult, it is especially rewarding. For a man, there’s no greater joy in life than raising a daughter to become a strong, resilient woman. Don’t be surprised when your little girl becomes the toughest member of your family.
Dads who are lucky enough to raise a daughter will be able to relate to these seven experiences, which come only from a father-daughter relationship.
1: You’re more nervous for your daughter’s first day of school than she is.
Whether it’s her first day of kindergarten or her first day of college, you have the urge to hold your daughter’s hand and sit right beside her through class. Whether she feels the same way is an entirely different story. On her first day of school, you suddenly realize that she’s braver than you are.
Recommended item to have on hand: a loving note of encouragement to slip into your daughter’s lunchbox.
2: You begin to appreciate different music.
Having a daughter exposes you to a whole world of new music. You now have a list of your favorite Ariana Grande songs, and you realize there’s nothing wrong with belting out the chorus to “Dangerous Woman” when it plays on the radio in the car. Next, you’ll have to learn to appreciate the sound of her squeaking her way through her first violin recital.
Recommended item to have on hand: your old record or CD collection to introduce your daughter to your generation’s music.
3: You find the balance between protecting her and coddling her.
You try not to be overprotective, but you want to shield your daughter from every single harm that she may face as a girl in this world. You can’t be there for every one of life’s mishaps, and you understand that although you think of her as delicate, your daughter is, in fact, tough and resilient. If she scrapes her knee or gets dumped by a boyfriend, she will heal.
Recommended item to have on hand: the old training wheels your father removed from your childhood bike.
4: You’re up-to-date on school gossip.
You know far too many personal details about the boys in your daughter’s class and which classmates your daughter and her friends have crushes on.
Recommended item to have on hand: a diary so your daughter can let out her feelings in private.
5: You know you can’t choose the boys she dates.
Although you may wish to screen your daughter’s boyfriends more carefully than the CIA would, you acknowledge the need to let her have her own life. While your input certainly matters, you understand that you can’t completely dictate the friends your daughter chooses or the guys she goes out with.
Recommended item to have on hand: a polygraph machine to interrogate every boy who enters your house.
6: You are amazed by her feminine strength.
Do swell with pride when your baby girl scores the winning goal? When her big brother roughhouses with her, are you surprised by your daughter’s toughness when she pins him to the ground? If so, you understand that undefinable feeling of gratification only experienced by a dad raising a daughter.
Recommended item to have on hand: a case to hold the many sports trophies your daughter will earn.
7: You can’t wait to watch your daughter raise kids of her own one day.
You are excited about the future, and you’re anxious to see the mother that your daughter becomes. Raising a daughter has given you a deeper connection with the women in your life, and you look forward to your daughter one day experiencing parenthood for herself.
Recommended item to have on hand: a photo album of family pictures to show your grandchildren.
So thank you to all of the dads who encourage and support their daughters in a positive way. And if you haven’t seen it yet, watch this video which follows the moments that a father and daughter share throughout the years.