Dad, You Influence How Your Daughter Sees Herself


Our culture places a lot of emphasis on beauty; in turn, our daughters feel tremendous pressure to attain a predefined standard. What can dads do to influence their daughters' inner beauty and character?

How does your daughter see herself? How about your wife?

There’s a fascinating video put out by Dove—aimed at women—that explores the idea, “You’re more beautiful than you think.”

I’m not in the target audience for this campaign, but as a father, it sure was eye-opening. I have to ask myself, If my daughter described herself to a sketch artist, how would that drawing turn out—and how would it be different if I described her?

I’ll probably never fully understand the pressures girls and women feel in our culture related to their appearance, and how these pressures affect their self-image. But a few things I know without a doubt:

Physical appearance is a big deal to girls and women. And with the way they are portrayed in the media, they surely feel very little room to be less-than-perfect when it comes to their faces and their figures. And focusing on any perceived flaws impacts how they feel about themselves as people. None of us would want our wives or daughters to feel that way, but it’s easy to understand why they would.

I say it’s tragic, because appearances don’t reflect the real character of a person.

It also reminds me that our wives and daughters are probably less secure than what they may show. If they seem confident and cheerful, that doesn’t mean they don’t need plenty of affirmation from us! As husbands and fathers, we have a lot of influence on how the women in our lives view themselves, and we need to be all about affirming them—many times, every day.

I won’t say affirming their physical appearance isn’t important. It is, for sure. But we should focus even more on affirming our wives and daughters in terms of their character and what they mean to us. That helps to build them up inside, and fosters the kind of inner strength that helps them maintain a high self-worth no matter what other signals they’re getting from the culture.

The Dove campaign is powerful and insightful … and as fathers, it should motivate us even more to help our children focus on the right things. Ultimately, don’t we all want our kids to learn to place less value on a person’s appearance and more on what’s inside—a person’s heart?

We can play a big role in this area, and once again, let me point you to our ebook, 5 Things Every Child MUST Get from Dad, which goes into detail about five things your daughter needs from you, and five things your son needs. One section in the ebook hits today’s topic very well:

Go ahead and compliment your daughter when she has taken care to look attractive, just as you would a son who has intentionally spent time making sure he looks handsome. But more important is your ability to compliment her other qualities, like emotional strength, sense of humor, loyalty, intelligence, and courage. Make it clear that what you love most about your daughter are her non-physical qualities, and that even without her physical features, you would still love her just as much.

But don’t let your response end with reading something—this blog or our ebook or something else. Do something! Start a new habit in the way you express affirmation to your daughter—and your son.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey:

  • Talk with your children about what makes a person “attractive.” How much of it is purely physical, and how much is about character?
  • Have three or four specific virtues in mind for the next week—such as loyalty, courage, kindness, and respect. Really look for those in your child and be ready to point out examples you see.
  • Be creative and make sacrifices if necessary to find a shared activity that you and your daughter both enjoy. Make plans to do it regularly.
  • Make it clear to your bride and your children that your love and commitment to them will never change, and has nothing to do with their physical appearance.
  • Set an example and join your children in healthy activities—walking, running, or some other exercise.

Written by Carey Casey

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