I always tell my friends that they have to have a daughter to enjoy the full experience of fatherhood. Yes, I love my first born, my son, but I am blessed to have poppa’s little princess to share my life with as well. It is a blessing to have her by my side each and every day.
Although I have bonded strongly with my son by doing masculine activities, from coaching his sports teams to catching snakes, I have learned that the satisfaction of doing feminine activities with my daughter, even though she’s just 5, is just as pleasurable.
So, for Father’s Day, here is a list of four things that I advise all fathers do to enhance the bond between them and “daddy’s little girls.”
Cooking: As passé as it sounds, cooking with your daughter is, for lack of a better phrase, the bomb. Although we make pies and cookies together, we seem to have our best times when we are outside throwing some ribs or shrimp on the grill. Taking the time to allow her to make the skewers for the shrimp is more than fun. It is a shared experience, ending with her setting the table outside to enjoy our meal.
Planting Flowers: Again, this is an outside activity. Not only does it involve digging in the soil, but it is a teaching moment to show how working as a team is beneficial to all involved. From filling pots with potting soil to preparing soil in the garden, she will always want to work with you in the yard after such an experience.
Beauty Nights: Now, this is for real men who are comfortable with their sexuality and who realize, “If it makes my daughter happy, it makes me happy.” In this experience, I serve as a model and allow my daughter to do everything from give me a facial to even painting my nails. Clear polish doesn’t hurt. Just make sure you have plenty of towels on hand and that you don’t mind having polish on your fingers and toes. The look of seriousness on her face, mixed with her smiles, makes the mess more than worth the while.
Puzzles: This may not be anything special for many, but I have noticed that doing puzzles with my daughter also creates a special environment of one-on-one sharing time. Since puzzles take time to do, they teach patience and problem-solving. In addition, they assist in developing eye-hand coordination, improve memory skills and build a child’s self-esteem. As they become more challenging, they also teach useful life skills, such as seeing things through to completion. And the hug after completing it is more than anyone can ask for.
Now, these are just a few of the things that I do with my daughter as a single father. The truth is that the sky is the limit when it comes to the unconditional love between fathers and daughters. –torrance stephens, ph.d.