It goes without saying that daughters hold a special place in a father's heart, and most fathers feel a strong desire to nurture and protect them as only a dad can do. However, this protective instinct can create an atmosphere whereby we treat our girls differently than we would boys, going so far as to exclude them from some our activities. 

A father's presence is an invaluable part of a girl's upbringing, and will have an important influence on so many facets of her life. Our interactions are different than what she will experience with her mother, and this diversity will help to balance and broaden her view of the world and the people she meets. A father's presence will teach her the essential lessons of what is acceptable behavior in a man, serving as a guide for every future interaction she has with the opposite sex. Paying attention to our daughters will also instill them with a sense of confidence and self-esteem, which will promote the message that in a male-dominated world, girls are capable of doing anything.

Believe it or not, fathers will benefit from this interaction, as well. As far as we've come as a progressive culture, social norms are still strong, and men still tend to gravitate to male-centered pursuits. Hanging out with our daughters gives us a chance to get in touch with aspects of our character that we don't always get to pay attention to, though for many of us, this is unfamiliar territory. Embracing sensitivity and finesse can test us in ways that are unfamiliar and can be downright frightening. However, it is this transformative process of operating outside of our comfort zone that we grow as individuals and ultimately become men.

This Father's Day, why not forsake the big game or that morning "tee time" and spend it with your daughters and sons? It may require that you turn off your smartphone, which for many of us is unthinkable, but your children will thank you in ways you never imagined. Besides, with greater challenge comes greater reward, and while there is no greater challenge than being a good father to your kids, there is no greater reward than becoming a dad.

  1. Go to the park and fly a kite.
  2. Go for walk and talk about her week.
  3. Take her and her friends someplace fun (you may have to let them loose at some point).
  4. Take her to lunch.
  5. Indulge her in her favorite activity (this may require inviting her friends along).
  6. Go for a bike ride.
  7. Do some gardening.
  8. Cook a meal together (girls are just as good at grilling as guys).
  9. Make breakfast for the family.
  10. Stack some firewood.
  11. Get some ice cream (remember what her favorite flavor is).
  12. Play some tennis.
  13. Kick a soccer ball around.
  14. Toss a baseball back and forth.
  15. Take her fishing.

The sky is the limit. The key is to be present and supportive, and to let your daughter know how much she means to you. Remember, it's all about quality, not quantity. Pay attention to what is going on and be in the moment.

From all of us at Parenting Squad, have a happy and safe Father's Day.