Dads, Do These 10 Things to Raise Confident, Strong-Minded Daughters

She's counting on you to give her the confidence and strong-mindedness needed to make it in this world - even though she doesn't realize it quite yet

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: Dads, Do These 10 Things to Raise Confident Strong-Minded Daughters

It’s been talked about and researched heavily… the influence Dads have on their daughter’s lives is profound. Interestingly, though, far too many Dads back off when their daughters become teenagers. 

Maybe it’s the fact that his little girl is going through lightning-fast physical changes and he thinks she needs her mom more.

Maybe it’s because she’s more moody, hormonal, and rather unpredictable than she used to be so he runs for cover until she emerges on the other side of puberty.

Or, maybe, now that his little girl is growing up, he simply doesn’t know where or how he fits into her life.

But I’m here to tell you, Dads, now is not the time to leave your girl floundering without the powerful love, influence, guidance, and support of her first love… YOU. 

Dads, Do These 10 Things to Raise Confident, Strong-Minded Daughters

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So, Dads, rather than take a backseat in your daughter’s life, move to the front seat (where you belong) and teach your girl to be strong, capable, confident, and resilient. 

10 Things Dads Can Do to Raise Confident, Strong-Minded Daughters

1. Treat Her Strong-Minded Mom with Respect and Love

This is a BIG one, Dads. Your daughter is watching everything you say and do (even though you’re convinced she’s totally oblivious). IF you try to “hush” her strong-willed, strong-minded Mom, IF you put her Mom down for voicing her opinion(s), IF you make all the family decisions and don’t give her Mom a powerful voice, you’re sending a very clear and negative message to your daughter. 

Strive to cultivate a unified family culture that gives everyone a respected voice – regardless of their gender OR age.

2. Allow Her to Voice Her Opinions

Whether you agree with her or not, give her the chance to voice her opinion. Listen intently, show her respect (which, by the way, goes both ways), and respond to her calmly and honestly. You may not agree. You may think her idea or opinion is ridiculous. But she needs to be “heard” to become strong-minded. She needs to know that her thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions are valued and not tossed aside as stupid, out of the question, or foolish. 

If she challenges a rule, let her. If her reasoning makes sense, change your rule. Empower her by making SURE she knows her voice matters in your family and this world.

3.  Be a Steady Presence in Her Life

Don’t walk in the door after work, toss out a “How was school t today?” question, and expect that to be enough to connect with your daughter. She needs moremuch more.

Hang out with her. Laugh with her. Go places together – even if it’s just to run through a drive-thru, pick up her favorite Starbucks, or run to Costco on a Saturday afternoon.

Get to know the changing “her,” – who she is, what she’s thinking and feeling, what her favorite kind of music is, and what her dreams and hopes are. Travel with her – family vacations offer plenty of opportunities to connect doing fun and adventurous things! More than anything, Dad, SHOW UP – for her games and recitals, practices and tournaments. Be there when she’s all dressed up for the big middle school dance, homecoming, and prom. Be there when she gets her driver’s license and goes on her first date. Be her biggest cheerleader!

While you may not be able to show up every time, the more steady your involvement is in your daughter’s life, the more she’ll know she can count on you – and, the more she can count on you, the more confident she’ll become!

4. Let Her Know No Topic is Off Limits

When my oldest daughter started dating, I remember she asked my husband if it was okay to let the boy kiss her on the first date. I might have come up with a different answer, but my husband said, “As long as you have set boundaries in place and you feel comfortable allowing him to kiss you, sure it’s okay. if you’re not comfortable, don’t do it.”  In that one powerful answer, my husband reminded my daughter how important boundaries were but also gave her the freedom to draw from her own feelings and say “NO,” if it didn’t feel right. 

Dads, you have a powerful perspective your girl can’t get anywhere else. Don’t be afraid to get into those “uncomfortable” topics like boys and relationships, sex and drugs, peer pressure and PMS. You can guide her with your words, your own experiences, and, mostly, your lighthearted and silly Dad humor.

5. Teach Her Things – Including How to Take a Punch (Literally and Figuratively)

Teach her how to change a tire, change the oil in her car, throw a football, invest her money, grill a great steak, and take (and throw) a punch figuratively and literally – toss gender stereotypes aside! 

Teach her the importance of standing up for herself with confidence, class, and poise when others do her wrong.

Your strength and commanding presence are just what your daughter needs to find it within herself to be strong and confident and not take anyone’s crap. Never underestimate your ability to teach your daughter to be fierce. 

6. Loosen Your Grip So She Gains Independence

Give her choices. Let her make some decisions on her own. Let her make a few mistakes along the way so she’ll learn. Loosen your grip (age-appropriately, of course) so she can figure out what she’s made of, that she really CAN, and become independent. 

Teach her that while independence is a wonderful thing, needing help certainly isn’t a weakness, and asking for it demonstrates strength. When she does well, praise her. When she fumbles, stand ready to help her back up with a “You did great! I’m proud of you! Now let’s give that another try,” vote of confidence.

7. Empower Her With Self-Respect and Self-Awareness

Show her what it feels like to be treated right. Talk to her about what it feels like to be treated wrong. By opening doors for her, putting your phone down when you’re talking with her and even offering her your jacket when she’s cold, you’re showing her how she should expect to be treated in future relationships. 

Teach her to respect herself – her body, her mind, and her instincts so she’ll learn to be self-aware, put boundaries in place, and walk away from unhealthy or toxic relationships or situations that don’t feel right or safe. 

8. Be Her Moral Compass

On any given day, your daughter may face any number of moral dilemmas. Should she cheat on that test? Should she spread the latest gossip about that guy in her class? Should she go behind your back and break one of your rules?

She’s leaning on you for guidance, Dad. Instead of putting tons of rules in place to keep her on the right track and encourage her to do the right thing when you’re not around, focus on values, not rules. When you define what’s really important as a family, your daughter will draw from those values which will help guide her decisions both now and in the future. 

“In our family, we trust one another and we don’t lie to each other.”

“In our family, we don’t cheat. We pride ourselves on being honorable.”

“In our family, we treat others with respect and kindness which means we don’t tease, bully, belittle, or spread gossip.”

9. Talk to Her Like the Young Woman She’s Becoming, Not the Little Girl She’s Leaving Behind

Your girl is growing up. Trust me, Dad, you might see her as the little girl who climbed onto your lap for a bedtime story, but when she looks in the mirror, she sees someone far more grown up. And, that grown”ish” girl doesn’t want to be treated like a child. 

Talk to her like you’d talk to any adult – openly, honestly, respectfully, and maturely. Lisa D’Amour, parenting expert and author of the best-selling book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transition into Adulthood, was quoted as saying, “If you choose your words wisely and talk to the vastly more mature side of your teen, that’s typically the side of the teen you’ll end up in a conversation with.”

10. Wrap Her in a Hug as Often as Possible

Oh, Dads, more than anything, your girl needs to feel your comforting, protective arms wrapped around her. Whether it’s once a day or once a month (some teen girls literally run for cover when they see Dad moving in for a hug), don’t stop trying. Keep that physical connection alive and well whether it’s a high-five, back rub, fist bump, or a loving hug. Make sure she knows her daddy’s love will always be with her. 

I know your daughter can be moody, unpredictable, and fickle, at times – all teen girls are.

But she needs you, Dad – perhaps now more than ever. Keep asking her to go places, keep knocking on her bedroom door, keep showing up for her time and time again, and keep telling her you love her. She’ll thank you one day… 


If you enjoyed reading, “Dads, Do These 10 Things to Raise Confident, Strong-Minded Daughters,” here are a few other posts you might like!

Dads, Here’s Why Your Teen Daughter Needs You Now More Than Ever

What A Teenage Girl Needs From Her Dad

55 Father-Daughter Quotes That Prove She’ll Always Be Daddy’s Little Girl

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