The Female Factor
In addition to teaching her about men, a father has an amazingly powerful influence on a young girl's femininity too. In numerous interviews with women, journalist Suzanne Fields discovered, "Competency and femininity are the twin values most of the women I interviewed stressed as the values strongly influenced by their father." It makes sense. Fathers are the first men to pay attention to young girls, to hold them, and kiss them. Daddy is the first man to tell a toddler how pretty her dress is or how cute her painted pink toenails look. More importantly, he's the man who prizes his daughter over all other girls and holds her up as the most beautiful, sweetest girl in the world. All of which directly affect her budding femininity.
Starting a Relationship
When do girls start becoming a Daddy's girl? From birth. The minute a man holds his tiny daughter and whispers, "I love you" in her ear, the Daddy-Daughter relationship begins. But it can end right there in the delivery room if men don't wholeheartedly commit themselves to fathering their girls. Kelly explains, "The relationship is built in changing diapers and wiping up puke. It's then that you giggle, make noises and goo-goo eyes – engaging in healthy affectionate touch. You have to show up, put in your time." He advises new dads to, "Share the tasks equally if not more, because mom might be breastfeeding, and you can't share that, so pick up more of the other slack, because mom's doing more than half of the feeding and cuddling."
Unfortunately, some men feel uncomfortable around little girls: after all, they grew up as little boys! While mothers instinctively know how to dress baby dolls and braid pigtails, men have no experience with young females and can feel awkward around their tiny daughters. But fathers can overcome this hurdle, simply by spending time with their girls and becoming friends. The more time a father spends with his daughter, the more comfortable it will become. "It is so important to nourish a daughter's need for a father," says Kelly. "You don't get quality time unless you spend quantity time!"
Macho men can take heart in that spending time with girls isn't just about dress-up clothes and sticker books. Although a daughter will adore her father for participating in her tea parties, she'll have just as much fun engaging in the rough and tumble play that dads are best at. Research by the Melpomene Institute shows that a father who plays with his daughter when she is young is the greatest influence on her decision to take up sports later on. Fathers can kick-start the physical fun during infancy by holding, feeding, and bouncing their baby girls. As she gets older she'll love to tickle and wrestle with Daddy, jump on beds, and get piggy back rides. Eventually fathers and daughters can enjoy participating in any sport together. The options are infinite.