Counselor’s Corner 



First Hero, First Love: A Dad’s Role for Sons and Daughters


To a girl, a father is her first love.
To a boy, a father is his first hero.


FOR A DAUGHTER, getting love from her dad is a huge thing. How he treats her sets the tone for so many other relationships in her life. Every boy or man she meets will automatically be measured against her dad, and that relationship. He is her ultimate standard and role model for manhood.

So, dad, if the relationship is open and warm, your daughter will be confident and will expect those same good things from the young men in her life. She’ll likely make good choices about who she spends time with.

Of course, if your relationship is distant or cold, she may relate to young men as a reaction against what she had with you. She’ll be looking to fill a void or get something she never got from you, and she may be desperate enough to settle for less than the best, a counterfeit, or someone who gives her lots of attention, but for all the wrong reasons.

So how can you be her first love? Here are two brief points to consider:

1. Be an active listener. Really tune into her words, but also her expressions, body language, and everything else. Honor her thoughts, dreams and ideas. Don’t rush to a conclusion or a judgment. Listening shows you care.

2. Make sure she knows you think she’s beautiful, inside and out. Many girls today feel pressure to look a certain way, and sadly, some dads contribute to that pressure. But our daughters need to know they’re beautiful to us just as they are. They don’t have to prove or change anything.

Just as important is affirming her inner beauty. Spend enough time with her that you really know her gifts and strengths so you can give sincere compliments on her sense of humor, her loyalty, courage, intelligence, or sensitivity toward people.

Basically, dad, seek to win her heart and make her feel cherished. You’re already her first love; you just need to give her a positive idea about what that means.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Sit with your daughter in her room and let her talk for at least 5 minutes straight, without any interruptions, as she shares about her day. Just listen. And be ready to share if she asks about your day.
  • When relating to your daughter, instead of thinking, “What’s the answer here?” ask yourself, “What’s she feeling right now?”
  • Take your kids with you to volunteer at a local shelter or food pantry. Demonstrate that healthy manhood includes serving others.
  • If you’re married, let your kids see that you love their mother. They need to see your heroic commitment to her; they can draw great security from that, and you’ll be setting a great example.