Bonding with Daughters

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Bonding with Daughters

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I think I’ve mentioned before that I love baseball.


It’s hard to grow up in St. Louis and not be a baseball fan.  We learned the game by just breathing in that part of the country, where you’re not taught simply to be a fan, but to be a student of the game.


It’s been fun to pass that love of the game to my girls. Some of my best memories of my girls at various ages are of us putting on our Cardinals gear and watching some baseball together … especially when they ask questions about the game.  Then I can show them things (thank you, DVR!) or even take them to the backyard or the park and help them understand what the strategy and fun of baseball is.


According to a study released by Baylor University a few months ago, shared activities form some of the most pivotal memories and bonds between fathers and daughters


Shared activities.  When dad and daughter do something together.


The daughters in the study, all 22 years or older, identified three kinds of activities that changed the course and depth of their bonds with their dads:


  1. Sports:  Doing a sport opened lines of communication, created shared play moments together, and encouraged the daughter to “take risks and stand up for themselves.”
  2. Working Together: Engaging in some tasks together helped daughters see a different side of their dads.
  3. Vacations:  Time spent together on vacations opened up communication and deepened bonds in unique ways.


Not only that, building these bonds with our daughters apparently helps them be more successful in school as well.  As a matter of fact, researchers are seeing that dads sometimes have a bigger impact on their daughters’ success than moms, because as one researcher put it, “the father is teaching them to be more self-reliant, more ambitious and more successful, to be at the top of their game.”


Dads of daughter, check this out…


Shared Activities, the #1 pivotal bonding for both dads and daughters, beat out Getting Married (or being Father of the Bride), Starting to Date, and Leaving Home.




Sports are an easy connection point for lots of dads, but not every dad enjoys sports.  And vacations for most families can be a pretty rare thing.


So maybe we should think about Working Together as a great activity with our girls.


I’ve been looking for opportunities to include my girls in my projects around the house, or tasks to help out at church.  And I’ve been noticing…they actually want to come along with me!


So…Next time you go to the hardware or DIY store for that garage or yard project, take one of your daughters with you.


Next time you have to pick up some parts for that maintenance project on your car that you’ve been needing to get to, take her along.


Next time you need to run by church or someone else’s home to help out with a special project or taks, taker her along!


She’ll ask questions…lots of them. 


She’ll probably even want you to show her a thing or two.


And depending on how old and strong she is, maybe she can roll up her sleeves with you.


Who knows…those “menial tasks” on your To-Do list might just become the pivotal memories that change your relationship with your daughter for the rest of her life!


What tasks, sports or vacations have you enjoyed doing with your daughter?  What struggles have you had connecting with her?  Let us know in the comments section below!


Leon Wirth
(@LeonCWirth) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Executive Director of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family.  

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  • --I've witnessed this already with my 4-year-old.  Whether I'm heading to the local hardware store or to Best Buy, she loves to come along.  Her favorite place to go, though, is the automatic car wash!