Use Words to Affirm Your Daughter by Michelle Watson, PhD, LPC
You may have heard that females speak approximately twenty thousand words per day, while males use about seven thousand. Is that a crazy variance or what?!
Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, reports that women also have many more “communication events” per day than men. She says this includes all that is communicated, beyond mere words.
Dad, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about because you experience this with all the women in your life, right? Whether you’re interacting with your wife, girlfriend, daughter, female co-workers, etc., you are often left completely lost and confused because of the way we as women pick up on everything, whether spoken or unspoken.
Dr. Brizendine continues by citing that women tend to activate nonverbal communication cues through body language, eyebrow raising, and gestures. And not only do women use more words per day compared to men, but women remember more words than men. This is how our brains are wired.
Stated another way, words have great value to us girls, whether they are communicated orally or in writing.
In relation to your daughter, these factors underscore the importance of speaking vitalizing words into her life, because she holds on to words. The words spoken to her play over and over and over in her head, both positive and negative.
As her dad, your words can either suck life out of her or they can breathe life into her. It’s your choice.
Though I’ve often said that “a little Dr. Phil (McGraw) goes a long way,” I once heard him say something that has stuck with me: No relationship is neutral. At any given point you are either contributing to or contaminating the relationship.
Based on all my experiences, I believe that’s true. And in light of this, dad, allow yourself to consider whether your communication with your girl is characterized most by:
- not speaking (which is neutral and therefore falls under the “contamination” category).
- speaking negatively to her or criticizing her (as a pattern).
- regularly communicating words of life to her. (This includes loving correction as well as encouraging affirmation.)
If you haven’t fully realized the value and impact of the words you speak to your daughter, start today by choosing to speak words of life into her—every day.
Her soul and spirit need your truth—those positive, life-affirming words—so she can replay those words as a counterpoint to any critical self-talk or negativity she hears from others.
Why not stop what you’re doing right now and text her, email her, call her or Skype/FaceTime her, just to tell her that you love her and are so thankful that you get to be her dad? Even better, write it in a note! When you take the time to put something in your own handwriting, that makes it extra meaningful, and we girls love things like that.
She’ll remember it forever. And trust me, she needs it.
Dad, your words have the power to build up or tear down, to heal or destroy. Be a positive force in your daughter’s life … today.
Just Be a Life-giving Voice in her Head. Just Be DAD.
Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon, and has served in that role for the past 17 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to help them focus more intentionally on consistently pursuing their daughters’ hearts. She has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit drmichellewatson.com for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero he wants to be and his daughter needs him to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook and Twitter.