Daddy-Daughter Disconnect (Sep-Dec 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Heather Helton
September – December, 2007

Fathers, this writing is on behalf of your daughters who need you desperately. These words are not meant to blame, hurt, or point fingers, but to rattle you into responsiveness, to shake you into action. We hurting daughters are a national dilemma. You won’t hear about us on the six o’clock news, but we are here.

We are living under your roof, eating from the same dinner table as you, pouring from the same milk carton. We are spending at least eighteen years, or 6,570 days with you at home. We pass you in the hall and wonder why we aren’t enough to catch your eye. We wonder what on earth a television set, a newspaper, has that we don’t. We are curious why you don’t get fired up for your daughters like you do the big game.

We are attuned to the fact you don’t seem very interested in our words, our feelings, our deepest convictions and doubts. We sob on the inside.

When you ignore us you are changing who we are. You are changing who we were made to be, and not for the better. You may not see any results of your emotional absence now, but soon you will. When we drink too much, use drugs, and have premarital sex, then you will see. When we cheat, lie, drive drunk, choose to date and marry mean guys, and get pregnant out of wedlock, then you will see. You will see our low self-esteem manifested. Our insecurity will come to life and you will probably be mad at us. You shouldn’t be. You should be mad at yourself for not paying more attention to us when we were little girls.

Fathers, we are hurting.

Fathers, we thank you for the education, our shelter, food, and clothes, but fathers, we need more.

We are tender-hearted, but you wouldn’t know because you’ve never stared into our hearts.

We are not like boys. Maybe boys can be tough, but we need our daddy’s tenderness.

We need your comfort when we hurt.

We need you to love us dearly and show love constantly so we know what to look for in a man when we grow up. By constantly, I mean constantly. Daily. Hourly. All the time.

And when you are home with us, really be home with us. Reading the newspaper and going to bed, all the while not saying a word to us, is not being with us.

We feel ignored.

We feel sad.

You are making us feel insecure about ourselves. And worst of all, you are shaping—or destroying—our image of what fatherhood is.

Yes, you are shaping us. What we will become is in your hands. Don’t you know that? You are literally molding us like clay.

Maybe you wanted us, maybe you didn’t. The fact remains WE ARE HERE.

We are humans, we are alive and we need more from you.

Maybe you relate better to boys. We are not boys. We need more from you.

The way you treat our mothers is crucial to us knowing how to develop a loving relationship of our own. When you hurt our mothers in any way, we do not like it. Our mothers have been there, trying to fill in the void you choose to leave every day of our lives. Do you not get that?? You should bend over backward thanking our mothers for picking up your slack.

Most importantly of all, we see our Heavenly Father in the same light we see our earthly fathers. If you ignore us, we then believe God ignores us. If you hurt us, we view God as one who hurts us. If you act like you don’t want to be around us, we believe God must not want to be around us either. You are the link! You hold the key!

There is a song by John Mayer called “Daughters.” Search for it, buy it, and listen to it.

We are very, very delicate creatures.

And we need you.

That is the bottom line.

We are not trying to hurt you or tear you down.

But we are demanding you pay attention to us.

If you don’t, we will not grow emotionally and that will affect the rest of our lives, our future mates, our future children and all of our relationships forever.

Please spend as much time with us as possible. Quality time.

Tell us we are beautiful.

Tell us we are talented.

Tell us you love us more than you ever imagined possible.

Tell us.

If we don’t hear good things from you about us we will not grow emotionally or spiritually and this will affect us physically. We can’t stress this enough!

We will turn to other sources to make us feel good, whether it is right or wrong.

Then you will be mad at us for turning to those things, but the reality is, if you had really formed close, loving, honest, genuine relationships with us, we wouldn’t have sought those things out.

These boys at least make us feel special. You never did!

Alcohol and drugs at least take our minds off of our depression and anxiety that you brought upon us by ignoring us all these years.

You see, fathers, its really simple.

Just pay attention.

And love us.New Wineskins

Heather HeltonHeather Holland Helton lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her fantastic husband David and boxers Loretta and Miles. An independent singer/songwriter, Heather will soon release her CD, The Water is Deep, produced and co-written with Blake Hensley. In all of her writings, Heather aspires to inspire, with truth always at the forefront. She is also currently working on a book on the theme of fathers and daughters. Email her at [hette123@yahoo.com].

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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