This is a guest post from Dr. Michelle Watson, founder of The Abba Project, aimed at helping dads to connect with their daughters during a crucial, yet confusing (for dads) time in their daughters’ lives. Michelle talked about the influence of a father on episode 8 of the BoldIdea Podcast.
You may have heard it said that women speak approximately twenty thousand words per day while males use about seven thousand. Is that a crazy significant 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. (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, daughters, 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 (I know this is a big shock to all of you men), but women remember more words than men. This is how our brains are wired.
Stated another way, words have great value to women, 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.
In light of this, 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 affirmation)
If you haven’t fully realized the value and impact of the words you speak to your daughter, start today by choosing daily to speak words of life into her.
Her soul and spirit need your truth so she can replay your words as a counterpoint to any negative self-talk or negativity she hears from others.
Why not stop what you’re doing right now and text her, call her, email her, FaceTime her, or write her a note just to tell her that you love her and are so thankful that you get to be her dad (because when you take the time to put something in your own handwriting it makes it extra meaningful…and we girls love things like that!)
She’ll remember this day and your words of affirmation forever. And trust me, she needs it.
Dad, your words have the power to build up or tear down, to heal or destroy. Be the positive, life-breathing voice in her head… today.
A version of this post originally appeared on drmichellewatson.com.