THE DAD WHISPERER- Parenting Habits for Dads of Daughters

A Phone Call I Will Never Forget

Arena Men,

I recently spoke to a middle-aged daughter about her father. At the mention of his name this gentle and timid soul erupted into a machine-gun like bursts of rage, bitterness and resentment towards her involved father who never fathered her in the ways she needed him most.

            As fathers we must learn to speak a new language. It is a dialect our wives are teaching us, and hopefully not too late. It is the language of women, specifically our daughters.

Alabama Tips from the Dad Whisperer

After speaking to 100 men at Iron Works of Andalusia, Alabama, multiple men came up to tell me another speaker from the Pacific Northwest passed through and SHE deeply impacted their fathering. Most, remembered her only as the mysterious Dad Whisperer. After a little searching I found her only thirty minutes from my home in McMinnville, Oregon

            Dr. Michelle Watson was our first solo female guest on the Men in the Arena podcast and what a show it was! Michelle is the founder of the Dad Whisperer Podcast and author of her latest book, Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters. If you are a dad of daughters, she is worth looking into. Here are five Daughter Whisperer tips from her book.

Daughter Whisperer #1: He really LIKES his daughters and enjoys being with them. 

Take a moment and listen to our interview with Todd Wilson, the founder of Familyman Ministries. His interview personally impacted me as a parent. His most memorable tip was to smile when you talk to your children. Your children probably know that you love them, but a smile tells them you like them too.

            On another Men in the Arena podcast interview, the now Heaven graduate, Regi Campbell, wrote about accepting our wives (and daughters) more than loving them.

            I know you love your kids.

            But do you like them?

            Does your face show it?

Daughter Whisperer #2: His daughters LEAP, LAUGH, and LOVE being around him.

They feel free to be themselves in his presence. They do not have to fake it. They do not have to impress him. He masterfully creates a space where they feel safe and secure in who they are—and are loved for it!

            Our wives, daughters and granddaughters need to feel safe and secure when in our presence. Work to create an unrestricted environment of love and acceptance.

Daughter Whisperer #3: He LISTENS to his daughters.

To my chagrin, one of Shanna’s mantras over the years was, “I know you heard me but were you listening?”

            “No honey, I’m sorry.”

            A pastor I once worked with was a master at remembering names. When I asked him how he did it he matter-of-factly said, “I imagine myself wrapping my elephant ears around them as they speak.”

            If you want to learn the skill of listening to your children, check out our interview with Hal Perkins. Not only do his adult children serve the Lord but each is in full time vocational ministry—the fruit of great listening.

            After three decades I have learned that Shanna could care less about answers when she shares her struggles of the day. She simply wants me to hear her heart.

            Men, I know you’re reading this but are you listening!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!


Daughter Whisperer #4: He sets LIMITS for his daughters.

Limits, like the Bible, are meant to protect us from going over the edge. Like highway guardrails, they are meant to direct and protect our lives. Think about it this way.  According to data for and the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of four children will go to bed tonight without a biological father in the home—47% are Black, 23% Hispanic, 13% Caucasian, and 7% are Asian.

            These poor children have fathers who set no limits.

            Other fathers reside in the same house as their daughters but are centered on themselves and their own interests, never really participating in parenting. What percentage of children are stuck with a father in the home who is estranged, disengaged, and virtually anonymous due to personal choices painfully persisting for years?

            Why? Because they are anonymous males who have deferred the high calling of fathering for something less than.

He is weak, pathetic, and a disgrace to true masculinity. 

Daughter Whisperer #5: His daughters follow his LEAD in honoring his faith in Jesus.

I bet I told my sons this a 100 times or more; “I don’t care what you do for work in your adult life. I don’t care if you flip burgers, empty trash cans, pound nails or chase bad guys. All I care about is you living for Jesus. If you do not do that, then know that you have dishonored me and what I stand for.”

            Harsh? Maybe.

            Clear expectations? No doubt.

            The problem however is that they will honor my faith—what I truly believe—

whether it is football instead of church on Sundays, hoarding instead of freely giving my resources, or slandering instead of lauding others.

Masculine Traction

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