Daughters, Part 2

The second (and obvious) thing daughters need is love and affection: the kind of love that builds and nurtures security. Daughters need strong fathers and mothers who love them sacrificially, take responsibility for them, and understand their need for protection. Daughters need wise mothers who will teach and equip them to be secure in who they are in Christ.

This means that daughters need to know they are the joy of their parents, which translates into lots of hugs, kisses, reassurance, comfort, praise, and support. And they need to feel loved and know how important they are to their parents.

Women run on the fuel of love and security. We all need this, and little girls (and big girls) are no exception. When they feel unloved and insecure, they will look for attention, affirmation, and what they might think might be love in other (wrong) places. This is why little girls who are needy for affection might be climbing on the laps of men they barely know.

One of the signs that a little girl is secure is her hesitance (or even hostility) to respond to strangers; and by strangers, I don’t just mean men in passing cars. When you have guests in your home, and your little girl is reluctant to respond to the attention that one of your guests is attempting to give her, this can be a healthy sign. Of course, it can also be rudeness, so you want to pay attention. For example, if an older gentleman is trying to be grandfatherly by inviting your daughter onto his lap, and your daughter is having none of it, I would be grateful and pleased. She is getting enough male attention from her father and doesn’t need anymore even from kindly old gentlemen. If, on the other hand, she won’t even say hello, then that is impolite. That is not what I am talking about here.

So if you see your little daughter being too friendly to men, I would advise you not to correct her verbally, but to draw her away gently and consider yourself warned: time to start pouring it on, particularly Dad. This explains why older daughters can get into inappropriate relationships: they are needy for love and attention, particularly male attention.

You may think that you are already giving your daughter tons of affection, and I believe you. But when her tank is low, no amount of reasoning will fill it up again. Just pour it on and ask God to bless your efforts.

Little insecurities can come out in funny ways. So if you notice a new little issue that doesn’t seem to get fixed by instruction or correction, you might consider just pouring on the love and affection. My father-in-law calls this saturation love. Give her a hug every time she passes by and tell her how dear she is to you. Bad behavior can be a form of looking for attention. Any attention (she thinks) is better than no attention. And at least bad behavior gets a response.

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14 thoughts on “Daughters, Part 2

  1. Of course some little girls have an overflowing tank and just want to bestow on every one else. In that case, you want to teach them manners so they won’t climb on everyone’s lap and be a nuisance. Still, if a little girl is eager to be friendly with strange men, I would take it as a heads up.

  2. Thank you for this encouragement. I am from a family of five girls and know firsthand that what you’ve said is true. Throughout the years I was still in my parents’ home, my father loved me consistently AND enthusiastically. Now, with a home and children of my own, I am reaping the blessing of his love in so many ways.

    I so appreciate the insight the Lord has given you. Your posts are always a sweet part of my day! Blessings to you.

  3. Tracey,
    Sorry to leave you in the lurch! At the top of the page on the right side is a list of categories. If you click on Mothering, you’ll go to the previous post on daughters, called Mothers and Daughters.

  4. So sorry to fill up your comment section with questions, but does any of this apply to boys who seem overly affectionate to other mothers? If you don’t have time to address that here, could you address it sometime in the future? Whenever my firstborn 3 year old son goes over to another mom I always wonder what I might be neglecting at home. Any wisdom???

  5. At what point should we start to be concerned about this? I have a 10 month old daughter who loves being the center of attention. Every now and again she gets really attached to Mom and Dad, but often she is happy with whoever will hold her and talk to her. Is this a sign of what you’re talking about already?

    How do we handle the same issues with male family members? She is the first grandchild on both sides. So, of course, she is adored by her grandfather and two uncles. Again, sometimes she is a bit shy with them, but often she absolutely adores them. Is it clear that she prefers her daddy to them, but still…

  6. Christy,
    A ten-month old baby is not what I am talking about here. Babies can be particular about who is holding them, or they can also be very friendly with everyone. I was speaking of little girls. And I can’t be arbitrary about an age because I am sure it varies. Let’s say two or three or so. And a familiar uncle or grandfather is not in the same category (at all!) as a friend who comes for dinner and has a little girl all over him. So, please balance what I say and don’t panic!

    Mrs. WHTrice,
    All I can say to your question is to ask more questions. What kind of attention is your little boy seeking from other mothers? If she is handing out m&m’s, I don’t think you need to worry. If he is looking for mothering (sympathy, band aids, etc.) from other moms, then I would suggest you pour it on at home. If you think there is a hint at what I would call a precocious sexuality, then I suggest you call your pastor for his help.

  7. Nancy,
    What about little girls and big brothers? One of my daughters is super affectionate and is always seeking a lap or a hug (and yes, she gets lots of hugs from me and my husband, though perhaps we should pour it on even more). I’m happy to say that her eldest brother (teenager) is good with his younger siblings and allows them to poke, climb on, and hug him as they will. On one hand it’s sweet, and on the other, there’s a point at which it makes me uncomfortable, especially with the sisters. But I don’t want to sound accusatory or paranoid about their affection. Any words of wisdom about this?

  8. I think you should trust your motherly instincts and when it begins to concern you (and it sounds like it has), take it as a signal to begin steering your daughters in another direction. I suggest you start teaching your daughters to bestow affection in a ladylike manner. This is positive instruction (act like a lady) rather than correction (don’t do that). And explain to your son what you are doing.
    Hope that helps.

  9. I’m curious, if your below statement also applies to female visitors?

    “One of the signs that a little girl is secure is her hesitance (or even hostility) to respond to strangers; and by strangers, I don’t just mean men in passing cars. When you have guests in your home, and your little girl is reluctant to respond to the attention that one of your guests is attempting to give her, this can be a healthy sign”

  10. Mrs. B,
    Of course little girls have different personalities, and some will be very secure and outgoing. My point here is that because women (from the time they are born) need male attention, if they are not receiving it from those God has ordained to give it to them (Dad, and later husband), they will be tempted to look for it in dangerous places. I would take note if my little girl was being way too friendly to a female stranger as well. I would read it as a low tank and start pouring on the motherly love and attention. I don’t think moms should be hyper about this, but it is something to pay attention to.

  11. Nancy,
    Thank you for this post. I just “found” your blog and I am both thrilled for it and humbled by God’s grace directing me here. I need your words today. I am a mother of five girls … love them dearly, but overwhelmed by my discontentments lately (my 9 mos old is sleeping in, so I read that post, too:)!). My husband is a Special Ops Officer and I love that, too, but the day to day solo parenting has gotten the best of me lately. I think my girls are incredibly sweet and wonderful (even as little sinners!), but their love tanks have become only fumes and I needed your strong words to remind me of my duties as a mother to LOVE.

    OH, so MUCH to write … but I’ll just say thank you. I am in a new town … not a military one … my husband is away again … girls are 11, 7, 5, 2 and 9 mos … such an isolated feeling. It is nice to have the encouragement from another believer … even if it is via a blog.

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