50 Rules for Dads of Daughters {by Michael Mitchell}

I was in tears as I read through this list, as I’m sure many grown daughters will be. Mothers – bookmark this list of rules and encourage your daughter’s daddy to read them, memorize them, and put them in to action. And, to all you Dads out there – be sure you pay close attention and heed these wise words.

About Michael Michael Mitchell is an (almost) thirty-something dad who blogs daily tips and life lessons for dads of daughters at lifetoheryears.com. He spends his days practicing the arts of fatherhood and husbandry, while attempting to be a man of God and a professional raiser of philanthropic funds. On the rare occasion he’s not tied up with the aforementioned and other pursuits of awesomeness, he enjoys fighting street gangs for local charities and drinking from a cup that’s half full. Bookmark Life To Her Years, follow Michael on Twitter, and “like” him on Facebook for more “rules”.

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

Photo Credit :: Danielle Rocke Toews

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.

21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

Photo Credits can be found at the bottom of Michael’s original post.

**9/15/11**This post has resonated so well with daughters and fathers, mothers and grandfathers, and has received many beautiful and heartfelt comments. As much as it pains me, I have had to disable the comment feature. If you have a comment you would like for the author to see, please contact him via his blog, or email me directly at christineATfromdatestodiapersDOTcom and I’ll be sure to pass it along to Michael.


      • Brad Newman says

        I am 32 and my daughter is 6. This actually made me feel really good because I live by all of these that apply as of today and have every intuition of following the ones to come. They are oh so true. My daughter is my world and we have a bond like no other in this world. Loved reading these. Thanks.
        P.s. It’s unfortunate that I do know some fathers that could learn from this, but some things just can’t be taught.

    • rebecca says

      I am a daughter and my dad did alot of the things listed =) …but the good Lord did not bless me with any…I have 3 soons…would so love to see something like this for me. I know how hard it must be to raise daughters in these times but think about the flip side…it is hard to raise a son to be the man you want your daughter to marry. =) Thanks for the rules… I will try to just imagine to replace the ‘her’ with ‘him’ =)

  1. Elizabeth says

    This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I cried my eyes out as I read it because my own wonderful Daddy died in 1992. But because he did the things on this list, my memories of him are wonderful. Every new daddy in the world should read these rules — and follow them. There is nothing in this world as beautiful as the father/daughter bond. Thank you for this gift, Christine.

  2. says

    Thank you for a wonderfully moving journey of memories, plans, goals and emotions, Michael. This was truly a great read that really resonated with me, and that I have bookmarked for revisiting again and again.

    And thank you, so much, Christine for posting this in your blog and putting Michael’s blog on my radar. As a dad who works from home where I am afforded the opportunity to have my 8 year old daughter as an anchor, purpose and daily sanity check, I find your words, thoughts, resources, and connections very inspiring.


    • says

      Thanks Jon! To borrow from your comment, if someone ever asked me what it’s like to be a dad, I’d probably respond by telling them that it’s “a wonderfully moving journey of memories, plans, goals and emotions.” It’s a good life, sir. Keep it up the good work with your own daughter.

  3. says

    With each number I read, hot, fat tears are rolling down my cheeks. My dad just passed away and I’m thinking about how he literally carried out almost each and every one of these rules. Oh how I wish I could read this to him and let him knpow how much I appreciate the relationship we had:) Will definitely be reading this to my husband!

  4. says

    This is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. Like everyone else…big fat tears roll down my cheeks as I miss my own dad… and as I think of my daughter growing up … her daddy is waking up to this post in the morning :) I know he’ll love it to!

  5. Stephan Hilson says

    The list is interesting rule for daughters. And each picture reflects wonderful moments and bonding of daughters and fathers. I like the advice of that a father should never miss daughter’s birthday so that it will be remembered the father’s presence instead of his gifts. Thanks for sharing this interesting article, which could help fathers to strengthen their daughter’s bonding.
    Stephan Hilson´s last blog post ..Forfaits mobiles

  6. says

    This made my heart sing! What a beautiful, gorgeous, must-read and re-read post. I love it. This right here is what life is truly all about.

  7. says

    Just beautiful and all are so true. I’ve shared the first one you wrote many times on my blog and in person with others. And is why my marriage is priority over anything else. If Mom and Dad are not happy the kids aren’t either. 😉 Love this!
    Chele´s last blog post ..Bona Fide Promotions ~ 8/22/2011

    • says

      My dad used to say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” In fact, he still says that to this day. I’ve always agreed with him, but you are spot on… the reality is, “If mama AND papa ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

      That’s a lot of double negatives.

  8. Scott says

    As the father of a 3 year old- a challenging, funny, smart, beautiful, happy 3 year old- I can only hope to carry out this list for my little girl. I will print this out and when I feel the challenge of a little girl, I will think back to this list and remember it is my duty and privilege to make my daughter feel loved using this list.

    Thanks to the author. I will keep this list with me.

  9. Melissa says

    Didn’t have the pleasure of having a dad growing up, but I still know a father who does these things is the dad in every girl’s dreams.

    • Pat says

      Melissa You are not alone. I too did not grow up with the love of a father.
      Family was very dysfunctional mental and physical abuse was the norm. I have a wonderful husband though. Every little girl should have a wonderful Dad.

  10. Usme says

    Cute list.

    I kind of have to wonder–tangentially, I know–why is there so much marriage in the hypothetical daughter’s future?

  11. Ross says

    Let me be frank – these are well written and well intentioned….however

    1. rules? why would they be rules, not suggestions
    2. every father daughter relationship is different – i have 4 kids including 2 daughters and what makes each relationship special is the fact that it is unique – baseball might work but there is a whole world of activities out there…why be so prescriptive?
    3. you say you are 29ish – you talk about you daughter going to college…are you sure?
    4. i think loving your daughter is key….full beach pajamas maybe better than a puppy…as everyone is different….

    • says

      I couldn’t agree more with you on #’s 1, 2, & 4. When this list was just five “rules” long, here’s how I explained it on another blog:

      “I’ve been reading a lot of books and blogs lately on fatherhood and raising girls. From what I’ve read, there seems to be at least five common threads (probably more) running through most of the stuff that really speaks to me. Maybe they’re not really rules. Maybe they’re more like tips… tips, hints, suggestions, guidelines, or something like that. Whatever you call them, in no particular order, here are five:”

      Every father daughter relationship IS different and you are absolutely right that “loving your daughter is key.” I apologize if the list came across as preachy or prescriptive… that was not my intent at all.

      As far as #3 goes, I will support her no matter what, but yes, at this time, I’d like to see her get a college education some day. If she chooses not to, that’s cool too. I think every dad just wants to see his little girl be happy no matter what course her life takes.

      Thanks for the feedback sir.

      Michael {lifetoheryears.com}´s last blog post ..August Giveaway Winner

    • Chris says

      @Ross, Are u kidding me? Do u have to take these “rules” so literal? I think it goes without saying, they are not rules but just some really neat ideas that give a little insight on what a girl needs, not only growing up but even as an adult in regards to a relationship with her dad.

      • LadySiren says

        Totally agree, Chris. This is a beautiful post that touched a lot of hearts, based on the comments above. I know they touched mine.

        In my opinion, the only reason for someone to post negative comments like Ross’ are because their either one of those people who has to be negative about everything or they’re simply envious that they themselves cannot achieve something so wonderful.

        In either case, the comments add nothing to this post and only serve to irritate other readers (obviously). Shame on Ross for trying to ruin something so lovely.

  12. Rebecca says

    I’ve been telling my husband things like this for years, especially when things get really stressful in life. At times, I wasn’t sure it was sinking in, but since I just got it from him, and he loved it – I guess it is! Thanks for the back up.

    • says

      Glad to be your back up. :-) Sounds like you don’t really need back up though. Being a parent is stinking hard work most of the time. I write these to help me remember to slow down and look for ways to add joy to my daughter’s life every now and then. If I’m not intentional about that, the stressful times alway win out… every time. And yet, when I think back on my own childhood, my favorite memories are of those times when my parents did those little things to make me feel special and loved.

  13. Richard says

    Here’s another one to watch out for. When she is physically turning from a child to a woman, don’t engage her in an argument she starts for no particular reason. She’s just affected by the women’s curse – PMS.

  14. David Jansen says

    My Daughter, Jessie, at 28yrs. has been the Flower of my life, which each day has put a smile on my face, as I reflect on those growing up years. I always wonder, as I planted the seed in her life, did I cultivate it often, furtilized, nurtured and weeded this Flower? But then, as I look at her today, married, and with a little 8mo.young Boy, Lil’ Ben, my Flower has blossomed into the most georgeous, beautiful gift God Has given to me. I have 3 boys, all grown up, which I love dearly, but,a little girl…well, I love her so much, it hurts. I hope I have fulfilled all those 50 rules.


    • Rachel says

      Just reading your beautiful comment about the love you have for your daughter tells me you are just the type of dad this blog is about! Thank you for that! You are just the type of dad we daughters need and love! :)

  15. Lindsay says

    Spot on – I think you couldn’t be more right!! Someday your daughter will look back on the times that you did these things and be thankful – and I say that from personal experience.

  16. Amanda says

    This made me tear up quite a bit. My dad didn’t do many of these with me. He was never really “around” but I know my husband will be a good daddy and that’s all that matters now :-)

  17. says

    This is one of the most emotionally moving pieces I have ever read. My birth father passed away when I was only 10, but sadly, for reasons beyond my control, never had the opportunity to know him and learned about him after his passing. I was raised by a strong man that afforded me many opportunities and I am grateful for those. However, I did not experience these things and it saddens me that there may be others daughters who do not have this either. I have and will continue to share this with all of the fathers I know to share the amazing advice of which daughters treasure so much. Miraculously, my birth father has revealed himself to me and continues to be in my daily life. It’s been an incredibly spiritual and joyous journey of love and faith. I know, had my father still been here on Earth with me today, we would be dancing together, sharing our moments, eating ice cream, and talking about life. I am so completely moved by this. Thank you.

  18. says

    Michael, this is so spectacularly gorgeous. I remember my own dad dancine with me at my wedding while my Uncle Jack sang “Daddy’s Little Girl” acapella in his unforgettable blast of a baritone. I can close my eyes and remember being a little girl and the feeling of dancing/riding on my Daddy’s shoes when he got home from work. I listened to Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up” today, and with all the back to school, it made me sob as I thought of my three babies being their own great, indie folks, but not my babies. Thanks for reminding me of all the power we have to create beautiful memories on the journey to beautiful, strong adults. Very empowering post.8 thumbs up.

  19. Kerri says

    This was beautiful, and so very true. I had tears at the end knowing that my dad did those things for me, and my husband now does those things for our girls. Dads are SO, SO important for girls. Thank you. <3

  20. says

    I have a four year old daughter, Novella. I work in Doha, Qatar as a civilian contractor for the Department of Defense. Her mother and I are together, but they live in North Carolina. I am given 10 days RNR every four months, so that is when I get to see Novella. I’m here to make good money and buy us a house, and map out our future. Reading through this list, I am missing out on a lot of things with her. I don’t think I can do this out here anymore…. this list brought ridiculous tears to my eyes and all I want to do is see her face…

      • Annette says

        John it’s always hard to choose between giving the material and the soul gifts….you’re working hard on the material: for the soul gifts to her: try doing special emails every day to her alone, telling her how you picture her when she’s grown up and let her know you’re working for her future! Send her pictures of you while you work to give her that special house and let her know how much you MISS HER. Tell her all the dreams you have for her and ask for her input on what she thinks will make that home you’re working to buy special for her. Let her know what that magnet on the new fridge, washer, dryer, etc. would say especially for her….and tell her how hard it is for you to be away from her AND her mother.

        She loves you no matter what, but she misses you too! Fill the void with emails, pictures and special gifts from where you are…..even rocks or sand (magic dream sand)!

        But she’ll always miss the time she could’ve had with you! and love you for the good life you’re giving her…..

        Hugs from the mom of 3 boys and one girl princess (now grown)!

        • John R. McDonough says


          Thank you for the input, it definitely means a lot to me. Some of the things you said to do I had not thought of, so I appreciate it very much.

    • Cindy says

      I had to reply to you simply b/c I no NO ONE else under the age of 70 who has used the name Novella. My mother was named Novella- she passed some years ago (born in the 50’s). I named my daughter Novella in my mother’s memory. So, I now know that there are 2 girls born in the 2000’s in the US carrying on the name! Small world indeed!

  21. Chris says

    Thanks for this, and I am proud to say I do most already with my 7 & 9 year olds. Would just like to add one more if I may be so bold. Sing. Sing, even if you can’t, with your daughter to a tune they like, that’s on the radio or wherever. It will make them laugh like few other things in this world. My girls had some friends over just last weekend and I had them rolling with my rendition of a Bruno Mars song while I was pop ‘n locking.

  22. says

    I was in tears when I read through the list because I definitely missed out on a father’s love. Instead of grieving for the loss of four “absent” father figures, I choose to share this insightful article for other fathers to know what daughters need/desire most from their daddy. My stepfather thought that a wealth of showy material possessions and dangling his large inheritance over my head if I was that good obedient daughter was the true definition of love. Truthfully, to have experienced any of the “50 Rules for Dad’s of Daughters would have had the most significance in my life. I hope my vulnerability will make a difference in another little girl’s life, so they don’t have to feel that same emptiness.

  23. Ribyn says

    Rule number 1 is awesome.
    At my father’s funeral, the preacher quoted me…
    “my father ruined me for all other men”.
    I grew up watching how my Dad put his family first. We were the center of his universe. By the time I was grown, I decided I would not settle for less in my own life. So, he didn’t ‘ruin’ me, lol. But I didn’t settle & when my husband came into mylife, I new he was the right man because of who my father was.
    Dad has been gone 8 years, and yet his gifts keep coming.
    Love you Dad, miss you.

  24. Cari says

    My friend shared these via her Facebook page and I just had to make a comment. While I am sure I will share these with my husband at some point, I cannot do so now as he is currently on deployment until March. The one on this list that would pierce his heart (as I sit here with tears thinking about what milestones have already passed) is the never miss a birthday one as he has missed more than he or I would care to admit. Military life is not easy and it is a lifestyle that is chosen; however, with so many of those 50 suggested rules viably checked, when our shore rotation comes around I have no doubt that he will once again be hard at work making up for lost time, soothing our two daughters with the touch of Daddy’s hand. I’ll be sure to let you know if we master the teenager rule as we are just about to have two! He is most definitely our hero, but wears not a cape or tights, rather a Navy uniform. :)

    • Coach Paul says

      I cannot imagine missing the milestones that your husband is, nor can I think him and his fellow soldiers (as well as their families) for their service to our country. I hope your family will be together soon.

    • JohnR says

      I am sure your daughters would love to celebrate a birthday with dad…it doesn’t have to be on the day they are born!!! Sometimes it is really hard work to get these moments…be creative!

    • rebecca says

      while the actual day is important…it really also isn’t. When he comes home there could be a “birthday day” where there is cake and ice cream and maybe a small gift. or you could call it something else….I don’t think it is really the day that is important as much as the feeling of being important… just my 2 cents worth.. and also THANK YOU for your husbands (and your family’s) service for our country!!!!!

  25. R.M.Bodnar says

    A woman writing about what a man should do
    Just like our kids grow up with mostly women as teachers in school
    Daughters like sons need a man/father to tell what 50 Rules should be for Dads of Daughters not a women’s view/conception

    • mallorie says

      you know, even if this blog WERE written by a woman, WOULD THAT BE SO BAD??? all this is is a helpful guide for men who may be looking for ways to connect with their daughters. and why wouldnt a woman be able to give this advice without raising your hackles? seems to me that a woman would be able to tell you what was missing in her life from her father OR what her father did to make her feel loved and special jut as easy as a man can tell you what he does for his daghter… not only THAT but this list CAN be used as a guide for all parents for children of either sex… HOWEVER there can be a special bond between father and daughter that can be cultivated into morals, self esteem, respect, and a sense of self worth that will be passed on for generations… thank you for these wonderful ideas, michael! even though i never experienced ONE of these things on the list, i know that my three girls will be better for me having found this blog.

  26. Abe says

    Very nice. I love being the father of a girl. She’s only two and thinking of her leaving one day depresses me :(

    Unfortunately my beliefs don’t include praying. It’s too bad you feel I can’t be a good dad if I don’t do it.

    • Whitney Stan says

      Praying doesn’t necessarily mean to pray to a god or higher power, think of it more as silently hoping for the best for your little girl. It is knowing in your heart you only want what is best for her and want her to reach her goals.

    • mallorie says

      hey abe! some of us may be spiritual but not religious… even if you arent spiritual and you dont pray to a God you can STILL pray from your soul for your daughter. theres no government law that says praying has to include God! oh and BTW.. you are NOT a bad father if you dont pray for your child and i dont think michael was insinuating that.. its obvious youre a good dad becase you took the time to read the blog at all! jut keep up the good work and youll be rewarded in the end.

    • BillW says

      Big difference between hope and prayer. Hope involves reality and the future. Prayer involves a man who doesn’t exist (a bad father, you might say?).

      I’ll stick with hope.

  27. Donald says

    These rules were cute and the further I read the more serious they became to me! I have a daughter due at Christmas and I can’t wait to do all of those things with my little girl… But I can’t help being jealous and saddened that I never had the chance to experience them with my Jasmyn who was still born at 33 weeks almost 4 yrs ago. Perhaps they will now mean even more and remind me to cherish them just a bit longer then I ever would have. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, tips and great photos with all of us!!!!

  28. chiefculprit says

    As a father of 3 girls (8, 5 and 4 months) I found this to be awesome. Without seeing these rules I already try apply them to enrich my life, my wife and my daughters. Never perfect but always working in it.

    I, personally, have rule #18 as:

    Tell her she’s intelligent, smart and beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

  29. says

    My dad died when I was 7 and now, 38 years later, I still hold in my heart a few of the things you mentioned that he did for me. Thanks for the memories this morning.

  30. ab says

    What’s funny is I read this list, I already do those things with both my angels, being a dad is and always has been my number one job in life. I never needed a list to do it, and this just proved it.

  31. Saddened says

    I read this as I was wiping away the tears. I have 2 beautiful girls of my own. They are grown up now, so they are beautiful young ladies. I am the mother. There dad is very much alive but is not allowed to have a relationship with them as his new wife thinks his daughters are too much like their mother. What kind of woman would keep a father from his daughters. My daughters miss their dad very much.

    So sad…..

  32. Wendy says

    This is a lovely post. However, I’m recognizing some of the images from other blogs that I read, but there is no credit given to the image sources. I’m sure the owners of these images would like to receive credit for their work.

  33. Diana Gestalt says

    The only change I would make would be to tell her she’s smart – instead of beautiful. Little girls already have enough pressure to meet unrealistic standards of beauty – let’s not make that a focal point in making them feel good about themselves. I’d focus on intelligence, strength, aptitude, skills and personality traits like kindness. I think telling little girls they are “pretty” only reinforces the stereotype that something they can’t control matters in the scheme of their life and their ability to be successful and happy.

    An excellent piece. Your daughter is a lucky girl!

    • Annette says

      I think it IS important to tell our daughters that they are BEAUTIFUL, SMART, TALENTED, TERRIFIC AND TOTALLY AWESOME–and our sons are HANDSOME, SMART, TALENTED, TERRIFIC, and TOTALLY AWESOME. OVER AND OVER AGAIN, EVERY SINGLE DAY even when we tell them we hate what they did but they are BEAUTIFUL/HANDSOME, TALENTED, TERRIFIC AND TOTALLY AWESOME!!! The world knocks them down and if we’re not their cheering section who will be?

      PS: This worked for three sons and one daughter who grew up to be BEAUTIFUL/HANDSOME, TALENTED, TERRIFIC and TOTALLY AWESOME men and a woman! Two homemade and two adopted and the joys of my life!!!! All different but all the GREATEST HUMAN BEINGS!!!!

  34. Tara says

    I loved reading this post! You must have one VERY lucky little girl in your life!!! My husband and I are expecting our first child, a daughter, in just a month now. I will be sharing this list with him, and I can picture him doing all of these wonderful things with our little girl! I also shared it with all of my friends who have daughters!

  35. Tina says

    Thanks so much for this. My husband and I read it together, and we both really enjoyed it. Neither of us had Dads that were like this, but this is exactly the kind of daddy my husband tries to be to our two daughters. He’s doing a great job so far.

  36. Meghann says

    Wonderful! I’m choking back the tears. I love it. I’d also love if you wrote a sister piece called 50 rules for Mothers and Sons! I have 2 boys and a daughter. My relationships with both are so different. :)

  37. MamaOfThe2BestGirls says

    I’m bawling right now. This is so beautifully written, and so important for fathers to know. Thank you so much!

  38. says

    Very well written. This post really does make sense. I can’t help but cry when I read this. SOooo true. I recommend every one out there to read this post. A must read!

  39. says

    Beautiful site! I was not raised with a Father, and although my Mother did an amazing job raising four children on her own, I will always wonder what it could have been like! I love to see my Husband love our two children… what a blessing to have a Father who loves so much!

  40. MrsSmith says

    I lost my father on my 15th birthday so reading this has made a bit of a baby out of me. My mother was always so frustrated with him because he didn’t make the money that she thought he should and didn’t agree with a few lifestyle choices. To me though, all I know is that my daddy was the best man walking on this planet because he invested time and did everything on this list. Six years later and I’m looking at my husband, who funnily enough is exactly ten years younger than my dad to the date, and we are expecting a child. I know in my heart that no matter if this is a boy or a girl he will be the absolute best father possible. I do know the importance of “Daddy” in a little girl’s world though. To that knowledge, I pray that if I am blessed with a little girl, he will see it too.

    Beautifully written. Thank you…

  41. says

    Very Very Good Read!! As a father of two and a granfather for 6 months now I cna say I followed most of these in some way or another. My daughter forwarded this to me and said “You Rock! Thanks for doing all those things for me. I only hope I can do as good a job raising Danika.” It sure makes my chest swell and my heart skip a beat. I have truly enjoyed beinga father and hope I can be just as good of a grandfather. Thank you for the memories.

  42. Kevin James says

    I raised my daughter Karyle from Kindergarten through highschool and off to babbies and a home business. I was susprised and enchanted every day. and we took turns showing each other the spectacular in our daily lives. I was the stem on the tree on which she grew fron a catapiller to a butterfly, learded to fly and returned less often after every solo flight. Your words touched me and brought back all those memories in a flood. Thank you.

  43. pat bellan says

    Loved, loved, loved this. So wise and yet practical at the same time. Is there anything like this for sons????

  44. says

    I loved that. I am a father of two young girls and I think of these things often. I have done a lot of them already but there are a lot more that I will queue up for the future. I am glad I found this (with your help).

    • melanie says

      “Survive”, sure. But it would’ve made a world of difference for my self esteem as an adult to have had a parent do half of the things on this list.

  45. Mom of Josie says

    I cried as I read this, but not the memories I had. I did not have an involved dad and I think my father broke pretty much all of these rules. I have vowed to myself, my husband, and our daughter that she will not know how that feels. I forwarded this on to all of the daddies I know :)

  46. says

    I read this tonight after a REALLY long day at work and balled like a little kid lol good tears though….i lost my father 7 years ago and think about him all the time this just made me think more and more about all the stuff we did together when i was young :)

  47. J. Williams says

    I try my best to do most of this list with my 3-year-old. Every moment with her is pure magic.

    Next on my list: #44

    What a wonderful idea from a great list.

  48. says

    I often wonder what my life would have been if I’d had a father like that. I also wish I could have given my daughter such a father, too. But, what (for me) is almost better is seeing her marry a man who is all those things to their child (even though he’s a boy!). The future is in safe hands with such fathers in this world :)
    Wen´s last blog post ..It’s Been a Year

  49. says

    This was really nice to read as I have a very strong bond w/my dad and dread the day he will leave this earth. He is amazing and I make sure to tell him frequently how much I love him. He does most of the things on this list and I am so blessed to have him in my life.
    Stephanie´s last blog post ..September 6, 2011

  50. says

    Oh holy smokes, that SLAYED me. It is so fast. It is too fast. I am so very deeply grateful to have had a great daddy myself, and that I am married to a great daddy to my three girls (and one boy. Because they need a daddy too). Would love to see a boys list. Or a mothers list!

  51. Amber says

    Michael, I can’t even begin to express how moved I was by this. Growing up I did not have a good father, he never went to church with us, never did anything with us. When I was 10 my parents divorced and she remarried a few years later. My step dad was a good dad but I never experienced most of these things. When I married I always said I would never marry someone who was like that, and I didn’t. Today I have a husband who is beyond wonderful to our 2 children. They are the light in his day and I’m so thankful for that. I can’t wait for him to come home and read this. Thank you so much, I have shared with everyone I know. You hit it on the head when you did this. Thank you so much!! :-)

  52. MH says

    I am a 21 year old young woman, and I started crying when I read this and the comments that followed. For all those Dads out there who follow these pieces of advice, kudos to you. My father could stand to learn something from you. Thank you for being wonderful role models to your children. :) :) :)

  53. louie hughes says

    I like to thank my wonderful wife for sending this to me. my little girl means the world to me and so does my wife. my family is all i have and it is so true to let your kids know how much they mean to you. i will do my best to do these 50 things every day with my little sweet hart. Daddy love you

  54. Randy says

    For me it never turned out like those rules. I worked 6-7 days a week on swing shift, change shifts each week for 40 years. Being on 24 hour call, I also had to work more hours if someone called off sick, up to another 8 hours a day. Drove to work 55 miles one way. After my daughter turned 5, my wife was seeing her brother’s best friend while I was at work. The follwoing year, she moved in with her parents, next door. She filed for devorce, married the other guy, which that marriage lasted 6 months, and she lost the house to him. When I made arrangements to get my daughter to go out to eat or anywhere, her mother and grandmother made excuses at the last moment so I couldn’t get her. Before this, my x didn’t want me to stop along the way home from work to see my own folks on the farm. She’d call them tell them that to send me on home, because she had to go to town or something. She even kept them from seeing our daughter for a few years. Every Christmas I went to my side of the family alone. Took the presents back to them. Went to her side for almost anything. Finally after some years, my daughter in high school got mad at her mom and grandma, and she decided to go to church on her own up the street, where my family went. So she got to see her other side. After my daughter got married, the first time, I got to see her more. My dad told me what had happen thru those years before, and I was furious with my x. It hurt my family to no end. I should not have gotten married in the first place, I thought. I found a woman whose husband went out behind her back with other women when he was suppose to work, and she had 2 kids. I moved to an apartment, which happened to be next to hers, and we saw each other for 3 years and got married. Next year will be our 25th. My daughter seems to be somewhat like her mother, a flirt sort of, and she was seeing a guy at her work, and they happened to be in her mother’s car when her husband saw them, and he went bonkers. He went home cleaned out his stuff and left. My daugther moved right in her friends apartment, later got married. So now, we found out he was married 4 times before with kids and not paying child support, and after 2 years of fights between him and my daughter, there may be another devorce for my daughter. All those years of her being married for now 13 years, even tho we live 4 blocks from each other, I hardly see her or talk to her. When I call, I can get no answer. When she calls, She wants something. So sometimes, depends on who you marry, maybe, and what your work is, maybe some should never marry. Now I have been out of work for over 2 1/2 years with no college, and only have experience in the field I did, starting in 1968 not needing a degree back then.

  55. says

    How do I get a printed version of the 50 Rules for Dad and Daughters? I’d like to give this to the other dads in our Adventure Princess group.

  56. FelisD says

    I, too, cried when I read through the list. My dad was awesome when it came to many of these “rules”, and it brought up some great memories. However, I cried reading this because I also know far too many situations where, because Mom refused to follow Rule number 1 (i.e., “love and respect the other parent”), Dad was denied the chance to even try following rules 2 through 50.

    Still, thanks for the thoughtful list.

  57. says

    I always knew my first born would be a girl and I couldn’t be happier! My little one is 2 now (or, 2 going on 13 if you ask her..) and I am so grateful and know how blessed I am to be her father. I was a foster child, so being a great father really means the world to me.

    This list is amazing. Gotta admit, I teared up several times!! Thanks so much for taking the time to share!

  58. Cathy says

    I turned 40 this year and as a daughter….some of these things I’ll never forget! Like daddy letting me drive in his lap; or that special one/one time I had with him; the times he made my cheering events, etc. This was a GREAT article!

  59. Jessica says

    Fantastic post. I am thankful to have married a man who will accomplish these things as my own father (and his) did not.

  60. Mark Baquiran says

    Great list! I love the idea of writing a hand written letter to my daughter every year on her birthday. My daughter is now 6 years old so I now am catching up…@Christine, do you (Or any other readers) have a suggestion on how to write a “catch up” letter for those first six years where I didn’t write a letter? Love the site btw, its one I will be bookmarking!

    • says

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your visit here, Mark, and hope you’ll be back again soon… Thank you for bookmarking us!

      Check out what Charlie did, over at BackToTheFridge.com (http://www.backtothefridge.com/change/) – It could be fun to do something similar for the first six years of your daughter’s life! Maybe some of my friends have other creative suggestions for you, but honestly? I would just start fresh now – Don’t worry about catching up, but move forward with the new goal of writing her a special letter each year. She will appreciate it more than you know!

  61. says

    This is just beautiful…we have 2 girls…11 and 7 and all that those ages implies. I read it by myself and cried and then read it to my husband and cried again…I didn’t have this kind of relationship with my Dad growing up and it’s so precious to see with my girls and their Daddy. Thanks!

  62. Lori M says

    This makes me very sad. My father died when I was 4, so I never had any of these things. Those who have these memories have no idea how blessed they are. My memories growing up where going to a cememtary to stare at a grave marker, when I wanted to visit my Dad.

  63. Michael says

    Thankyou for this post. I have re-shared it around my networks so that others are able to benefit from the information. I found it truly priceless!

  64. says

    Yep, I also smiled and cried whilst reading this. Smiles emerged as I realized how much of this my amazing husband already does with our two and a half year old daughter. The misty eyes came as I realized just how quickly these precious years have (and will continue to) fly by.

    Now, can someone create a similar set of rules for mothers and sons. My baby boy is due in January, and -to be honest- I still don’t understand boys, and boy behavior, especially after hearing my husband’s tales of his childhood. Seriously, WHY on earth would you hop on the back of your toy dump truck on your knees and roll down that steep driveway??!? :o)
    Barbara @ Atlanta’s Frugal Mom´s last blog post ..Huggies Coupons Available NOW!

  65. Amritk says

    Loved this and am so happy my dear husband is all of this and more to our two girls aged 6 and 9. Sadly I never experienced any of this as my parents separated when I was 2. Watching my husband with our daughters gives me great joy.

  66. Artist09 says

    This made me cry. My dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness this summer and it has been a difficult summer. This describes the kind of dad that I have. I hope my daughter feels the same about her’s someday. Thank you for this post.

  67. says

    I have a daughter who will turn 3 in November and realize how important it is to spend good quality time with her. She is a blessing I love watching her grow and develop as we are getting past the terrible 2’s. Each day my love grows stronger and my goal is to be the best Father i can be teaching her right from wrong. I love this website and will follow the advice given. In the meantime my next goal is to teach her how to play tennis as I invision someday he playing at the U.S. Open.
    Scott´s last blog post ..Tell Me About Your Bath Time Routine With Baby and Win!

  68. AHodges says

    Anyone who has a dad like this needs to stop what they are doing and call him right now and tell him thank you and you love him. I’d give just about everything I have to say my dad did even one or two of these things.

    And if you find it hard to follow the “rules,” at the very least don’t be horrible. Sad but true, “not horrible” would have been an amazing improvement when I was growing up.

  69. Speed says

    I love these tips. My dad was never there for me until I got married at 18. I am hoping that my husband learns from this list and cherishes our future little girl like this and will be there for her. Thank you for sharing these, I appreciate it.

  70. Mike says

    My daughter of 22 y.o. and we have a very special bond. I have experienced
    all 50 rules and invented more of my own …She is graduating from college
    in December and I will walk her down the isle in June. We are the best of
    friends and at least once a month we have “daughter/daddy” night out for dinner and a movie…I hope we will continue this 22 year treat once she gets
    married…somehow I know we will………

  71. Mark says

    My first child, a beautiful baby girl, was born this last Friday morning. Thanks for all the great tips!

    • kate says

      i, for one, appreciate this critique. making observations does not mean you’re throwing the whole thing under the bus, folks.

      • Cassandra says

        Wow people i acctaully have to agree… being in a biracial relationship i would like to see more diversity, but i also realize that most of the pictures are from the 50’s or so… and that seems right for the time period. People can still appreciate the beauty of the list and also wish the pictures were different.

        • HGK says

          We don’t live in the 50’s anymore Cassandra. If we did, I’m sure you’d have a much different experience being in a bi-racial relationship.

    • Randy Miller III says

      Sure there is. They all have different hopes, dreams and ways of thinking.

      Oh, you mean something petty like skin color?
      Do us a favor and don’t have kids.

    • HGK says

      This is a legitimate question and as a white man, one of the first things I noticed. Though the list is beautiful what this post is also saying is that all these beautiful things only apply to white daddies and daughters. This isn’t the case of course, so why do the pictures only reflect ONE race?

      • Harry K. says

        No, it’s NOT a legitimate question, and that it’s one of the first things you noticed is telling. How about the fact that all the pictures are from vintage photostocks, and maybe, just maybe there weren’t a lot of photos of blacks or asians or whatever in them. And maybe, just maybe the person who put this together wasn’t really paying attention to what the skin color was, and so didn’t throw in a token minority to appease the people who look for racism under every rock. I look forward to the the day when people look at skin color the way they do eye or hair color. I can see that day is still quite a way off.

      • william says


        you need to find something else to raise a stink about – it is unknowns like you that get stuff (crap) started – get a life – raise some kids and you will have more to worry about than “race” – i would want to hope your parents would be disappointed in your comments – i am! come to texas and we will show you some manners. i thought it was fabulous!

      • Bonnie C says

        Who said they only apply to white daddies and daughters? Who told you that? This has nothing to do with the races. And if you can’t figure that out you have some head problems, or are you sitting on your brains??

      • HGK says

        WOW! The bigotry is strong on this blog. I suppose it wouldn’t even amount to much to ask all you white folks what it would have looked or felt like to read a blog entry like this with all the photos containing people of races OTHER than your own?

    • Brad says

      that’s because most of our children actually know who there father is. just stereotype for you since only someone that is racist himself would notice such things get over it!!!!!

    • Jess says

      Diversity? You obviously didn’t notice most of the pictures look like they are from the 40’s – 60’s lol. I don’t think that word was in Webster’s back then. :)

    • Jenn S. says

      I was thinking the exact same thing. And, though this is a beautiful piece, Dad gets to be the hero. The one who buys ice cream and give out puppies and hugs. The gender binaries are clear.

    • Nicole says

      Indeed, a valid observation. For those in such disbelief and opting to “cut your eyes” at this are clearly quite dillusional.

    • IgnoranceIsNotAVirtue says

      I fought an inner battle as to whether to reply to your post; I lost (in more ways than one). Diversity depends on perspective. Skin color is only one way a person can be different. The photo of the WWII era woman playing baseball as an example. At the time, it was a first. The photos don’t indicate nationality, ethnicity or religion. Any one of those people could be Jewish, American Indian, Hindu, Christian, physically handicapped or mentally handicapped or whatever. Everyone is different in there own way. If you only see these people as white, I encourage you to take off the blinders and open your heart(s). I don’t know you or any other person posting here but I can tell you I have put my life on the line more than once for people of many different faces, beliefs, and mental and physical impairments. I never looked at their skin color to decide how I was going to help them; I just did. I wasn’t raised to hate anyone although where I grew up it was common. Do you really want to live your life with hate in your heart? Look at the people who are practicing murder of men, woman and children because of their religious beliefs or just because they are of a different tribal group. Animals practice discrimination; spend some time on a farm and you will see what I’m talking about. We’re not animals. We have the gift of free thought. Why don’t you express your freedom and stop pointing out the differences in people and start thinking of similarities. That is what this piece was meant to be but it was hijacked by people(not just you) who want to be petty and anonymously make people feel bad about themselves and others. I’m a dad with a daughter. I’m white and over 40. I grew up in the deep south and still live there. I’d die for my family and my way of life. If you were in trouble I’d help you too. Let’s lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.

    • Juan Carlos says

      It’s interesting… there will always be people that will try, no matter how awesome something may be, to find the negative in it. This is a magnificent list of advice, and you’re hating on the pictures. Frankly, if one were going to add pictures to something like this, the way it was done is the RIGHT way to do it. My list, my vision, my way of looking at the world. This is MY gift to YOU, now you map it into your life as you see fit. That’s what the author is saying. Hell, there needn’t have been pictures in the first place, and I barely noticed them since I was focusing on the terrific prose that you’ll find between the pictures.

      In fact, if the author had intended to appease those like you that were bound to emerge from the woodwork, the photo-collage would have been a really annoying mix of pictures, just like TV commercials that make sure they hit all the minorities so someone like you won’t pop up and scream. But of course, you can’t get them all and inevitably someone will complain. Hey, there isn’t an Asian trans-gendered left-handed blind father in these pictures!

      I know AJ, the world is a big, tough, mean place and it’s out to get you. Nothing is ever as good as it seems. The ice cream is probably melting, the cake wasn’t baked properly.

      You need to read this list, every day. Perhaps twice.

  72. says

    For #21, that’s OK if the keys aren’t in the car. Driving with a child on your lap is so dangerous for the little one. don’t risk it! But when my kids played with the wheel when the car was turned off, they loved it. When you have to move the you find out how strong a two-year-old really is!
    Lorena´s last blog post ..What does that really mean to you?

    • angel says

      I think the author meant in a safe and controlled environment, not on a busy road. when my son was 2, as soon as we got to our street (a cul de sac) I would put him in my lap and let him “drive” home (meaning he could steer while my hands were on the wheel, and we were going no faster than 3 mph). it was completely safe and he loved it!

    • says

      I would let me kids sit in the passenger seat and lean over with one hand on the wheel. Just as effective as sitting in the lap. I also taught them how to shift from the passenger seat on back roads. They loved that.

    • csquared22 says

      Shush up Lorena. This is for dads and daughters. Any little girl (or boy) tha hasn’t sat on her dads lap in a parking lot or deserted road and held the wheel, hasnt lived!

    • Dad says

      If your two year old is stronger than you then you need to hit the gym! What world do you live in where a responsible parent using half a brain can’t let their kid sit on their lap and drive the car up the street? We’re not talking route 66 or Times square. I imagine the excitement must be insane at your house when the kids wear full body gear to color.

      • Lorena says

        Wow, hostile. And judgmental. I have a friend who had a family-member killed while riding on his dad’s lap in a car. Of course they wouldn’t have done it if they felt there was any risk to the child. I see people driving through the streets of town with kids on their laps, going the full speed limit. Some people don’t realize the potential for harm. Which may not happen 99.7% of the time. But if it happens to you, or someone you know, you never want to see it happen again. Letting a child drive in a very controlled situation when they can reach the pedals is very different. I did not make that distinction in my original comment.

        And I didn’t say the child was stronger than me, I said I was surprised to realize how strong the child was. And “wear full body gear to color”, I have no clue where that comes from or what it has to do with anything. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you on a point, doesn’t mean they deserve to e attacked. I have not given any of my comments as attacks, so it surprised me to have that directed to me in response, although I knew many would not agree. I thought there would be opportunity for all to respond without being attacked.

  73. Teresa says

    As I read through this list, I thought most of them apply to our sons as well with a posible slight variation.

  74. Khyman says

    I see that the author this listing could not find any culturally diverse images which explains some of items on the list. Great thinking and talking points, but more importantly encouraging fathers to be present and active in the lives of their daughters. Wonder what the author would say about Mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, or fathers and sons.

    • says

      It’s not the pictures that are important. Quit looking for the political correctness in everything. Look at the words, read them, adapt them to your own situation/life/social status or whatever “culturally correct” descriptor you choose. It’s the message that is important.

    • AH says

      seriously, your first comment is about the photos? come on.
      how would that explain the items on the list? its their opinion, and a darn good one. get over the photos and read it for what its worth.

    • Pat says

      My son died at 14, later never came.I regret not just doing it. So when my daughter asks I make the time for now. I will not regret another minute in my life.

  75. Daniel says

    I actually have an amendment for #49. Her concepts for dating (the who’s and the how’s) will come from you or from her friends. Show her how it ought to work. It won’t make it any easier on you, but it will make even more difficult on the wrong element.

    • CamIAm says

      Teach her how to date by taking her on daddy daughter dates. My dad did and I made sure any boy i went out with treated me right because I knew what to expect!

  76. says

    it really nice to know my father was right on track,….. even before this was printed i’m 42. What is even more elating for me is to know these are coming naturally to my husdand for our to girls 7 and 3. Keep up the good work , God bless you for being a natural.

  77. Sharon says

    I loved these things. It made my heart a bit sad though as I’m a single mom whose ex doesn’t live in the country and hasn’t seen my daughter for 6 years. :(

    • Babby says

      That sure is his lose. they just don’t get how important it is to be there for their kids. you’ll just be closer for it.

    • kate says

      that’s okay, family is family. you don’t *need* a father in order to grow up feeling loved and respected.

    • Jules says

      No reason for you to be sad, Sharon. You make a family wherever you are. Find a good church home and point out the men who treat women well. You may even ask one to include your daughter on some of his daddy-daughter dates… Or what about a grandfather figure? If you ask someone to fill in, and they are married, ask the wife for permission. Make sure she knows you aren’t trying to but in – just that you want for your girl to have a great example of men who treat women right.

  78. says

    this is all so very true and so hard to grasp that fast but you blink and it is gone …………..go for the guasto while you can Daddy’s

  79. jones0674 says

    As Im reading this my daughter’s thirteen yrs young. Im very happy to see alot of whats been mentioned I have done in her earlier yrs and still doing like…dancing, respecting her mother, basically letting her be her. What upset me the most are the things that Daddy’s do with their Daughter’s while they are babies. I sooo miss those times of her being 100% reliable on me to take care of her for everything…playing games…ect…ect…. Alot of people dont take the time to smell ALL the roses along the way, once you pass them all you have are the memories. Savor every second like it’s your last….

  80. Daddoo says

    With the tire-changing, teach her to drive a manual transmission (stick-shift). And teach the process in order: brakes FIRST, not waiting until they’re urgently needed. And make sure she pays attention, but make time to be distracted by the butterflies.

  81. Ler says

    And where is the list of the 50 ways to deal with the effects of being abandoned by your father. This author, while he means well, is living inside a delusion that every many that has a daughter wants one. Mine did not. But he got one. And he left. And reading this list just makes me want to scream because my story is the one most often told. Not the story about the little girl who’s Daddy loved her so much that he took her to the splash park every day. This author is doing just as much of a disservice to young women as the magazines and movies he puts down in his list. I will not share this with anyone, especially not my little sister. I love her too much.

    • amanda says

      Get over it. Not everybody runs. My dad left too, but this list still made me smile. Nobody forced you to read it. This is a touching, sweet list, & makes me excited for the day I have a daughter, & my husband can share all these joys with her.

    • says

      AWW, im so sorry Ler. U deserve better. Ur post made me sad as i have had a somewhat similar experience with my father. My father got my mother pregnant in high school and denied being the father. When i was 18 yrs old and had my first child, i decided to look him up. we have tried to have a relationship over the last 20 yrs but he has never lived up to my expectations, nore tried to in my opinion. I have decided to let it go, let it be and i am very grateful that i had a loving mother that wanted me. she passed away 6 years ago but i am thankful for the time i had with her.

    • tw says

      I’ve been right where you are, I now have a infant daughter and she is blessed to have the wonderful daddy that I didn’t. However I disagree with you, the author did a wonderful deed, this is a list of reminders for dad’s to always keep their children first in their minds eye as well as their hearts. Maybe it will help a new father who doesn’t know what to do to be there for his child, maybe it will help a dad that is having a rough time renew his relationship with his child. Either way I don’t believe this was meant to be hurtful to those children whose fathers chose not to be a dad, and many people don’t realize that there really is a difference. I hope that,if you so chose, one day both you and your sister find wonderful men that can be this kind of daddy to your children.

    • Jared says

      Ler, we don’t live in a perfect world and obviously you are in pain after reading this. This list is more of a call to arms for the grown up boys out there to be real men with real love and responsibilities for their families. In a day and age where the rights of the individual are held so more highly important than the needs of the family/society it’s no wonder your story is common.

      The sad truth is, even if you find a man compliant with this list, you won’t be able to accept him. You will be suspicious of his hidden agenda. You will be guessing time frames on how long it’ll be before you wake up and he’s gone. It’s not his fault, it’s your father’s. Be angry at the correct person. There is always hope and I’m sorry you are unable to see this.

    • jonica says

      While I am very sorry that your dad abandoned you – I believe you misunderstand the point of this article..this is to encourage them not to leave! IT did NOT do a disservice to young women! It’s geared towards fathers in the hopes of changed current cultural trends. How sad that you missed that point. Thank You to the author! What a wonderful piece! Sharing it with everyone!! Things can not change if we aren’t made aware of it! Good reminders! Maybe you should write a list of ways to deal..that’s more proactive than complaining about someone’s else’s heart! Work through your bitterness don’t spread it!

    • says

      Gosh, it must be a terrible feeling to know that you are the product of an uncaring father. I see bitterness, anger and jealousy in your writing. I would say that I feel bad for you but I suspect you’d only rebuke it with some comment relating to the fact that you neither want nor need my empathy, and that is OK. I can understand why you are callused. Please however, do not condemn the rest of us fathers who were not like yours. The disservice you mention was a disservice to you, and to you alone. The delusion is also yours – the delusion that condemning the rest of us will somehow make you feel better. It doesn’t work.

      As I have taught a four of my children – When life hands you lemons, open up a lemonade stand. I hope you can find a way to build a great lemonade stand instead of knocking down everyone elses stands.

    • Bill says

      Just because you chose to have a child with someone unfit for raising a child doesn’t make this a bad list. Make better choices next time, and maybe you’ll praise this list as you should be.

    • TrolltheTroll says

      So you saw the title for the article, were apparently aware of your own history, and chose to read this anyway? Did you do it just so you could then lambast the article as being so so inaccurate for the real world? Or did you do it to arouse some form of sympathy out of the anonymous readers? Or maybe it was just because you have nothing better to do. I am sorry you did not have a father growing up, I truly am, and cannot imagine what that would have been like, but trolling a comment thread to arouse anger over the disservice done by an article espousing the good things a father can do really isn’t going to change your past, is it? You ask where the list of 50 ways to deal with abandonment is. I would say it’s in the office of a trusted therapist who can help you come to terms with what you experienced and find a way to move on.

    • CJ says

      This author is hoping for the best, not living in a delusion. Just because fathers DO abandon their daughters doesn’t mean that we should encourage it or ignore the fathers who do stick around. This list isnt meant to do anything but build up dads and daughters. If your story is different than that, my heart breaks for you, maybe you could keep this list to share with the future father of your children, should you choose to have children. How is it a disservice to women to suggest that this is how their relationship with their father should be?

    • SP says

      I’m floored by this response, quite frankly. It’s very much a shame that you can’t see beyond your own set of unfortunate circumstances to appreciate the underlying message here – time is precious, particularly time that a parent has with their children, and it should be cherished. I had a father who was in my home but who did not see his time with me as any sort of a priority. Of course that hurt, but I’ve moved beyond it and used my negative experience to be the best parent I can. I can see no way that there is a disservice being done to young women when a father lets them know how a good father-daughter relationship could be.

    • carter143 says

      See people are not handed every card in life the same as the next!!!!Ok, this didn’t apply to your life and don’t feel other people should read it…Truth is I’m raising my daughter and he father is in her life either, but still find this very touching. I really think people these days are extremely negative in life and want to make everyone else the same way!!!!Ok, you don’t like this then don’t share it with any one and don’t comment on it….Mike I loved it and thank that it is extremely true!!! Thank you for sharing and I shared it on my page. Thank you…You might not be able to change everyone’s life and help them change but if just 1 Dad read it and realized he need to change his life and be with his daughter then there you go you helped one person!!!

    • csw says

      And what about the father who is divorced by the mother, the mother then takes the daughter across country to live in a strange, cold city. He follows but cannot find enough work to live a normal life there due to the economy and the fact that he was a stay at home dad and had no obvious career path. So he goes back to his family in the midwest and tries to rebuild and see his daughter as often as possible (summers, holidays, letters). The mother talks badly about the father to the daughter, and despite his best efforts there is an estrangement. He hopes as she matures that she will reconnect, and so he keeps trying. Heart-breaking.

      My own father died when I was 13 so I missed alot of 50 rules, so it breaks my heart, too, to see this daughter turn away from her lovely dad. What a world.

    • AH says

      are you serious? instead of complaining, why dont you write that list youre speaking of?
      then you cant hate on the girls who did have amazing fathers. you shouldnt try to ruin their happiness with your sad story. and the author isnt doing a disservice. theres always going to be another side to everything someone says. but dont try to take the joy from their lives. im not trying to be insensitive to your past, and im sure thats how im coming across. this is something that maybe your father could have read..and changed. or not. whos to say, i mean, i dont know him.

  82. Jean Upchurch says

    If my dad was alive he would be 111 years old and could pass this test easily. No one wrote rules for him. It was just the natural thing to do. I think of him every day and fortunately married a man he loved almost as much as I did. Life has been good because we cared. Rule #1 is probably one of the top 10.

  83. DemoGuy says

    This is great! It brought me to tears and made me hate being out of town every week even more.
    Brings everything into a different perspective when you list out so many things that we as fathers should be doing. There isnt one thing on this list that isnt 100% right on the money.

  84. Jo says

    Please don’t drive with a small child on your lap if you have a car with airbags. Someone could hit you, going 5 miller an hour…if the airbag goes off, it will kill a child. It’s not about finding a “safe” place to drive. Just not a good idea.

  85. Chad says

    I do this with all 6 of my kids, 4girls 2boys. 4 of which are my step kids. All get treated the same.the list did forget 1 thing. Act stupid with your kids. Man up and dont care what other people think. Doesn’t make you any less of a man

    • Tammy says

      Why? Because hopefully you’re already married to her mother and polygamy is currently illegal as well as incest? *chuckles* Children all go through a stage where they connect or want to “marry” their opposite sex parent. The next normal step is a better connection with the same sex parent. By saying, “yeah, sure honey, I’ll marry you!” you open up the possibility of jealousy between her and her mother. Maybe not on purpose but let’s think things through her a little.:) lol

  86. Leah says

    Great points! Except the birthday one, sometimes daddy’s have to make the money so the family can have a home and can’t be there. Some of us live a the old traditional way, dad works outside the home, mom inside the home and that is fine.

  87. Brian Brinkmann says

    Was a single father when Sarah was between 13 and 17. Some pretty tough times interspersed with moments of pure joy. ANd that is what I hold onto because I gave her the car keys, told her I loved her, and said goodby for the very last time. SHe was killed in a car accident on the way to school that morning. What I wouldn’t give for one more day…even if we spent it butting heads…

    • Darcy says

      Brian- praying you tonight. I’m sure your pain is still very real. She new how much you loved her. Blessings to you.

  88. says

    Beautiful – absolutely precious! I have lots of good memories of my dad: letting me dance with him – my feet on his; “driving” the car with me on his lap; later I helped he and my eldest brother build a barn and fences for my horse…keep this website going – precious and important.
    Barb´s last blog post ..Soul Collage

  89. Joe Pasqualetto says

    I am a father of a 23 year old daughter. I pretty much raised my daughter alone from 10 years till only recently. For all you yunggins, these rules “hit the nail on the head”. I only hope that you all come to love your daughters as I do……..I am so blessed to have you in my life Kim

  90. Rob says

    My beautiful daughter just left for college. I didnt miss one day of her life! Yesturday, I was waiting for her to be born, and today, she is away in school. Don’t blink, it happens fast! The best advise I have for any dad, is to teach her to love Jesus with all her heart, and more importantly, teach her that Jesus loves her with all of his heart!! He is the ultimate Dad!!

  91. Sameera says

    Really nice and heartfelt. I have a one year old daughter and I am happy to say that my husband has been doing many of the things you have mentioned naturally. Unlike the fathers I have seen around, my husband Khalid was there for beside me throughout the pregnancy and is a hands on father enjoying every bit of fatherhood with my daughter. From piggybacking her to cleaning her up to putting her to sleep while in distress… he mirrors your feeling.

  92. Norma says

    Absolutely accurate, true, right on, (did you peek at my life?) Thankyou for this. It made me smile and cry simultaneously. Anyone who wasted their time and webspace critiquing this needs to hush. Thank you for sharing.

  93. Mark Sutherland says

    Just a short time ago I was in a traffic court and had to watch as a man had to pay a 200.00 or more fine for letting his son sit in his lap while he drove the car, so please scratch that one out, it can be very costly! The rest are great!

  94. Kris Bacheller says

    Dear Mr. Sutherland, the intelligence of allowing a child sit on one’s lap to drive and the very ADULT decision of WHERE you choose to do this is closely related. Finding wide open spaces is also on the list, find the space, do the drive. Be smart. Six kids. . . no traffic court for lap sitters. All of them did it. All of them are confident drivers.

  95. dixie says

    Go to a lonely back road, find a farm that a friend owns, or get the police involved (If you live in a small town) and ask them to clap for her as she drives a few feet, but do it. We lived on a farm, and I learned to drive at the age of 10. I still love to drive.

  96. says

    It’d be worth every penny. I get the rules etc; but that’s a bit steep. Still, the joy that my kids get when I let them do things with me would far out weigh any fine.
    Samuel´s last blog post ..New work

  97. Charlie Karp says

    WOW! This amazing statement on fatherhood, parenting, and the special relationship that can be between a daughter and her pop….AND THIS IS ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY???? How on earth can you have anything but a “safe” and completely boring life.

  98. Mary says

    My dad not only let me sit on his lap to “steer” when I was little, but as soon as I could reach the pedals (long before I could legally drive) he took me to a field and taught me to drive a stick. Glad he did because a year later he became extremely ill, almost died, and lost the ability to drive himself. Use every minute, you don’t know how many more you have left.


  1. […] 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters is a must read for us. Terry, my wife sent it to me and said I do pretty good at #1.  If you want to leave a legacy with your daughter, love deeply, lead courageously, spend 10 minutes reading through these tips and even more time applying Michael Mitchell’s guest post.  He describes himself as “an (almost) thirty-something dad who blogs daily tips and life lessons for dads of daughters…he enjoys fighting street gangs for local charities and drinking from a cup that’s half full.” […]

  2. […] 50 Rules for Dads with Daughters GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "fbdddf"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "7a7a7a"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "f3686d"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "fbdddf"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "family"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "family"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "thoughts"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. […] 50 Rules for Dads and Daughters GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "0a0a0a"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "282828"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "d8d8cd"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "1c9bdc"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "1c9bdc"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "family"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "awakening"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "ponderings-and-musings"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "authentic"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "awakening-2"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "dad"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "destiny"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "family"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "father"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "joy"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "life"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "love"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:FacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  4. […] This is a pretty beautiful post, “50 Rules for Dads of Daughters“. I hope you can stop the page from loading before the pictures come up–on our dial-up I read the whole post before letting part of the pictures come up and I was disapointed once they did-I think they take away from the words!  It’s pretty sweet; go enjoy! […]

  5. […] 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters – After my post yesterday about my daughter leaving for college, this playful one from last year came to mind.  #50 just plain hurt. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrintDiggRedditStumbleUponLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. From: Musings ← A Strange Grief No comments yet […]

  6. […] found this blog post on Pinterest today, and truly was in tears as I read it: 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. I can’t even pick two or three of my favorites, as they are ALL true, and so important. […]

  7. […] 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters {by Michael Mitchell}Aug 30, 2011 … Mothers – bookmark this list of rules and encourage your daughter’s daddy to read them, memorize them, and put them in to action. And, to all … […]

  8. […] Oh, wow.  As a mother of three daughters, and someone who has always loved being with her own dad, this is a fantastic list and it is bang on.  If you have a daughter, single dads this article is for you.  Number 28 hit home for me.  I would add one more rule, however: Take your daughter out on regular dates…model the example of how she should be treated.  (via 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters {by Michael Mitchell}) […]

  9. […] Wednesday, we have Michael Mitchell from the super popular blog, Life to Her Years, where he talks about adventures in being a dad to a daughter. My wife first discovered Michael through a guest post of his that went viral, 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. […]

  10. […] dad and I am really excited to celebrate him this year.  I read an article this week entitled, “50 Rules for Dads of Daughters” by Michael Mitchell.  Reading through the list made me feel extra blessed because I think my dad […]

  11. […] through (it makes me feel calm) :: Totally over the top but I’m secretly loving it all :: 50 rules for dads with daughters (grab the kleenex) :: These gave me goosebumps :: Sad cat diary (aka my new favourite series) :: […]

  12. […] 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters {by Michael Mitchell} I was in tears as I read through this list, as I’m sure many grown daughters will be. Mothers – bookmark this list of rules and encourage your daughter’s daddy to read them, memorize them, and put … […]

  13. […] It seems like every second post on my Facebook newsfeed is something or the other which is intended to elicit extreme emotion, whether it is Angelina Jolie’s acceptance speech which seems to have caught the attention of people trolling google for things to cry about, or Indian jewlery ads which, admittedly groundbreaking, is hardly something that can elicit hysterical tears.  Or there could be the “amazing” commerical from Thailand, or picture stories of animals, or if all else fails, a dip into a childhood bag of emotion that hopes to revive some latent trauma. This morning alone, it seems like everyone on Facebook has been crying about a list of rules for dads of daughters. […]

  14. […] their posts make me get tears in my eyes on a regular basis.  The worst so far has to be this one. I cried thinking about my wonderful Dad and cried thinking about Mr E and Mads- by the end of […]

  15. […] On the home front, her relationship with her father will affect her dating life and her marriage with her husband. You can read more about this in How Can I Be Sure by Bob Philips. This is especially timely consider the popularity of weddings in summer months. You might be the Father-of-the-Bride. For more reading on parenting as a single dad, take a look at a blog post called 50 Rules for Dads. […]