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April 19, 2021 2:00 am
Girls long for a good relationship with their dads, but dads often have a hard time knowing how to talk to their daughters. That's why Michelle Watson Canfield wrote her most recent book, "Let's Talk." Michelle shares conversation starters that can knit the hearts of dads and daughters together in a meaningful way.
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If you're a father with daughters. Whether you know it or not, whether your daughter acts like it or not she wants you and needs you in her life.
Here's Michelle Watson Canfield, a friend of mine said as a young life leader. He had a van full of senior in high school girls daughters and his daughter was four at the time. He said okay I'm overhearing a lot of negative conversation at your dad's experts in town when we need to know when my daughter is a senior in high school.
She's not saying what you're saying you know what the collective response was when we pushed our dad away. We wished that he wouldn't left this is family life today. Our hosts are David and Wilson and Bob Payne find us email@example.com how can a dad.
Stay connected with his daughter. Even if she's acting like she's not really interested. That's what will dive into today. Stay with and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us.
I think this is really interesting work to be talking about the importance are really talking about talking really talk about how critical the relationship between a father and a daughter is an you didn't have the daughters right now.
I did. I left it over one through you guys daughters and I did have a father well and that's the interesting thing is Michelle Watson Canfield is joining us today as well. Welcome Michelle, thank you, Regina, dad to write you have had no daughters exactly. So here we are talking about the subject and I think it has to be of interest to you in part because your daughter not because you're married to somebody well now you are married to somebody who has daughters so you get the sand and golf that is related to this is pretty interesting to me like a couple months we talk with you and we may tell the whole story at some point, but you are. Can we say that you are later in life 60 and single your entire life and contented as a single yes and then got I did wrestle knocking align right. For years he has for years to about five years ago and really felt like God was saying Michelle your whole Lane is dads and daughters and so you got and then I wrote you are dry and you said you made a commitment like I'm being single.
The rest of my life time.
Every heart of every data in this nation is turned toward his daughter. I'm all in. And then then all my goodness. The long story.
That's very short is that a man who is a widower who I've respected for years wrote the forward to my first book, Dr. King Canfield started the National Center for fathering 30 years ago so we've been colleagues always aboveboard and his wife died last year and so really it was one of those things were. I just heard God's voice really speak to my spirit and I was like, I wrote my journal. Okay, God, if you want me to marry. Can I will say yes and then I wrote what I write.
Really this is an obedience right you are a newlywed bill for our five day look like newlywed is there grabbing each other's hands, why dads and daughters. Why is that the lane and laid out for you again. You're been single your whole life. You been in clinical practice for years 25 years. How does this show up on your radar screen in the first place right so I've been mentoring and counseling young women for a lot of years even since I was 19. Mentoring them in churches and camps in different forms like that and at 19 years old. Yes daughters you know I was a Bible college student to your doctorate in doctorate in counseling psychology, health psychology, counseling psychology can Masters and the doctrines you are the smartest person in this room. I'll let you know this means there's letters that just meet up a lot) hired deeper. But truthfully, I mentored girls for so many years. For decades, and over and over. Just hearing through the years about so much heart pain with their dads, not knowing how to connect with them. I think on the best of days. You know you men are from Mars were from Venus. Right now we speak two different languages, even on the best of days and so God knows me enough that he gave me something that is totally unique and I just listen to his voice. So the story is really that in December 2009 I was reading in Luke one how God told Zechariah that is yet to be born son John would help turn the hearts, not the heads of fathers to their children right and I was sitting there a random day and just forgot say Michelle, that's what I want you to do like truth be told I never really liked fathers joining counseling sessions. What are your three goals in all this data points and I'm like okay that is really how I roll up meeting people where they're at and yet here, God said that's what I want you to do with your you're getting at the head hard thing absolutely because dancers come in and you felt like you heard their head. God said hard so what's at me right there is a discrepancy that is, how do men get into their heart space – let's talk about talk about that. I love you brought that up because some men in the groups that I leave which will type on a set but really, these men say dig. This is really helping me with my wife to their daughters are changing them to her from the inside out. What I found is that when men's competences built their confidence builds like those go together.
And so, as a woman over here where I have great respect for the role that fathers have in the lives of their daughters and their sons is the champion of men and I you can. You guys can weigh in on this one.
I believe men can tell whether or not a woman all you and Ally and I I speak mostly at men's conference is not women's conferences anymore and sometimes I can feel the hostility when I walk in because I think they think I'm a threat way. This is no girls allowed club but then when they hear my heart and I don't say this to sound arrogant, but they really do then see an ally and they lineup many of them crying over estrangement, and they literally say I don't know what to do. Everything I'm doing is wrong in sunlight give you some ideas and then I'll be your fungi bonds you blame me. I'm really good with that payment back to the story the right and we can like going to see Brown come back. This is how we run the question, how do I get into this fathering loop yet so the next month when God said I want you to start turning the hearts of fathers help allying with me in doing that I wrote 11 dads an email whose daughters were my clients at the time in their teens or their 20s said, would you want to join me once a month for six months to see if there's a changing you your daughter and your relationship antennae the 11 men said you were a month. That's doable exactly couple hours and I had no curriculum. I had nothing but every month probably download to me. I called him up up means daddy in Aramaic and then love a project, hence the name. It's the upper project and every month you would download the next idea I had no curriculum. Nothing planned and I take men to all kinds of topics like we start in the light and I say the lighter end which is really the format of my book. Now let's start with laughter. You know where dad can ask his daughter what item of my clothing. Would you love to see me get rid of.
Start with the fun stuff like that are about your wedding day.
What colors do you want where he wanted to be what what flowers do what I have yet to find a dad who is even thought to ask his daughter those questions, but a great idea and it's not threatening.
It's just her dream derivation it's getting into her heart. Is this dads and 12-year-olds dads and six-year-old stabs about what outright target teens and 20s when it gets harder. I find a lot of dad say when my daughter Jiang, you know, you come home from work and she runs up and throws her little grimy hands around your neck and kisses your face and you kiss her boo-boo it's all better, really fast right and then she hits 13, 14, 11, 12, and it's awkward awkward, it changes overnight. All of a sudden dad is not the coolest guy in the room anymore. She wants her peers and dads.
I have found a lot more tender and soft on the underbelly than a man's year and that starts hurting their heart so often times I have found in now.
10 years of mentoring men coaching men is that you guys are smart enough to say you know what I'm making it worse. I don't let mom go away you're a girl, you go in, so you know how he backs up and you said in the book.
I love how you said this because as a man I resonated immediately as you said, men would rather do nothing, then do it wrong, exactly. So rarely interest in some ways. While we step outside I'm doing wrong. I know you wrong I don't do a right she knows how to write them out and maybe his wife is critiquing him. That does happen a lot and then he will weigh out. Absolutely not. Do you remember that phase with your girls. I remember when I started to feel like together in a different place. They're not as interested in what I think or what is going on and this is this field will awkward their bodies are changing again so hugging them feels different, kissing them feels different than when they were six years old and I think you as a dad. Your you're not sure how to handle that. And what's right and appropriate especially in this culture where devs are crossing the line and going and violating you know this is where a dad goes I don't want to be that guy. So that will I do you know what you sound like you were in one of the groups. This comes up every year and it is in in the materials that I give these dads and then we talk about it and what I told them is as a woman I can tell you this is God is my witness and you can weigh in on this and if you want, but inside of our bodies. We feel any differently.
So when dad starts backing off on you not want to touch in the wrong place. What happens we start thinking something's wrong with us and dads who are listening who have daughters who are developing. Just remember, keep hugging her the same way. In fact, I had one of the dads tell me, Connie, Mike said when his daughter was 13, he started backing off because she was more developed and they used to wrestle and so as you can imagine it actually started causing distance in the relationship.
I don't think just because they were wrestling but I think that was a metaphor of the distance that was happening where there was lack of physical contact happening and then that is the perfect for girls to be wooed by the dad and the dude like all the way in hell she wants touch me think and we have to ask about this analysis both of you because both of you have that experience of abuse in your background as children. Does that not affect the daddy daughter touch aspect of a parent relationship absolutely affects that even sometimes unconsciously if it's been dissociated right or somebody's not even in touch with why touch from a man feels awful.
And so for dads you can have to paste with your daughter right if she's reactive to touch.
I encourage them to try a tap on the shoulder or kiss the top of her head or at the very least doing PT touch finger to finger like some thing where you are initiating because we know that in Malachi, God says it's the hearts of fathers who have to turn first and then in reciprocal response. The daughter turns. So yes, it is up to the dad to find a way to reach the emotional center of his daughter, even if she has abuse there. Did your dad know that you had asked for no my dad didn't know I'd experienced abuse and I dad either. I do remember being in the fourth grade and my parents were very affectionate. My mom especially, but my dad did kiss me at night before I went to bed, but I remember being in the fourth grade and I said I wonder if I'm too old for you to kiss me good night and he said how you probably are and it was the last time I had any physical contact with either my mom or my dad and I remember walking away out of that room and there is a sadness in my heart.
I think I was hoping he'd take you'll never be too old yes but I think Mike didn't know until he thinking well you probably don't need any more. Is there ever a time when a daughter doesn't need it. Absolutely not. In fact, a friend of mine said as a young life leader.
He had a whole van full of senior in high school girls you know daughters and his daughter was four at the time.
He said okay I'm overhearing a lot of negative conversation about your dad's can you be experts and tell me what do I need to know so that when my daughter is a senior in high school.
She's not saying what you're saying you know what the collective response was when we pushed our dad away.
We wished that he wouldn't of left. I'm sitting here listening as a dad of sons hearing.
Tell me if I'm right, dads step in, step out, even when it's uncomfortable step in your own comfortableness when it's awkward. I'm about to say the dads listening is on us.
Let's do it.
Remember feel the same thing when my boys hit teenage years, I know it's different than a daughter but I was like always great when her little kids you jump in her bed with them. When you roll around in the ring Bible stories in your prayer and then there 15 nearly sort of where to lay down the bed beside him. I got a beer. He's got a beer in America, hugging the field and a member thinking. Now I need to do this.
I never had a dad do it.
My dad was gone. So I'd never seen this, but I never answer in why don't you hug him anymore want to lay down beside my clips weird. I can imagine even like Bob even stranger with the daughter but I knew then that on us and I did it well. I don't wait for them, go to step in and I go to become the dad is still hugs and still is in bed with them at night and it's gonna look different and I wish I could say they're going to, you know, we call them right now is a dad did that unbelievably pricey. I didn't do a great standing in the kitchen with our 29-year-old company and 29-year-old man is just here hug me, touch the boys that you weren't bear hugging like this is weird but I needed to step in the absolutewhen your son or daughters for it's like there's a part of us. As men we just when we don't know what to do. We do nothing and it's like you know what you don't regret this.
Even so, go for Mike that I was telling about that backed off from his daughter.
She was developing will then she was 17. We side up and really hugging her for four years, but they started doing these monthly dad daughter dates with questions that I gave them which is really what let's talk is about is equipping dads with more questions to get the conversation going and because I was say as a daughter. When our mouth opens our heart of this is big right when you said this and I read it in your pocket Mike I just stop for a second is to be honest I read it to her. I think I might add… This is as true and just like absolutely a Mike it's true on a date night with us. No question so do same with a daughter with the father and when we stop talking my right man. So what did I do when were closed as part of our mouth closes up, and so when dads are like okay I don't know what to do to reach her heart. It really comes back to talking. How can you get us to open up and have a conversation with you and that's with his dad. Mike did and he said and guess what's happened we were on about month six of the upper project. He said were wrestling again, that goes together when I talk to men. You know I could do a session with just guys I always make a joke like if you're like me, you're sitting there like just tell me what to do.
You know that so the guys just like put it on the bottom shelf. Tell me what to do this with your book to us. Let's talk conversation starters for dads and daughters like here is a manual when I do open.
This will mean I read the first one. Here's I asked questions about laughter Mike Ward that elementary question number one, and look your daughter and do it and guess what she can open her mouth.
Her heart can open your home and here we go right exactly a mouse. The three truths that dads need to know the first one is you are your daughter's introduction to male love absolutely talk about that a little right way that me until we know that so many little girls asked about bring up the thing about a wedding day. Her wedding day and so she often times is already thinking that way right is going to be like, and it's very romantic and magical, not realistic.
Often times granddaughter remember when she was three and four.
She would just go through the wedding album of her pain.
I thought I've never seen our sons to look at a wedding picture. Yes. So I think the more I dad can again. It's about the heart connection keep her talking about her dreams and what kind of guy she's interested in and what wouldn't she want in a guy that she would marry and have her walk away the key. I don't care. She six or 16 or 26 it's getting her talking is when we figure things out by talking even know what I'm thinking when it can become more skilled and asking questions that allow her to think and then reflect and then speak. I believe that clarity is going to carry outside the home dads if you want your daughter to have a voice out in the world.
You got a letter practice with you at home which means it is and always can be respectful of you are mom how many dad step and you will not speak to mom that way, and then it goes sideways off the rails because maybe he didn't understand what kind of day she'd had. So I think really the more dads can ask questions rather than make statements he will paste better with his daughter because she'll get to tell him what she's thinking what she's experienced what she's meeting and that's going to help her outside of the home have more of a voice and be a world changer… Let's just take a little side note, and talk to moms because I thought it was interesting to of how you distinguish the relationship between the mom and dad used to sing the moms important to me that a little bit, but it's different.
It's different and I've had so many moms say like I'm get a buy this book because mom is often holding the pain of her daughter and how dad is missing her.
And so she's carrying this burden for her daughter.
It creates problems in the marriage because now she's starting to resent dad for not stepping in.
So I've had moms who thank you. I can abide this for my husband or for if they're divorced my kids to even if he's remarried I want to help support and sing women listening whether or not you're still married to your kids dad.
This is a way to practically invest in your kids lives and their futures by equipping dad with more resources to dial into her heart space and you also said that daughters feel like mom will be there in most cases. Moms can it be there, but there's a question about if the dad will be absolutely, sadly, isn't that the way we think only football players rather think in her mama, you know, it's like I know mom almost got back forever, but a lot of noise as to what daughter wants you. Absolutely. She may not know how to tell you that especially when her hormones are raging, which affects her moods. Her behavior and her thinking just expect her to go off the rails a little bit during those adolescent preadolescent years.
It's really not her fault. It's what's happening in her brain is hormones are surging and I think sometimes what I've seen coaching dads for a decade is still say until you can make sense like I don't hear it. You make no sense and she's like that's all I know. That's the only words I have so dads I know that this is going to require you to dig deep to find skills inside of you that you didn't even know you had. But II love reminding men at times work. It's really challenging with your girls go back and find pictures from when she was first born or when she was five. That's like the ultimate cuteness to write their find pictures of when it was really easy.
Between the two of you because that's can awaken your heart to remember how much you love her during those years were you can't quite get to that place and remember what he loved about her. What's the goal as a dad I want to know what my aim in force, connect with the heart of my daughter. I want the just on relational level.
But why is this so important for her and for me will couple things come to mind. One is that her identity is tied to her dad right. Most women have the same last name as their dad. So they're looking at their fathers think this is my name. I carry your name so we live in a culture where a lot of women don't know who they are or whose they are right in their prime candidates for the world. I put that in quotes, but to say here's how working to define you, and even earlier Dave. The thought came to me and I thought, and why say this so that you don't dads hugging their daughters. I just can go out on a limb here, but men who are addicted to pornography organist struggle more to engage their daughters physically because they're going to be pulling images that are in getting projected onto their daughter.
So dads remember that in your home as a leader.
This is on you. You were saying that early to initiate physical contact, but it's also on you to take out your life so that you can be a representative which leads to my second answer, Bob, is that the second thing of why this is so important is that you're building a bridge to God as a father. Ultimately, like why on earth would God is a father trust a man to represent himself to the world any talk about a big mantle and yet is an interesting in John 844 that Jesus himself. This is red letter in the Bible, called Satan what father I see is a counterfeit father I would thought he be called like the CEO of lies, you know some other work that he stuff is that counterfeit father and so dads just know back to what's so important about this relationship between a dad and a daughter is you are building a bridge to God as a father, so that when you're not there.
She knows she has a dad D who will protect her define her love her and invest in any of us here can tell you we've all had these conversations with young women who will say I struggled with a relationship with God because of my relationship with my father. Yes, if that's what father means I want nothing to do with God because of the brokenness in the disconnectedness and I think is dads we have to recognize this is not just about how we get along with our daughters, which is important, it's vital to what we all want, but what Michelle is said were building a bridge. That's a bigger bridge than just how we get along inside the family again. I know that for years my struggle with God was connected to my dad being absent he left Mondo divorce 107. It took years for me to understand God's here, he's present it in the band and he's right here, but as a dad. Then I was like okay I would be there to be present and yet it's easy to be physically present and emotionally absent. You know, with a son or daughter. And so even as we wrap this show. I be like dad's show up. I know you don't know what to do. We get a resource for you to help you but show up.
But there's one thing and we got done velvet maybe in the next minute or so, but moms when your husband does show up and he's not doing it right.
Let them do a wrong. Don't step in and correct him because he's going to step away and he may not return and I don't mean to leave the house, but he may not emotionally engage you stop what he's trying to do. Even though he's awkward and he's not center-right things and he's at least acknowledge his effort, letting try as right as his daughter's longing for that. And even if he does it wrong. She still getting a dad who's there so man let's step up and do it in the dad who says I don't know where to start we got it for you and Michelle's written the book. That's the guidebook it's like you said Dave page 1 asked this question makes to now asked this question. I mean it's pretty yourself get their 60 topics in its dad lead her to laugh, lead her to love herself and others lead her to look deeper right at things inside that she may not naturally really want to reflect on fourth section is lead her to lament. Even some dad wounds dad voids and then the last one is lead her to listen where we flip the script daughter gets to ask dad question so there 60 conversation starters and activities where I really have a goal to acquit dads to lead to be the hero they want to be and that their daughter needs them today or we are making the book available this week to family life to the listeners who can help with a donation to support this ministry again. Michelle's book is called let's talk conversation starters for dads and daughters in the book is our thank you gift to you when you reach out to help support the ongoing work of the ministry of family life today you help provide practical biblical help and hope for marriages and families all around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people every day who are connecting with us listening to this program either on radio or be a podcast or on our app or by asking Alexa play family life today you make all of that possible for yourself and for others.
When you support this ministry. Again, if you can make a donation today would love to send you a copy of Dr. Michelle Watson Camfield's book, let's talk conversation starters for dads and daughters. It's our thank you gift when you go firstname.lastname@example.org to make a donation or when you call one 800 FL today to donate again the website to donate family life to the.com or you can call to donate 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. By the way, I mentioned the family life app. If you have not downloaded the app to your smart phone or device. It's easy to do. Go to your app store type in family life.
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