Why is a Five-Year-Old Girl Telling Me She Loves Me?

As a single-parent, my time with my daughter is limited, so any chance I get to squeeze in additional time with her is a huge blessing. One of my favorite ways to get some of this “bonus time,” is by helping out in her kindergarten class.

Every Monday, I go in and help the kids come up with words that begin with “H” or words that rhyme with mouse. If it gets any deeper than that I punt back to the teacher.

As much as I love working with these kids, though, I often leave with a heavy heart. Why? Because a sweet little five-year-old girl, who is not my daughter, keeps telling me that she loves me.

Importance of a Father's Love

Photo by Jason L. Parks

I noticed something was different about Susan (not her real name) from the first day. As soon as I was introduced to the class, she came up to me and said:

“Hi Steve! I’m Susan. Do you like my dress.”

No more than ten minutes later, she came back up to me and hugged my arm:

“I like when you come and see us, Steve.”

I had said maybe ten words to this girl all morning, yet for some reason she had latched onto me. At one point, I went to give her a high-five and she tried to hold my hand instead. As I left that morning, she told me the same thing she continues to tell me every time I’m there:

“I love you Steve.”

Why would this five-year-old-girl, who doesn’t even know me, tell me over-and-over that she loves me? Because she desperately wants me (or any father-figure for that matter) to love her back.

I happen to know Susan doesn’t have a dad at home. I don’t know the circumstances that have led to this situation, nor do I presume to pass judgement on anyone involved. What I do know though, is there is a void in Susan’s heart because of this absence. A void she is attempting to fill by reaching out to me.

The Importance of a Father’s Love

In his book, What a Difference a Daddy Makes, Dr. Kevin Leman explains what he calls “Daddy Attention Deficit Disorder (D.A.D.D.).” He mentions that many dads are simply not there for their daughters. Some are emotionally absent, refusing to engage their daughter’s heart out of fear or confusion. Some are physically distant, working long hours or spending their weekends focused on hobbies that keep them out of the home. Sadly, many are not present in their daughter’s life at all.

This absence of a father’s love is often interpreted by a little girl as a sign that she is not worthy of love. Her heart is aching to be loved by her dad, but no love is offered to her.

Unfortunately, many girls will eventually seek to find this masculine love elsewhere, just like Susan.

When a five-year-old approaches
a man she has just met and
tells him she loves him, it’s cute.
When a sixteen-year-old does it,
it’s heartbreaking.

 

Make Sure Your Daughter Knows You Love Her

Dads, your daughters need you to love them. Hug them. Hold them. Snuggle with them. Wrestle with them. Tickle them. Whether they recognize it or not, they crave your healthy touch.

Tell your girl that she’s beautiful. Let her know that you notice her. Remind her how much you delight in her.

Above all else, remind her daily that you will always love her…no matter what. Remind her that there is nothing she could ever do to make you love her any more or any less, because you already love her with all of your love.

Pick up the phone, or better yet, pick up your little girl, and let her know how much you love her. Whether your daughter is five or fifty-five, it’s never too late to begin showering her with your fatherly love.

When she starts rolling her eyes and saying “Yeah, yeah. I know Dad. You tell me that every day,” then you know you’re doing it right.

You can do this, dads. Your daughter’s need you to.

How much do you love your daughter? Share with us in the comments and then tell the same thing to your little girl.

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