Dr. Michelle Watson is the author of “Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You”. She’s the founder of The Abba Project, a ministry formed to help dads connect to their daughters’ hearts. She earned her BS in Biblical Education and also attended Lewis & Clark College in Oregon. She maintains a full time counselling practice and also speaks on the body image, faith, healing and relationships.
Dr. Watson’s passion over the past 6 years has been to come alongside father with daughters in between the ages of 13 and 30.
“I’m helping dads to decode their daughters. It’s my joy, passion and delight to do that.”
In 2009, Dr. Watson was reading her bible and came across the story of Zachariah, whose son John was told he’d turn the hearts of fathers to their children.
“Right then, I got the sense that what was I was supposed to do; to help dads do that.”
In January 2010, she wrote an email to 11 dads whose daughters she was counselling, asking them to join her once a month for 6 months to see if there was a way to change their father/daughter relationship. All of the fathers, except one, replied and committed to it. She’s now in her 7th group, and more dads are approaching her for continued help.
Dr. Watson gives the following steps to become “dialed in” as a dad:
- Take action (inviting each kid out on a minimum once a month one-on-one date)
- Be the man you want her to marry (think long-term)
- Be consistent
She says that a dad almost always has the time to spend with his daughter, but is making choices that don’t have her as a priority. She reminds listeners that we all have the same amount of time in a day. Dr. Watson advises that dads ask for help from their spouses, if needed, when feeling confused or lost in their relationships with their daughters.
“You’re a partnership at the core. Just know that your daughter needs your strength. She needs you through the course of her whole life.
“It can go a long way if a father can admit failure.”
“We actually think more of you when you can admit human failure.”
Dr. Watson shares that getting angry can crush a child’s spirit. Her one piece of advice for dads is to drop the anger.
“More damage happens when disciplining in anger”
Every Friday, Dr. Watson writes a blog for dads and daughters, which can also be applicable to dads with sons (see “Interview Links” for website details)