What a Difference a Daddy Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter's Life

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Study after study shows that fathers set up their daughters for success. Involved fathers--whether or not they live in the same house as their daughters--boost their daughters' academic achievement, promote their emotional health, increase their compassion for others, and even bolster the status of women.

In What a Difference a Daddy Makes, renowned psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman seamlessly weaves the latest research on fathering with funny, moving stories about his own parenting experiences. He gives practical ideas and inspiration for fathers and provides specific direction for helping daughters grow into loving, confident, caring adults.

Customer Reviews:

  • What a Difference a Daddy Makes
    My husband read this book and it has changed how he interacts with our girls. WONDERFUL!! I then gave it to my dad. He LOVES it; he said it is changing his life, how he is looking at things and wants to make things different. He called me after he read the firt chapter and said he had no idea; that he LOVES the book. It is changing our relationship even now......more info
  • Nicely Done....
    Being a new Daddy is very important to me...With this book I picked up valuable insights and lessons for this important role that God placed me in...

    Leman has a practical, smooth and humerous style and his writing is enjoyable to read....more info

  • Life changing
    After reading this book it made a huge difference in my understanding of my daughter. I am a youth worker and bought it for all the fathers of the girls in our youth group. I have heard nothing but praise for the gift and the book. Dr. Leman is funny, insightful, and impacting in this wonderful book!...more info
  • Used as study guide for dads with daughter group
    Dr Leman uses his real life family situations to illustrate the positive benefits a father has on his daughters. This book is an easy read. Dr Leman has a good sense of humor which makes it hard to put down. Lots of good suggestions and tips for dads of all ages!...more info
  • Must read for all dads with daughters
    I read this book 8 years ago when we found out we were going to have a daughter. Now with two daughters, what I learned in this book continues to give me guidance as I raise my girls. I think it is so helpful, that I buy a copy for any friends or family who find out they are having a baby girl. The author is a Christian and makes reference to Biblical principles, but it's not too overpowering for non-Christians and the principles are good no matter your religion....more info
  • "What a Difference a Daddy Makes" review
    This is an excellent book that describes the importance of a daughter having her father involved in her life. The book is an easy read. Dr. Leman makes his point clearly and does not have the attitude that his way is the only way. He does not tell you how to become involved but that you need to be involved in your daughter's life. I highly recommend this book to every father of girl(s), whether the girls are young or old....more info
  • Very good for the first time Dad and the experienced one too
    This book was recommended to me by my brother-in-law who has 4 daughters. I just have one. Most of the chapters were relevant to my situation although it really focuses on the teen and young adult situations the author had experienced. It did open my eyes to other areas of my daughter's life I must pay attention to. The last chapter(Epilogue) was hard to read. I really got emotional about it. It really made me think about the future of my daughter and how to stay involved in it throughout adulthood. I highly recommend it. ...more info
  • A good read for all parents of daughters
    My mother-in-law Bonny gave me this book. I have the privilege of being a husband to her daughter, and the father to her granddaughter. I am glad she did, as this is an excellent book about the challenges and joys of raising a daughter.

    Dr. Leman writes this book in a conversational style, and he gives firm council without sounding preachy. He lays out real anecdotes, and recounts the ups and downs, highs and lows, of raising his daughters. Throughout the book is one common theme - be involved! He warns of the consequences that will likely result from a lack of involvement. If I thought that the challenges of being a parent were scary, the consequences of not being an actively involved one are even more so. He gives the analogy of "wet cement" to depict that we have but a brief time to help mold their lives, and then it is too late. There are a great many substitutes for what we are intended to provide, with most of them carrying a huge cost.

    I enjoyed the disbursement of information he shares about various wins and mistakes he himself made with his daughters, and wish to thank his whole family for their willingness to have their personal lives shared to benefit others. When he got to the last chapter on his first experience with marrying off a daughter, I had tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach, and my daughter is only 1!

    Also of great importance is the fact the he stresses the value of having an openly affectionate and positive relationship with our wives as being equally important in raising daughters. Our children will model what we do, not what we say, and depicting a healthy relationship with my wife, showing various ways of handling conflicts, treating her with kindness and respect, and being openly affectionate will model for my daughter the kind of man we want her to marry.

    Overall, an excellent book for all parents of daughters, with advice and council that is critical for parents who wish to raise their daughters to be emotionally healthy and to make good choices about their lives and relationships. The book is challenging and firm where it should be. As a father, I found several quotes and tips illuminating enough to be stored away to be used when needed. I recommend this book highly. It is not a textbook style "self-help" manual, but rather reads like a story. All fathers, or potential fathers, should read this book and realize what a tremendous responsibility we have for these little lives, and just how much we are needed to help mold them in a positive way....more info

  • Why Father's Day is just as important as Mother's Day
    WOW ... finally ... a book on the lasting impact of fathers on their daughters. Father-son relationships are emphasized more often but father-daughter ones are just as crucial in forming adult self-esteem. Women who grow up to crave male attention like a drug and degrade themselves are sadly, and too often, the result of an absent or abusive father, or much worse ... father unknown and long gone. Although some men do make choices that don't serve their children, it would be helpful (at least) to educate parents on how permanent their choices can be for their offspring and the rest of society in general....more info
  • Incredible, a must read for any dad
    What a Difference a Daddy Makes is a great book that stresses how important the role of the father is in the life of his daughter. [...] any books by Kevin Leman before, but once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Dr. Leman keeps the andecdotes coming fast and furious, and page after page is full of great advice.

    After finishing the book yesterday, I know this is a book I'll need to revisit over the years as my three year old daughter gets older. Leman emphasizes that dads (and moms) need to be "good" parents. It's almost impossible to be great parents. We'll all fail at times, but it is important for dads to be their and to be involved. It is also important for dads to model what role a man should play in her life. If a girl has a father with bad traits, she will most likeley seek out the same traits as a husband. Leman also stresses to live out God in everything you do in your life. For example, don't set aside a time for devotions. Istead, constantly look to share the Bible, or talk about God, during day to day activities. Leman also points out that fathers are responsible for teaching their girls about the bad parts of life, about how not everyone is nice and about how there will be failure. This leads into one of Leman's strongest contentions: Men must take the lead in teaching their daughters about sex. That's a section I won't need for awhile, but he definitely knows what he's talking about and I believe has written books on the subject.

    The father/daughter relationship is a special one. Leman's book is a must-read and a great resource for all dads out there given the privelege of having a little girl. I've also read "What a Daughter needs from a Dad" by Michael Farris, and it is a great book too, but I'd reccommend Dr. Leman's book over that one if you have to choose which one to buy....more info
  • Entertaining, Informative and Insightful
    I received this book as a gift from my older brother. It was a very easy read. I read it in a few hours over the course of 2 days. I found it quite touching, informative, funny, sad and optimistic. It's definitely one of those books you should read a few times during the course of parenting. Most of the topics were not really useful for me right now, as my baby is only 8 months old, but will be soon enough. And it definitely doesn't hurt to start planning how to handle stuff early on. Since my wife and I are expecting another child in about eight months, I think I'll pick up the author's book titled, "The New Birth Order". I liked this author's writing style - very easy to read. "What A Difference..." made me laugh out loud and tear up a bit, too. Of course, I had to shake it off quick so as not to lose the "appearance of cool" while reading it! Basically, my only real complaint about the book is that the last chapter was really of limited benefit. It seemed more like he was just sharing his daughter's wedding experience. I found little benefit in reading about how he couldn't hold back his tears and how he could barely walk down the isle. Anyway, I guess I'm being too picky. All in all, I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to all Christian fathers of daughters....more info
  • English 101 review
    What a Difference a Daddy Makes is written by Dr. Kevin Leman. Dr. Leman is internationally known psychologist, and has written over twenty books on the family. Dr. Leman received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate from the University of Arizona. He is the founder of Couples of Promise. Dr. Leman has been on numerous national talk shows including Good Morning America , and Oprah. His most impressive qualification to me though is that he is the father to four daughters who adore him. The subject of the book is just what the title suggests it gives examples and stories of just how a daddy makes a very strong impression on her life and determines how a girl will see men in the world. The book is divided into three sections with each section being at least four chapters long.
    The purpose of this book is to show parents how important the relationship between a father and his daughter is. This book though is not intended just for fathers as you might think but is for all parents. Mother's need to see just how important this relationship is so they don't feel threatened or jealous.
    It is my opinion that this book does a very good job of teaching parents especially first time parents of the importance of the father daughter relationship. It also sheds new light to opinions society has placed on us to believe mothers should be the prevelant parent.
    The content throughout the book is exceptional. The content which is drawn primarily from Dr. Leman's personal experiences with his own daughters is the best, but also enjoyable are the stories from other people. Each section of the book is primarily for a certain age group. Section one is for birth to school age. Section two carries the torch with the age group from kindergarten to about junior high. Section three covers junior high through marriage.
    Dr. Leman who is also known as a humorist uses a very simple and humorous approach as the style for the book. I am so glad this wasn't a book with a lot of complicated terms. In fact any parent could enjoy this book and understand it's beliefs and principles. The fact that Dr. Leman gives true life experiences to convey his points make them much more believable. For example in the beginning of the book Dr. Leman uses a story about a little girl in 1935 named Shirli Hunt from Bellingham Washington. When Shirli was a little girl she had been taught by her father to always stand in respect for the country when ever anything patriotic was going on. Once in school during music class the teacher decided to sing America the Beautiful and even though her father wasn't there and would never know Shirli stood. When a classmate said she didn't have to stand she replied " oh yes I did you don't know my father." Sixty years later when Shirli told this story to Dr. Leman He realized the lasting impresssion the man who had raised Shirli had made on her. Another good example of the impression a dad makes on his daughter is from a letter a daughter wrote to her dad which explained that because he took time for her as a child that now as a young lady she was very well prepared to handle life and she was proud to have him for a dad. This evidence is very convincing to me because Shirli Hunt remembered her father s vividly after so many years. Another statement in the book I found interesting is that a daughters enire way she acts with all men will be determined by her relationship with her father. Dr. Leman says " show me a woman who picks Dennis Rodman over Michael Jordan and I'll show you an accurate picture of her father." I believe this is a very true statement and very profound.
    Dr. Leman also addressed head on about mothers who feel threatened about a strong father daughter relationship and I thought that was most helpful as well. Dr. Leman also describes how this can be a very destructive atmosphere for the child.
    The book has many strengths giving insight to parents. It also proves it theories with real life examples and is entertaining through out with a good dose of humor. The only weakness I believe the book has is it doesn't give much hope for divorced fathers, in fact one part of the book says you can't make your daughter into a Miss Trust as oposed to a mistrust two weekends a month. Dr. Leman may not be aware but in today's court system often that is all the father is awarded, but I do agree it is impossible to build a strong relationship that way.
    This book is very useful to parents, but also it is useful to people who are contemplating parenthood or who may be already expecting.
    I really like this book because as a father I learned just how important the relationship with my daughter is. The book also helped me to feel more proud of my role as a parent and made me feel not only more needed in my daughter's life but more useful and more important....more info
  • A must read for a Christian dad raising a daughter!
    Amazingly enlightening, easy to read, and right on the money! If one is not a Christian, then this book is probably not for you (which perhaps may explain the negative review above?). The book emphasizes the importance of a Dad's role in a daughters life which countless research supports but some groups prefer to ignore. I have first hand seen the damage a bad father plays in my sister's lives. This book will help me not to make the same mistakes with my daughter. Among other things, Lots of time, love, discipline, and support are what Dr. Leman prescribes....more info
  • For the dad that wants to make a difference!
    What an incredibly well-written challenging book. I yellow-highlighted it extensively and this will be a book to which I refer from time-to-time. The summary statement to the book comes in the opening chapter where Leman writes: "The father-daughter relationship is the key to every woman's aching heart." In John Etheridge's book, Wild at Heart, he talked about a man's wounded heart; here, Leman talks about a little girl's aching heart and how her daddy is key to making her the daughter, wife and mother she should be. The premise of his book is that the "fundamental ingredient in any woman's life is her relationship with her father". He states that "a woman's relationship with her father, more than any other relationship, is going to affect her relationships with all other makes in her life. There's not a single relationship that isn't indelibly stamped - for good or for ill - by the man known as Daddy." Leman then spends the balance of the book detailing the difference daddy makes, the duty of daddy and daddy's dilemma. This is a "must" read for any father who wants to be a great dad....more info
  • All about perspective...
    You will like this book... and you will want to share it and the knowledge with others.

    My wife and I are two true opposites. I enjoy cooking; my wife enjoys cleaning. I would rather cook; she would rather clean. She has six sisters and zero brothers. I have two brothers and zero sisters. What do these characteristics have to do with this book?


    From both perspectives (my wife's and mine), this is simply a superlative book! I consider myself quite savvy, emotionally attached, and a true believer of self and self-awareness. This book further elucidates the concept that the Daddy-Daughter relationship affects all of us.

    Yes... mothers are affected by their respective fathers; but, more importantly, they are affected by their husband's relationship with their daughter(s). Before reading this book, my wife did not fully understand the scope of her father's relationship values (or lack thereof). Moreover, through our reading and sharing the knowledge within this book, my wife has learned to appreciate MY relationship with OUR daughter. She now understands the relative importance of me being "the "go-to" guy. She now understands that there are some things Daddies just know and do.

    Much like the Mother's intuition, Daddies have a super sense of balancing teaching/learning; strength/subtlety; faith/hope; patience/expectations... and the significant-yet-natural-to-fathers concept of balancing parental expectations with our daughters' fears.

    Dr. Leman covers the entire gambit in this quick read. Indeed, there are many other books available on related topics. However, Dr. Leman's approach is simple without being simplistic. You will like this book.
    ...more info
  • Fatherhood 101 - How to Master Raising a Daughter
    I heard Dr. Kevin Leman discuss What a Difference a Daddy Makes on Focus on the Family. At the end of the hour, I knew I had to buy and read this book. I cannot say enough good things about it. If I could give it six stars, I would.

    There were several chapters in the book that made me think, "This chapter alone is worth the price of the book." I think my favorite was chapter five - A Good Dad. Dr. Leman offers the encouragement that a dad doesn't need to be a great dad, just a good dad who is present and consistent. Super daddy once in a great while isn't the key. Rather, good dad in generous and frequent doses is the key to raising a well-adjusted daughter.

    Dr. Leman offers this profile of a "Good Father:"
    1. A Father who is there
    2. A Father who understands
    3. A Father who honors his wife
    4. A Father who believes in his daughter
    5. A Father who lets his daughter hurt

    I could hardly believe number five, until I read what Dr. Leman had to say to explain himself.

    Dr. Leman's book endeared itself to me. His writing style is pleasant and straightforward. He shares many stories from his own family to illustrate his points. One of the greatest aspects of the book is that he shares some of his own personal failures as a daddy, not just his victories. He does not come off as one who is perfect telling others that they should be perfect too.

    What a Difference a Daddy Makes covers a great deal of territory. The final four chapters are devoted to addressing difficulties that fathers will face. It was valuable reading, especially when he addressed stages of development that a father will need to know about to interact with both his daughter and his wife.

    I would be amiss not to mention that this is a book about parenting for both fathers and mothers, daughters and sons. The focus is primarily on the father-daughter relationship, but periodic sections deal with the mother-son relationship as well. This book will be profitable reading for all parents.

    I certainly enjoyed this book. It taught me several things I did not yet know. It affirmed in me many things I was already thinking about in rearing my daughter. This book will lift your spirits and encourage you as a parent. Enjoy!...more info

  • Overstating the Obvious
    Extremely average book short on anything considered above and beyond common sense. Nevertheless ... a fairly good guide for the first time father. Definitely written with spiritual connotations that further detracted from its intellectual credibility. ...more info
  • Less than impressive
    In you enjoy reading books where you have to search long and hard for specific, biblical content, this is a good choice. Granted, there's not a lot of specific Scripture to fathering little girls. Still, this is a very "secular" book.

    It's not all bad, of course, and some of the daddy-daughter stories the author shares are good. But then there's stuff like when he (jokingly...like he thinks it's funny) shares a story about one of his little girls masturbating in front of the TV. His alarmed wife tells him to do something and his answer is to simply tell his daughter to go to her room to engage in that activity...yeesh....more info

  • A must read for every daddy of a daughter!
    Kevin Leman does it again! Through his humor and his wit, he reminds us that daddies do make an impact in their daughters' lives. From advice about discipline to walking his daughter down the aisle, Kevin Leman makes you laugh and cry. This is a great book!...more info
  • Don't waste your money on this one
    Dr. Leman...tries hard
    to be witty and humorous, but his entire approach is contrived.

    The books underlying premise, that "A woman's relationship
    with her father, more than any other relationship, is going to affect
    her relationships with all other males in her life -- her bosses,
    coworkers, subordinates, sons, husband, brothers, pastors, college
    professors, and even Hollywood movie stars" is extremely
    pretentious and, according to my wife, completely untrue. That bold
    statement is on page 5. From there, the book gets harder and harder
    to take.

    I bought the book hoping it would give me ideas on how to
    become closer to my daughter and to help me enhance my already very
    good relationship with her. However, after reading as much of Leman's
    drivel as I could stand, I realized the best thing I could do was to
    continue with the approach I had been taking -- to show my daughter as
    much love as I knew how, and to pay attention to her needs, hopes, and
    dreams and to support them in whatever way I felt was best. ....
    ...more info

  • Good Reading
    I've read other books by Dr. Leman, and this book I bought for my husband and I ended up reading it, too. He's a great author who really tells it like it is and in this book demonstrates how much of an imprint a daddy makes on his daughter's life. I highly recommend it....more info
  • wonderful information!
    My husband is a great dad. I gave this to him as a birthday gift. He loved it! He read it in 2 weeks. He is now an even greater dad!!!!!!! I advise you to buy this for any DAd you know who has a girl. Dads sometimes underestimate the power they have to shape their little girls. Your little girl will be formed by her Dad r/to: future jobs, relationships, life skills, choosing a mate, the list goes on and on. Yes, as a mom, I read it too! Buy it today!!!! P.S. Our little girl is 6 years old....more info
  • Nice concept, but too preachy/conservative
    This book was dissapointing because the authors political and religious views permeate what is otherwise a very positive model for fathering. I'm sure Kevin is a great father, but not everyone is a Republican and/or Christian and you don't have to be either of these to be a good father....more info
  • A must
    Ive been looking around for a book that gives insight to that father/daughter relationship, this is the book for it PERIOD.
    Just finished reading it. I loved this book. I loved it soo much that I recomended it to a friend a he loves it, and purchased 2 others for other friends. No book can prepare you to be a daddy, but this definately gives great insight to the role a father has in his daughter(s). Its very enjoyable to read and quite funny at times.

    The cool thing about this book is that not only daddy, but Mom's would love reading this too! My wife started to read this book and also finds it very insightful....more info
  • Great book!
    My husband has thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. He has recommended it to his friends that have daughters. We have 5 year old and 5 month old girls and I appreciate his effort in becoming a better daddy to them. This would make a great "New daddy" gift or Fathers day gift....more info
  • Must Read for all Dads of Daughters
    This is a book to be read and re-read at various stages of your daughter's life. It provides encouragement, insight and a fresh perspective on the girl or girls in your charge -- as well as some insight into your wife. Whenever friends tell me that they are pregnant with a girl, this is the gift I give....more info
  • What A Difference A Daddy Makes, by Dr. Kevin Leman
    When I got married five years ago, I don't think I truly realized the awesome responsibility that loomed before me. Several years before that, after breaking off an engagement with someone the Lord did not intend for me to marry, I got a glimpse of how unprepared I was for the burden of being a husband. My ex-fianc¨¦ and I would've been ill-matched anyway, but as the relationship dissolved, I was painfully aware of the mistakes I'd made, and that even though I had been "ready" to get married from a commitment to one person perspective, I was nowhere near ready to accept the welfare of someone's daughter. It hurt a lot, and took many years of introspective study and prayer before God made me ready for my beautiful wife and true soul mate, Abby.
    However, even then, I don't think it ever hit me what role I was going to have to play someday as a father, and that's pretty natural - for the first couple years, I was focused on not screwing up the husband part (which God willing - and thanks to a very patient wife - I managed not to do). However, just about two years ago, a new world of hopes, dreams, responsibility - as well as gut-wrenching nightmares - was opened up when our daughter Madison Kennedy Lucia was ushered into the world. Even in the middle of all that, though, it was easy to get caught up in `proud, doting father' syndrome, and it only really settled in about six months later the impact I would have on my daughter.

    It happened naturally enough, but gradually I realized that Madison spent an enormous amount of time watching me. And watching me.

    And watching me some more.

    Watching everything.

    And then doing everything I did, copying me to the very `T'.

    It hit me like a sledgehammer then, as I'm sure it does many dads - my daughter/son watches my every movement; everything I say, do, and will someday model themselves after me.

    Wow. Talk about massive reality check. The thought a small child, so helpless, innocent, and without their own self-determination, would base their initial perspectives of the world on someone like me was awe-inspiring, humbling - and just plain frightening, all at once.

    However - at least it hit me, because sad to say, we're living in a world where many men never make this connection - even Christian dads. They get caught up in so many other, manly things - doing chores, (which of course, do need to be done eventually, unless you want to hack your way to the front door with a machete), picking up an extra job or working later hours so they can provide better financially for their family - you know, all the man stuff. Plus, it's tough to give up playing hoops with guys, shooting a round of golf, or tooling around in the garage. After all - as babies, they're noisy, stinky, and not very interesting - and let's be honest, this is not what men do, right?

    Sadly, these men miss out on the formative years of their sons and daughters' childhood, their once in a lifetime chance to bond with their children passing them by, leaving their kids with memories of a dad who always too preoccupied with "man stuff" to ever build a relationship with them.

    Dads - if you're reading this and it strikes a chord, or even if you think you're "all good", as they say today - go to your nearest Christian bookstore or go online and get What A Difference A Daddy Makes, by Dr. Kevin Leman. This is an insightful devotional that focuses especially on the relationship between a father and his daughter, but it embodies principles that all men should incorporate into their lives. Dr. Leman presents advice and Biblical direction in a conversational, frank, and practical way. He couches no terms in this book, presenting the Biblical model of a man, which clearly contradicts the world's concept of "manliness".

    The most humbling aspect of this book is how, in many ways, men have abandoned their crucial role in their daughter's lives, thinking that the sole responsibility of raising a girl should go to - well, the other girl in the family, the older one - mom. When a father starts considering that he models not only a healthy marital relationship to his daughter, influencing what type of mate she will pick someday and what type of wife she will be, but also acts as an archetype for how his daughter will someday relate with her heavenly father, the implications are astounding.

    Men, don't miss out on the precious relationship that you could have with your children, especially your daughters. Go buy What A Difference A Daddy Makes at a Christian bookstore nearest you today, or better yet - put off the lawn until tommorrow, don't worry about the timing on the truck engine, and take a break from golf. Play with your kids, take them to the park - let them know who Dad really is.

    [...] ...more info


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