By Janet Osman
Studies have repeatedly shown that fathers and daughters share a special bond like protector and protected; king and princess; and teacher and favorite student.
According to Dr Meg Meeker in her book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, fathers play a significant role in child rearing from the time a child is a toddler. For examples, daughters learn faster, better, and cope with less stress if their fathers are directly involved in their lives. Now, that your daughter has turned into a teenager, you can’t give up and stop being a father – just because she wants to test her wings. There are several ways you can keep her coming to you for advice and companionship.
Be A Positive Influence
Your role as the male parent is crucial because her future relationships will be affected by your past and current relationship with her. You are the basis for her choices for boyfriends, friends, and husband. If you want to see her happy as a single adult female, wife or mother, you should try to be more positive about her by guiding her with the right moral choices without putting down her opinions.
One word of advice: your positivity should be reasonable and logical otherwise, it’s called spoiling your daughter which isn’t a good idea. Why? One good reason is that she won’t mature thinking you will always be around to support her ideas, good or bad.
Stay Involved in Her Life
Staying involved does not mean making the decisions for her or prying into her personal and private life. It means knowing what’s happening on a daily basis and being available when she needs an adult. For example, there will be many instances when she will not understand why things have to be done in a certain way and why she can’t be impulsive in making choices. If you are the voice of reason in her life, she won’t be going to her peers or even to strangers online to get advice. The fact that you know her friends and teachers will make it easier for you to help her adjust to the bumps in life.
It is also important for you to avoid being judgmental about her decisions, friends, clothing, hair color, mannerisms, and other aspects that are mostly temporary stages. She will outgrow these choices and it will happen sooner if you avoid passing judgment.
Staying connected has been proven to prevent premarital sex, suicide, depression, and substance abuse. If your teenage daughter knows how important she is to you and that you find her perfect in many ways, this confidence boost she gets can sustain her through many difficult situations. For instance, a recent study reveals that 76% of young girls base their decision to be sexually active on the opinions and stance their fathers have made about this particular situation. There is also a direct correlation between a young girl’s lack of male attention from her father and her decision to be sexually active at a young age. Many times, the choice is based on compensation for the lack of attention. As you see, you still have tremendous influence on your teenage daughter at this point! You just need to change your approach and the way you treat her. Play sports together or go out for snacks are just 2 of the things you can do together.
It is very important to create a stable home whether you are a single father or not. A daughter needs a place she can call home where she doesn’t have put on any masks. A stable environment does not equal a home that has no financial problems or any other kind of problem. Rather, it refers to a place where problems can be solved as a family; where one can relax; where one is accepted unconditionally; and where support for each other is in abundance.
Know Her Friends and Accept Them
There is nothing that can turn her away from you more than if you were to reject her choice of friends. Give them a chance to prove that they are worthy of her friendship or try to understand what she sees in them. However, try not to make too much of an effort to be “a friend.”
Start Treating Her Like The Maturing Adult That She Is
It’s time to stop babying your girl. Definitely a difficult idea to swallow but your little girl is a young lady now and she needs to know that you are willing to give her a chance to prove herself. If she thinks you think of her as a perfect princess who can do no wrong, she won’t come to you with her problems for fear of disappointing you. You need to let go of the little girl. If you taught her right from wrong, then believe in her and be there when she comes to you.
Finally, when she comes to you, stop whatever you’re doing and listen. Just listen. Sometimes, that’s all she needs. Also, the first few times will be short and sweet but don’t worry. Once she becomes comfortable with you, she’ll start approaching you for advice about boys, dating, marriage and career.