Most Men aren’t comfortable with emotions. When our daughters express themselves or react with their hearts, we tend to think “Why can’t she be more rational?” We have some serious learning to do.
Unfortunately, the teenage years are often when a Dad will step back from his daughter. She’s blooming physically and thats a little unsettling. When her moods get unpredictable – like they often do – the father, even if he was highly involved during her younger years, may get frustrated and step back. But thats actually when girls need their dads even more. Studies show that daughters who have loving and understanding fathers through the teen years benefit in very tangible ways – in self-confidence, in achievement, in sexual identity and in avoiding behavioural problems. So, at anytime, Dad, be ready to ask “How is she feeling?”. See how the teen years can be a time when you work through difficulties together and grow closer in the end.
Here are 10 tips for Dads with Daughters.
- LISTEN TO GIRLS: Focus on what is really important–what your daughter thinks, believes, feels, dreams and does – rather than on how she looks. You have a profound influence on how your daughter views herself. When you value your daughter for her true self, you give her confidence to use her talents in the world.
- ENCOURAGE YOUR DAUGHTER’S STRENGTHS AND CELEBRATE HER SAVVY: Help her to learn to recognise, resist and overcome barriers. Help her develop her strengths to achieve her goals, help other people and help herself. Help her be “Strong, Smart and Bold!”
- RESPECT HER UNIQUENESS, URGE HER TO LOVE HER BODY AND WHO SHE IS: Tell and show your daughter that you love her for whoshe is and see her as a whole person, capable of anything. Your daughter is likely to choose a life partner who acts like you and has your values. So, treat her and those she loves with respect. Remember 1) growing girls need to eat often and healthy; 2) fad dieting doesn’t work, and 3) she has her bodyfor what it can do, not how it looks. Advertisers spend billions to convince her she doesn’t look “right.” Don’t buy into it.
- GET HER PLAYING SPORTS AND BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE: Start young to play catch, tag, jump rope, basketball, frisbee, hockey, soccer, or just take walks…you name it! Help her learn the great things her body can do. Physically active girls are less likely to get pregnant, drop out of school, or put up with abuse. The most physically active girls have fathers who are active with them!
- GET INVOLVED IN YOUR DAUGHTER’S SCHOOL: Volunteer, chaperone, read to her class. I ask questions, like : Does her school use media literacy and body image awareness programs? Does it tolerate sexual harassment of boys or girls ? Do more boys take advanced math and science classes and if so, why? Are at least half the student leaders girls?
- GET INVOLVED IN YOUR DAUGHTER’S ACTIVITIES: Volunteer to drive, coach, direct a play, teach a class – anything! Demand equality.
- HELP MAKE THE WORLD BETTER FOR GIRLS: This world holds dangers for our daughters. But over-protection doesn’t work,and it tells your daughter that you don’t trust her! Instead, work with other parents to demand an end to violence against females, media sexualisation of girls, pornography, advertisers making billions feeding on our daughters’ in securities, and all “boys are better than girls” attitudes.
- TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK WITH YOU: Participate in the “Take a girl child to work” Days and make sure your business participates. Show her how you pay bills and manage money. Your daughter will have a job and pay rent some day, so introduce her to the world of work and finances!
- SUPPORT POSITIVE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA FOR GIRLS: Watch programs family that portray smart savvy girls. Get healthy girl-edited magazines and visit online girl-run “’e-zines” and websites. Don’t just condemn what’s bad; support and use media that supports your daughter!
- GET CONNECTED. GET ACTIVE. GET INTO DADS AND DAUGHTERS ORGANISATIONS: Together, fathers have reams of experience, expertise and encouragement to share – so let’s learn from each other.