From my own experience being raised by a single Mom, I know first-hand how profound an impact it can have on a developing girl, if her father is absent. The hole can be echoed throughout a whole lifetime if it is missing.
All the research points to the vital role a Dad play in a daughter’s healthy development. Daughters with good relationships with their father are less likely to develop eating disorders, have a reduced risk of early puberty, risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy.
The fathering role is unique and serves a different purpose for girls than that of a mother. It seems that a Mom provides security to the developing child, while the Dad provides the self-esteem that persists into adulthood. Well-fathered girls are usually more confident and self-reliant, do better in school and in their careers than poorly fathered-girls. Raising Girls, Steve Biddulph.
5 Tips to Stay Connected:
- Listen to your daughter and accept her unique perspective. Make guesses about the emotion she is feeling and then listen some more. Stay away from doing the dude thing and launch into problem-solving; This is a big communication roadblock.
- Girls need physical touch from their Dads, so don’t stop hugging your daughter just because she is a teenager. A pat on the shoulder says, “I love you” and will support your daughter’s growing confidence. Research shows that girls who get appropriate physical affection from their father are less likely to engage in early sexual relations.
- Build special one-to-one rituals into your relationship with your daughter, so she has the memory of having you all to herself. This could a walk with the dog to your favourite view, a camping trip or breakfast together.
- Write love notes. Tuck a note in your daughter’s lunch, send a thoughtful text or leave a surprise letter under your daughte’s pillow. Let her know how intelligent and worthy she is, simply for being who she is and how proud of her you feel. She may roll her eyes initially, but I guarantee, these love notes will be reread in times of feeling low, after a break up or failing an exam, when she questions her own value.
- Dads, you are role modeling to your daughters all the time and setting the bar for future men in her life. The way your daughter watches you treat women has a profound impact on how she will see men later in her life. The hope is that she aspires to find a man as trustworthy and respectful as yourself.
Lastly, if you are a Dad that is reading this blog and worries that too much distance has grown between you and your tween/teen daughter, know it is never too late to reconnect and know that deep in your daughter’s heart, she is desperately waiting for this affirmation and connection to you.
Being a connected, present father is a pay-it-forward investment in your daughter!!
To learn more about counselling services I offer through my Private Practice, and my upcoming Dad & Daughter Workshops, go to WWW.TASHABELIX.COM