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  • Mom, Don't Take It Against Dad If He And Your Daughter Become 'Allies'

    There are lifetime benefits that girls enjoy when they have a hands-on dad.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Mom, Don't Take It Against Dad If He And Your Daughter Become 'Allies'
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/Creativa Images
  • Fathers have always had a unique bond with their daughters — it’s why the term “girl dad,” was coined. There’s even a scientific reason behind the fact that daddies can’t seem to say no to their little girls!

    As their daughters approach adolescence, however, dads might find it harder to relate with them. As Dr. Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist for the Child Mind Institute puts it, “When our daughters are young, our job is to protect them physically and emotionally, but as they get older, we have to take on more of a consulting role.”

    How dads can stay close with their teenage daughter

    While moms might naturally know how to help their tweens navigate these exciting — and sometimes confusing — changes, dads can still keep their bond with their girls. Moms should encourage it, too, as studies have shown the lifetime benefits that girls enjoy when they have a hands-on dad.

    Here are some tips to do just that.

    1. Be an ally.

     Let’s be honest — there are some aspects of being a girl that fathers will never be fully able to grasp. From physical changes like getting their period, mundane things like their love for a K-pop group, or serious matters like being bullied because they are girls.

    Even if you feel like you’re not the person she should turn to for these matters, show your daughter that you will support her no matter what. If she’s embarrassed to talk about her period, just subtly show with actions that you care. For example, you can buy her preferred brand of napkins on your next grocery run.

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    If she’s dealing with more intense issues like getting bullied or being subjected to sexist remarks, don’t dismiss or minimize her feelings. It’s easy to get angry for her sake because she is your daughter, but it is better to make an effort to understand why girls have to go through these struggles.

    Dr. Bubrick advises, “use a period not a comma.” Instead of saying, “I can see why that upset you, but maybe you’re being oversensitive?” opt for “That must have been really hard for you.” Then, really listen to what she has to say.

    2. Discuss not dictate rules.

     It’s natural to be overprotective of your teenage girl — it’s a stage where she can easily be taken advantage of. Being too restrictive can make her act out, so when setting up rules, be open to negotiation.

    This gives your kids a chance to become more assertive and it shows them that dad can also be understanding. What teenagers really need is an adult who can guide them but someone who also trusts and lets them be independent.

    3. Let her take the lead.

    Adolescence is a confusing stage for parents because while they want to maintain their relationship with their kids, it’s the children who will sometimes put up walls. To close the distance, dads can put an effort on showing an interest to the things she likes.

    It can be as simple as listening to her favorite music, watching her favorite shows, playing a sport, or doing activities together.

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    For harder topics like drinking and dating, resist the urge to lay down the law. Dr. Bubrick says that letting your daughter take the lead and helping her talk things through can be more effective. Leading the conversation or worse, lecturing, might make her feel uncomfortable and hesitate to talk to you about these matters next time.

    Avoid putting pressure on talking about matters when you can see that she’s starting to become wary. “Dads should focus on keeping the conversation open, so she knows it’s okay to talk about it when she’s ready,” says Dr. Bubrick. Most importantly, listen without judgment.

    4. Show her how she should be treated.

    Girls look up to their dads. You are also their basis for the kind of men they should be friendly with so make sure to model healthy behavior and relationships.

    That means you’re not just nice and respectful to your wife and kids — you should also act that way toward other women. Avoid sexist comments like “he throws like a girl,” and instead use language that empowers them. Show your daughter that there’s no line between what boys and girls can do — they are just as smart and as capable as boys.

    In the same vein, you should also love your wife like you want your daughter to be loved. Your relationship with her mom shapes her thinking of what to expect from her future partner, so don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Show your daughter that she should not settle for less than what she deserves.

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    Show affection like holding hands, hugging each other, and saying ‘I love you.’ It is an opportunity to teach your daughter early on about consent, touch, and more. By treating your wife well, they learn that they should also love others in a healthy and respectful manner and expect to be loved the same way.

     

    Being a dad to a teenager is tough, but don’t lose sight of what’s most important: showing her how much you love and value her, even if you don’t always see eye to eye. This will not just boost her self-worth; she will also remember it for the rest of her life.  

    Click here for the lifetime benefits girls get if they have a hands-on father.

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