Tips for Dads with Teen Daughters

Tips for Dads with Teen Daughters

As parents, your roles change over time and none may be more prominent than when your little girl grows into their teen years. 
We’ve pulled together some tips to help dads navigate this transitional — and often tumultuous — time.

Be Open-Minded

Source: All Pro Dad
There has always been a significant gap between teens and parents. However, in this generation, the technology boom has magnified it. We are trying every day to keep up with the things they are being presented with outside the home. Make no assumptions that what beliefs you hold dear have automatically transferred to them because, chances are, you’ll wind up shocked to learn they haven’t. Be open-minded to the fact that your kid may have a different point of view and that it may be valid.

Don’t Worry So Much About Little Stuff Like Humor

I think it’s hard-wired into our DNA that kids go through phases of thinking their parents are uncool and awkward. Sure … I suppose it’s important to recognize what might be embarrassing in public and avoid that, but beyond that, I’m not sure it’s so critical to be in on their jokes and terminology.

Stay involved.

Being a good dad takes time and effort—sometimes exhausting amounts of both. If you feel too tired or discouraged to stay connected, remember that your decisions will echo throughout your daughter’s life.

Be A Parent First, And The Trust Will Follow

I think some parents try a little too hard to be “buddies” with their kids, particularly in the teenage years. Up to a certain age, getting along with kids is easy — they think grownups are superheroes and everything they do is cool. My 6 -year-old will pretty much do anything that Dad thinks is fun. And then they get older and form their own ideas about what’s cool and fun, and some parents compensate by dialing back the “parent” and dialing up the “BFF,” which I think is a mistake.

Do Not Project Your Dreams on Them

Source: All Pro Dad
“It’s a cruel thing to push a child into living out the hopes and dreams of their parents at the peril of their own.”
We all have dreams of who and what we want our daughters to become. We’ve put our hearts and souls into raising them, and we have natural expectations. Sometimes that coincides with their own dreams but, most times, they have other ideas and hopes. This is when we have to put ourselves in their shoes. It’s a cruel thing to push a child into living out the hopes and dreams of their parents at the peril of their own. There is a fine line to draw here because they also do not know what we know, and we must protect them from costly mistakes. The key is to be supportive by encouraging their dreams, while still parenting them towards the greatest chances of personal success.

Don’t make it about behaviors, make it about feelings.

The kid is at an age where their social life is flux, so what they need at home is something stable, dependable, and honest. I tell my daughter I care about what’s happening in her life, I’m here to talk to her about whatever she needs, but I’m not going to go meddling in her business if she doesn’t want me there, unless she gives me reason to think something’s wrong. And by living that fairly consistently, I think she trusts me more than if I tried to be a “Hey pal, let’s go for ice cream and talk about your problems” dad.

Listen, Listen, Listen

Source: All Pro Dad
It cannot be overstated how important it is to any child, but especially teenage girls, that they be heard. This might seem like the easiest advice on this list, but it’s truly the most difficult. Have you ever really listened to the daily stories of a teenage girl? They are going through major changes, mentally and physically and are under tremendous pressure due to expectations at home, at school, and from their peers. And it’s no secret: Girls can be vicious to each other. They need to vent. They need to be heard by a comforting and supportive ear. They don’t want solutions most times. More than anything, they just need to be heard. That’s what Daddies do.

Make time for her.

Surprisingly, teenage girls want to spend time with their dads. They just don’t want to make a big fuss over it. Find something low key that you both enjoy, like walking the dog, riding bikes or cooking dinner together. And when you’re home, be available for spur-of-the-moment conversations and questions.
Lucille grew up in the Great Depression. “I was always welcome in Dad’s workshop and could ask any questions. He taught me how to refinish furniture. I learned patience from him.”
Tara, though, felt like she never knew her father. “I wish we’d had more time to have fun—just more one-on-one time. I wanted his attention, his counsel, his focus. It’s important to take the time to let your children know they matter.”

Some Topics Are Off-Limits

As the dad, there are just certain topics that you aren’t going to be the one she wants help from, so don’t force it. Some topics require a pretty high trust factor to be broached by anyone other than mom or female friends, and that’s pretty much all there is to it. Don’t push it.
When it comes to boys, I found it useful to offer to be her “inside agent” to the workings of teenage boys. I believe it was “most teenage boys are stupid and shallow — including me, when I was that age — so if you ever want to know how they think, I’ll be happy to tell you because I don’t want them to con you.” But I still try not to pry. If she comes to me and asks me “X said this, what do you think it meant,” I’ll answer, but if she doesn’t ask, I take that to mean she isn’t comfortable talking to me about it.

Let her make decisions and mistakes.

Teenagers don’t want to be told how to do things. When possible, let your daughter decide how she spends her time and money. Help her work through the decision-making process about big things—which colleges to apply to, what summer jobs to pursue—but don’t hang your ego on the end product. This is her life, not yours.

Don’t be intimidated by the gender difference

I mean, yes it’s there, but some dads let it over-define the relationship, maybe even shy away from areas of common ground because it’s not “girly” enough. My daughter likes graphic novels — I could fret about whether turning her into a comic book nerd will affect her dating prospects or I can accept that’s one of her interests that we happen to share and turn her on to Frank Miller, and poof, I gain a few cool points in the process.

Stand strong, yet be flexible.

You want to be firm; but you also want your daughter to have a voice. Striking that balance requires a daily commitment to your goal of raising a well-adjusted, independent daughter with the tools to live her own life.

Be her dad!

She doesn’t need another friend; she needs a dad—and you’re hers. So hang in there. Be committed to a healthy father-daughter relationship. The rewards will be well worth the effort.

So there you have it…our tips for Dads with teen daughters. 

How about you?  What are your experiences with this topic?  Share with us!


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