Your daughter hits thirteen and all that matters to her is boys, clothes and her favourite TV stars right? It’s a difficult pill to swallow but for most dads, this stage will come and you’ll have to learn to deal with stroppy huffs and moaning in the morning when you need to get to the bathroom but your teen just needs another hour in there.
Once she’s invited to parties and outings, you’ll feel like a taxi driver or chauffeur but before you go calling up to order your taxi insurance, think about what you can do to support your girl, how you can get her on your site and how you can enjoy each other’s company.
No, you don’t have to pretend to be a groupie of her favourite boy band but you can respect her interests and talk to her about them. This is just one step.
Adolescence is a very hard stage for both kids and parents, especially for dads. Seeing your little girl grow into a woman is a very difficult thing to go through but your love won’t change and she will always be your little girl. Providing her with positive attention and a shoulder to cry on will make you feel like a better father and help your daughter develop into a stronger character herself. If you want your daughter to be an independent and happy young woman, capable of making the right decisions and confident in herself, think about the below tips as starters to get your relationship on track.
This may sound like a difficult one but as your daughter gets older and spends more time with her friends this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t schedule time together and enjoy each other’s company. Set a weekly lunch or dinner date just for you and your girl and use it as a time to talk about each other’s weeks without being too intrusive. Alternatively, think of a sport or hobby you can both get involved in. Consider running a marathon so you can train together or entering a local tennis tournament where you need to rely on each other to get through. These bonding sessions are a fantastic way of spending real quality time with your growing daughter.
Make the effort to attend all her school functions. If she’s in the sports team try not to miss a game and attend every parent-teacher conference you can, showing you’re interested in her development. Your involvement can be integral in ensuring she gets good grades and is consistently enjoying school. Yes, she’ll probably ignore you completely whilst you’re there but subconsciously she’ll be ecstatic you turned up.
This is a continuation of behaviour you should have been showing your daughter since the day she was born. From the first time you showed her that you eat your greens to get big and strong and so should she, you’ve presented yourself as a role model.
If you want to ensure your daughter works hard, sleeps enough and eats nutritional grub, you need to do the same yourself. The same goes for swearing, entering their teenager years, kids begin to get more creative with their cuss words but if you make it clear you don’t allow it in your home, you’re daughter is less likely to think it’s a good thing to do with her friends. Setting an example is essential to being a great dad.
Recognise Her Strengths
Adolescence is a difficult time for a young girl where she begins to doubt all sorts of things about herself. The worst thing you can do as a dad is compare her to her siblings or friends. Just because her older brother got straight As doesn’t mean she needs to and she may have her own very special talents that you should be focusing on.
Recognising your daughter’s personal strengths and helping her focus and hone them is a great way of building your relationship and showing her you’re proud of her as an individual and don’t compare her to anyone else.
Physical Attributes aren’t Everything
Self-consciousness reaches its height during puberty and although you think your little girl is beautiful, being told that all the time might make her feel worse about how she looks and think you’re the only person who thinks so. Sometimes it’s best to positively reinforce other features about your daughter such as her sporting prowess or intelligence, showing there is more to life than physicality.
Being a good dad can seem really difficult when your daughter is more interested in some boy than you but with a little perseverance and a lot of dedication, you can show your daughter how much she means to you. Being the parent of a teenager is a really difficult period to go through but afterwards you will have a young woman who you are very proud of ready to tackle the big wide world with her daddy at her side.
[Written by Anna Pullman]