Building a Stronger Bond with Your Teenage Daughter
It seems like only yesterday that you were playing tea party with her and her stuffed animals, taking her on piggyback rides, and treating to ice cream. Now that she’s older, those times you shared together seem to be far and few between. You’re lucky if you can get her to tell you how her day was, let alone spend quality time together. Though you know part of this is simply part of being a teenager, you don’t want to lose the bond you have with your little girl.
A father’s role in his daughter’s life is essential. It’s dad that gives her confidence and a sense of self-worth. It is her father whom she will look to as an example of who she should date. That’s why it is extremely important for fathers to work diligently to find ways to connect with their teenage daughters. Below are some suggestions on how you can build a stronger father-daughter bond:
Spend Quality Time Together
She may not want to play tea party or run around at the park, but that doesn’t mean your teenager isn’t interested in hanging out with you. There are so many ways you can get to know who your daughter is today by simply spending some one-on-one time together. You can take her to the movies, bowling, out for a bite to eat, to her favorite sports team event, go shopping at the mall, and when time and money allows it, take a family vacation together.
Listen to Her
Your daughter is in a stage in her life where she’s figuring out who she is, where she fits in, and what she wants to do in life. It is during these times that teenagers often need the support of their parents. Unfortunately, however, some parents make the mistake of doing more talking than listening which pushes teens to open up to their friends. If you want to build a stronger bond with your teenage daughter, one of the best things you can do is simply listen. When she’s talking to you about her day, her friends, things she’s struggling with, etc. don’t be quick to jump in and give your advice, just listen (offering advice only as she asks) and let her know you’re always there for her.
Be Present for Things that Matter to Her
When she was younger, you were there for every dance recital, soccer game, or spelling bee she performed in. Now that she’s older it is important for you to continue this practice. While she may not want you to show up for everything she does in or outside of school, when she shows interests, make sure you’re there to support. For example, if she’s been talking about a play she’s starring in for weeks, then why not make sure you’re off from work, order gourmet chocolates online, buy some flowers, and show up for the play? When she looks out into the crowd and sees you there, you’ll see her glowing from ear to ear.
Give Her Freedom
There’s no way around it, your teenage daughter is getting older. Trying to keep her close to home all the time will only draw a wedge between you two. You have to be willing to give her some freedom and trust that you’ve raised a good girl. Set clear rules, have a talk with her about important subjects like sex, drugs, and other risky behaviors, then, allow your teen the freedom to come into her true self. Let her hang out with her friends as long as she has completed her school work, done her household chores, follows the rules, let’s you know where she’s going, and is home within a reasonable hour.
Find Tactful Ways to Express Your Love
Calling her pet names, kissing her in public, and trying to wrestle her for a hug are likely things your teenage daughter doesn’t like anymore. It’s not that she doesn’t appreciate your love, it just gets kind of embarrassing (especially in front of friends). So, find more tactful ways to let her know you love her. A gentle kiss on the forehead, a cute text with emojis, or even a secret handshake lets her know she’s still daddy’s little girl without making her want to run and hide.
The transition from childhood to adolescence is a difficult one for children and their parents. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not possible to find ways to love, nurture, and support your daughter as she goes through this time in her life. More than ever (and likely more than she’s willing to admit) she needs her daddy’s love. Using the above-mentioned tips can help the two of you build a strong bond while also letting her know you’re there in a way she can really appreciate.