Teenage daughters don't always resemble their former preteen and kid versions of themselves. While you might have found it easy to spend quality time with your daughter as a child, her growth into a teenager can put a strain on your relationship. Dramatic, impulsive and awkward, it can be difficult to know how to effective parent your teen daughter as the dad figure in her life. While your relationship may have changed over the years, you can still be there for her, offering her the support she needs even if she acts like she doesn't need it.
Listen to What She's Saying
If there's anything teen girls usually excel in, it's the art of the spoken word. Your daughter can talk your ear off with anything from how her day went to why she thinks you should buy her a cellphone. When chatting up your teenage daughter, listen for the message that she's not saying. Telling you that she wants her own computer in her room could be a red flag that she wants to communicate with someone incognito. Whining about going to school could have something to do with her friends and bullying. Fighting with you for seemingly no reason could be her trying to exert her independence.Try to decipher the hidden meaning behind her words to understand your daughter better.
Spend Quality Time Together
Fathers and their teen daughters can experience a relationship strain during the teenage years. Consider the time you spent together when your daughter was a child versus the time you spend together with her now. Chances are, with school stuff, activities, your work and family obligations, that quality time has diminished over the years. Making quality time for her can make her feel important and help bond you together, even if it's just a weekly ice cream date.
Of all the men in your daughter's life, you're the most important. As a man, you can have an influence on how your daughter feels about her self and how she responds to other men in her life. For instance, if you're disapproving or critical, she may feel bad about herself and believe the negative things other people say about her. Instead, make a point to let your daughter know you accept her just the way she is, as stated in the article, "Father's Day: Dads and Their Teen Daughters" by Leon Hoffman, M.D. in "Psychology Today." Help her shape self-esteem by letting her know that she's smart, pretty, funny and friendly enough for you and you can help promote a healthy self-image.
When your daughter and her mom are going head-to-head in an argument, it may be best to keep your peace. If you side with the other parent, it can look like you're ganging up on your daughter. Side with your daughter and you could have issues with her mom for a lack of backup. Unless the argument has something to do with a major issue, like changing curfew or breaking rules, you can step back or suggest that everyone take a time out and come back for a calm discussion later.
No dad has a perfect relationship with his teenage daughter and you shouldn't expect one, either. Teenage girls can be dramatic and volatile, but they can also be sweet and fun, as well. Expect that you'll have a few bumps as you navigate the teenage years, but remember that you still remain an important part of her life.
- Psychology Today: Father's Day: Dads and Their Teen Daughters
- FamilyEducation.com: How to Survive Your Daughter's Teen Years
- Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know; Meg Meeker, M.D.
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