The process of divorce and its aftermath can be a long and painful, especially if there are children and custody battles involved. It can be a particularly sensitive situation if teen girls are involved because emotions run high during these years. Dads with custody of teenage girls should be sensitive to their daughters' feelings and validate as well as support them.
Don't Badmouth Your Ex
The first rule for divorced parents to remember is not to badmouth the other parent, especially in front of your children. This is detrimental to your child's emotional state. Your daughter may internalize these criticisms and take them to heart. Even though you are no longer with your ex, your child will always be a part of her, and you should respect the bond that they share, even if their relationship is rocky. You never want your child to feel guilty about the positive feelings she has toward her mother or the traits that she herself has received from her mom.
Communicate With Your Daughter
Talk to your daughter about her feelings. Open the lines of communication by asking how she's doing and telling her that you will be there to talk and listen whenever she needs you. She may not respond right away, but by talking to your daughter regularly about non-issues, such as daily activities or school, you'll send the message that it's okay for her to approach you with topics regarding the divorce that may bother her.
Girls need to know that they are loved by their parents. Showing compassion and physical affection toward your daughter will strengthen your bond and let her know that you care. If you see her struggling, offer a hug. Your daughter will likely respond positively to this type of comfort. If not, don't push it, but offer a tender touch of the hand or shoulder instead. Remember to continue to be affectionate even when times are good.
Encourage a Relationship With Her Mother
Your daughter's mother will always be a special person in her life. Accept it and encourage your daughter to spent quality time with her mother, even if she doesn't have full custody. By showing your daughter that you want her to have a successful relationship with her mother, you'll increase the likelihood that your daughter will trust you and come to you with her problems. Sometimes kids feel they have to choose sides during a divorce; you'll be addressing those concerns head-on by giving your daughter your blessing to nurture this important relationship.
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