Adolescence can be a difficult time for fathers and daughters. As little girls grow into young women, it can be hard for dads to figure where, and how, they fit in. Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Stay close. But, as girls grow up and start seeking more independence, our job shifts, says Dr. Bubrick, but when it comes to maintaining a close, open relationship, what was protective and necessary when she was a child can start to feel restrictive, and become a source of major tension.
Instead, he says, fathers should practice listening, not lecturing. Join our list and be among the first to know when we publish new articles. Get useful news and insights right in your inbox.
Bubrick notes. Adolescence is minefield when it comes to confidence. As girls grow up, mothers tend to take the lead in personal conversations and offering support and encouragement , and dads often end up taking a backseat. Girls need positive feedback from both parents, especially during their teen years. Praising her intelligence, creativity, kindness or sense of humor will help her build and maintain confidence during a time that can be all too focused on appearance.
These might be seemingly simple things: Love for a boy band, or the intricacies of slumber party politics. Physical development, like getting your period , or changes in bra size.
Or they may be more complex, upsetting experiences like sexism or harassment. For example: Are you supportive when your wife tries new things or has a bad day? Do you listen with interest, or cut her down when she has an idea? As a bonus, it also sets a standard for how she should expect other men in her life — from boyfriends to bosses — to behave as well. When it comes to topics like sex or drinking , dads may be tempted to lay down the law, but Dr. Bubrick says that letting your daughter take the lead and helping her talk things through — rather than dictating how the conversation will go — is more effective, and helps set the stage for better long term communication.
Usually away from her feeling comfortable coming to you again. Likewise, he says, dads should be thoughtful about when — and how — you approach heavy conversations.
When girls are little most dads never think twice about piggyback rides, bedtime snuggles or big hugs. But the onset of puberty can make physical affection feel confusing, and fraught. Letting your teenage daughter know how important she is to you can be a huge source of self-worth for her at a time when her identity may feel fragile.
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