Hey Dads, about your teenaged daughters… Here are 6 things you should know
As Father’s Day approaches, it’s only appropriate to acknowledge all the hardworking dads out there. We (moms, your kids, society) appreciate you. While it’s no surprise that many dads-to-be feel anxious, there is a particular sense of worry around the idea of raising a teenaged daughter.
I’m here to tell you…there’s no right answer. However, as a former teenaged daughter myself (albeit over a decade ago), I’d like to offer my humble advice to all the stellar dads out there.
- Her Body is Changing (and that’s weird for her too)
Hormone shifts and physical changes are the bane of adolescent existence. At some point, your daughter will get her period. If you didn’t grow up around pads, tampons, and cramps, it’s understandable that you may feel uncomfortable. For the sake of your daughter, try to come to terms with that beforehand. It’s likely you’ll need to help her out in a “period emergency” at some point, and you don’t want to make her feel embarrassed or ashamed for a normal bodily function.
- Remind Her of Her Worth
Body image is a big deal since they’re continually fed unrealistic “standards.” This is the age where many women develop an eating disorder.
It’s easy to tell your daughter she’s beautiful (because she is) but watch that her mental health is sound too. Make sure she knows you value her other attributes as well, like her determination, creativity, or athletic ability.
- You’re Input Matters to Her Future
No matter what your daughter’s goals are, she can’t get there without a solid education. As her father, you are a voice of reason and encouragement. While you shouldn’t expect perfection, having high expectations and offering support can help your daughter accomplish her academic ambitions.
- She Internalizes How You Treat Other Women
Your daughter takes in how you treat other women. She should expect nothing less than respect from other men, based on your model. You may not be with your daughter’s mother anymore. That’s totally fine, as long as you still interact civilly.
- Show up for the Important Stuff
You don’t have to attend EVERY event your daughter is a part of but if it’s meaningful to her, try your best to make it. This could be a particular sporting event, special musical performance, or even prom.
- Take an Interest in Her Interests
Pick a few things she’s most interested in and look for commonality. You might end up introducing her to something special from your own teenage years.
Katie Carrick lives in Beaverton with her husband, two young children, and their yappy but loveable dog, Mendel. She’s a former clinical scientist who now works as a freelance writer. For more information visit mkcontentcreation.com.