Am I the only guy that was scared to death of having a little girl? As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, boys were just easier for me. Not a whole lot went into it…at least the baby and toddler part. When they went “pre-pube” it was even easier. I had the right prescriptions for their needs…food, dirt, and fire.
Girls can be just as an adventurist. My daughter loves the outdoors, sports, and contention…lol. Boys just seem to acquire less when it comes to maintenance. When they start to change…preteen, hold onto your hat. They become quite complex. Hey dads, what do you do? Remember this phrase…”Let me think about that”. “Hmmm, can I have some time to ponder on that”? Dads….buy time. Do it in the name of giving your daughter the best response possible.
If you assume that you understand the mindset of your pre-teen girl, you will be wrong. Give her space. Give her time. This allows for decompression and for you to be viewed as an asset, not the other ass____. Some of you may be thinking that right is right and wrong is wrong. “This is my house and my kids do as I say”. Let me refer you to the most macho men on the face of the planet. They are called Navy Seals. One of their primary objectives is to identify a threat and “avoid” a conflict. Their focus is to accomplish the mission, not prove how awesome they are in combat.
So how can you grow closer to your aging and changing daughter? First of all, you are not one. Don’t assume that you know their feelings or state of mind. There is a lot more going on upstairs with them than boys. They are WAY more complex. You will experience conflict. There is no getting around this. Whether feeling damage is direct or collateral it will happen. A line has to be drawn that allows for you to maintain the household and for you and your spouse to be in charge…not them. They want and need strong parents. The keyword is strong. As I have mentioned in another post, they need the ROCK/ISLAND. This is a safe haven, a landmark for them to determine direction. However, they don’t want to run aground.
I see the biggest issues between dads and daughters develop amongst young fathers. Most of the time this stems from a lack of confidence and the dad not knowing who he is, let alone the man that he should be for his girl. That may step on some toes. The best way for me to respond to that possibility is to ask an important question. What is more important, your pride and feelings or the well-being of your girl. Learn now how to eat humble pie. This does not make you weak. This means that you are willing to go through anything for your child. It doesn’t mean that the ROCK/ISLAND moves out of the way when a ship is on a bad path. We will let our lighthouse warn them. However, ultimately it is better to be dependable, even if that means they hit the rocks.
Dependable dads do not give their children anything that they want. They are consistent and solid. There must be principles that you don’t budge on. If you don’t, your word is not worth anything. A mad child will get over it. You just have to keep reminding them how much you love them while reminding them that there are things that you cannot compromise on. I did not have a lot of rules per se. Showing respect, not lying, and handling their business was my main message. I know that sounds vague. However, most issues of instruction and dealing with contention can be managed with it. My kids loved their freedom. I made it very simple. Always show respect, don’t lie to me, and take care of their responsibilities. If they did those things, they had a LOT of freedom.
I know fathers that are on every extreme of parenting styles. Those that are extreme usually have the greatest impact on their daughters, especially those coming of age. Some dads let their daughters run wild because they don’t want to face a scene in the Exorcist movie. Some dads oppress their daughters with restriction and rules, thus making them socially inept, overly sheltered, and easy targets out in the world.
If you are going to be the dad that your young lady needs, you need to establish communication as early as possible. When they think of you, you want them to think strong, safe, always there (the rock/island), love, and a man of his word. This is the most healthy combo that you can have for her. To have all these characteristics, she must come before your needs. You need to listen, then listen some more. You don’t have to agree on everything. She will get upset…so will you. However, it is you, dad, the adult, that must set the pace and guidelines for her to have the healthiest upbringing possible. You can be the best dad possible.