Connecting with teenagers can be difficult with parents even under the best of circumstances but how about for single dads? Here are a few strategies for single fathers and teenage daughters.
girls and their dads
If there’s one thing teenage girls want from their dads more than anything else, it’s to know that you love her.
Her father’s support increases her independence and confidence, two crucial characteristics in the teen years.
But when your daughter goes from being a young, cute, cuddly girl to a teenager, things begin to shift, and it becomes harder for dads to connect with their daughters.
Unfortunately, exactly when they need it most, dads pull away. Maybe it’s because they sense their daughter pulling away, and they think they’re doing the right thing.
But if you consider a single father who doesn’t live with his daughter 100% of the time, pulling away during the teen years, then a divide happens.
But there are ways for you to avoid this gap.
tips for single fathers & teenage daughters to connect
When she’s ready to talk, she’ll talk.
No matter what you’re doing, make time for her when these moments come up.
You can try to force her to talk and ask all the questions about school, boys, and sports, but if she doesn’t feel like talking, you won’t get much out of her.
But when she’s ready to talk, if you’re willing to listen, she will talk. Usually, for teenagers, that magic moment happens at night. And the best part is that all you have to do is listen.
It’s best if you don’t say much at all.
One on one time
Take time each week just for you and her to hang out together.
Take her out for coffee once a week. Even if you only sit down for 15 minutes, you’ve opened the space for her to know you’re available.
Make the space for this time together. If other kids are always around or if you seem too busy with work, your daughter may not bother to open up to you, and most likely, she won’t ask for this time with you.
As the adult, you’ll need to initiate this time together.
Dads aren’t always the best at making plans, but this can make a daughter feel loved and special to know that her dad wants to spend time with her.
Be okay with silence if that’s all you get out of her at first. Just take her out to coffee or brunch once a week for a month or two. Make the space for her.
Stay in contact
When your daughter is at her mom’s house, keep in contact with her. Don’t wait until you see her again at your house to find out about her life. By the time your daughter is a teenager, hopefully, this doesn’t violate any co-parenting agreement you have with your ex.
Although your teen may not always respond, be the adult in the relationship and continue to pursue your child and show interest in her.
Be the dad that always shows up.
Co-parenting is rough. Dealing with an Ex is rough. Having to be in the same room as your Ex’s new partner and their kids is rough.
But think how much more challenging it is for your daughter.
Let her know by your actions that you’ll always be there.
You’ll always be home when she expects you to be home.
You’ll always answer the phone when she texts you.
You’ll always show up for her.