I’ve heard countless women I’ve counseled tell me that when they began to develop physically, their relationships with their dads became distant and they felt rejected. The dad and teen daughter dynamic can shift as men watch their little girls start to grow into women. Dad may not know how to handle her becoming a sexual being or her emotions.
Encourage physical contact.
Dads remember being a teenage boy and seeing a daughter’s body mature into womanhood reminds them of all the impure thoughts they once had. Shame may be running interference in their ability to have positive physical touch. Reassure your husband that who he was as a teenage boy is not who he is today. Remind him that being able to hold and touch his daughter in healthy ways will give her reassurance and protect her from getting her need for male touch met by teen boys.
Don’t fear her sexuality.
Your daughter is perceptive and she will pick up on whether you fear her sexuality before she’s given you a reason to be afraid. Keep thoughts of your own past in check when you approach your teenage daughter.
Talk with your husband about the fear that your daughter might repeat his or your past. Then rationally take a look at how you’ve raised her and what trust her own character merits. Is she trustworthy in her daily decisions? Encourage yourself and him in all that she has that the two of you didn’t. Avoid thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Purposely focus on what could go right.
His voice speaks volumes.
Dads give their children a sense of identity. Encourage your husband to tell your daughter that she is beautiful, intelligent, and an asset to the world. As she begins to develop she will face comparison, inadequacy, and rejection by boys. When she consistently hears from him that she is a desirable human being, those things will hold less weight as she develops her sense of self. If your teen believes her dad sees her as beautiful, she will be inclined to believe it herself.
If your teen believes her dad sees her as beautiful, she will be inclined to believe it herself.
He can be a stabilizer in her emotions.
His remaining calm and immovable in the midst of her mood swings will help her find stability. Remind him that not everything she says or feels is rational when her hormones are all over the place. Help him to not jump to conclusions or overreact himself when she does or says something emotion-driven. His being able to be decisive, consistent, and unshakable in his parenting will give her a sense of security. She may not like his being a boulder she can’t move, but deep down, she will feel safe in knowing there’s a boundary in place.
What are some things you wish your dad would have been or done for you during your teen years?