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Father-teenage daughter activities

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It’s never too late to start naturing your daughter and to engage in some father-teenage daughter activities. If a father-daughter relationship has been non-existent or weak, it takes deliberate steps by both father and daughter to recover lost time and to start building a great paternal relationship.

First you need to identify what are the key factors that have separated you over time and stalled the father-daughter relationship. It may for example be a busy work schedule. Allocate some time to sit together and talk about it.

If you do not stay in the same house or location, make time to call or use any other medium that is suitable, e.g. whatsapp, email, facebook, etc. The important thing is to find that connection and to start sharing as father and daughter.

If your relationship has been strained lately because you disagreed on something, you need to know that to disagree is perfectly in order! People disagree all the time on different issues. You need to recognize that you disagree not because you are father and daughter, but because of your beliefs and inclinations. When people disagree it is a sign that they are listening to each other, but have strong positions about the issues in question.

Respecting each other’s opinions, however divergent, is the key. In addition, place yourself in the other’s position and you may see things from a new perspective. For example a father may deny his daughter permission to go to a party, not because he does not trust her – as she may jump to conclude – but because, simply, he is her father (meaning he has fears and wants to protect his daughter).

Some daughters may as: “What would my father and I discuss for an hour without boredom kicking in?”

Not all dads (or daughters) are interesting in conversation – some actually just keep quiet! The best time spent with someone is when you do something that you both enjoy, rather than do something only for the other person.

For instance, if you both love table tennis, it feels great and enjoyable to play together; and that can go on for hours. The reason is that attention is dissipated between you two and the ball game. Awesome.

Other father-teenage daughter activities you can pursue together

…to strengthen your unique relationship and help you face future challenges:

• Together in the kitchen
• Out for a meal
• Attending functions that put her in the centre of the crowd – sports, dance, etc.
• College and school awards
• Parental consultations in school and college
• Home parties – e.g. birthday

Which one of these have you as a father or a daughter engaged in?

In his article “20 Daddy-Daughter Dates {Invest the Time to Win Her Heart}”, Matthew L. Jacobson lists several interesting father-daughter date ideas, many of which are mother-assisted. These range from as simple as an icecream date to more involving ones like hikes, flicks, picnic in the park and make-overs.

You can find more ideas for father-teenage daughter activities at How Stuff Works, in the feature “10 Cool Father-Daughter Activities” by Cristen Conger & Jill Jaracz

As father to a teenage girl, you can step in and help her in becoming assertive about her future.

Here are some father-teenage daughter activities you can engage in, with great future returns, to your credit.

1) Help your teenage daughter with her self-issues

Key among self-issues is her image. As she develops into a teenager, your daughter will get pre-occupied about her image. A major question in her mind is, “Am I beautiful?” Many girls use personalities and celebrities as a benchmark against which they place a judgement on themselves, and sometimes their self-verdict can be disastrous. As a dad you can help her understand the meaning of “beauty” to a man, which goes beyond physical looks.

Another key self issue is her personal hygiene. Does she have all she needs to take care of that? You can resolve this, not by being too inquisitive on this subject, but providing her with some resources to “take care of yourself as a girl.” Still related to her self-image, teach her how to keep tidy and how to arrange and decorate her room. A major recommendation is that you provide her with a full length mirror in her room, if possible.

2) Food, drink and body — loved in a big way and hated as much by teenagers

One of the greatest challenges that a teenage girl faces as she becomes an adult is food. It’s either foods that make her a bit fat or foods that make her too thin. Depending on how she feels about her body, she may be wanting to be smaller or bigger. This physical focus goes into even more detail – what does my bust look like? Is my underarm too big? Should I cover my buttoms? Are my breasts too tiny or too large? At her age bracket, everything is either too big or too small — and sometimes this has nothing to do with the physical size; so don’t bother to help her measure!

Discuss food, drink and body with your daughter. Be sensitive to her feelings, and ready to change menus at home. Some fathers insist only on certain types of meals, without realizing the trauma it may impose on their daughters. True trauma, no kidding.

Help her as she seeks to understand the food-drink-body inter-relationships. If she is trying to get smaller or fitter, you can occasionally join her in her walks, jogs or gym outings. As a father, you probably have already been through the drill with your wife’s food, drink and body issues, so you may already have some answers your daughter could make use of.

3) Open a conversation about boys

It may be one of the difficult subjects for most fathers, but every father should try talk to his teen daughter about boys. Yes, those ones. She will likely be hesitant in the beginning to even admit she has a boyfriend or wishes to have one. What is most crucial though, is that you let her know the truth about boys. But what is truth? You must be careful not to stereotype boys or create in her a sense of apprehension about them. You instead should help her demystify boys by encouraging that she asks questions affecting her.

Kathleen Odenthal Romano’s article, “10 Reasons Fathers are so Important to their Daughters” is insightful. It states that “a father who shows love to the women in his life, is nurturing and compassionate, is a father who helps his daughter avoid unhealthy relationships with other men as she ages.”

In answering your daughter’s questions about men, you will be guiding her through practical issues on which she needs to make decisions, rather than theoretical and abstract advice about boys. If your daughter ends up being scared of boys, you will have exerted negative influence. The principle is to welcome her interaction with boys, but steer her in the right direction.

4) Can she fend herself physically?

A daughter will forever be greatful to a father who taught her how to shield herself physically. Teach her how to behave and react in situations of danger. Let her know when to walk away — even run — and when she must stop running and fight. Help her learn what to do when a verbal fight breaks out and how to secure herself when a physical one errupts.

Take her through the motions of fighting off both men and women — as each gender demands a different defense tactic (e.g. scratching a man’s face may least bother him, while it can bring a female adversary to an abrupt stop. Men are much less concerned about how they look compared to women, but are on the other hand seriously concerned about their manhood. Let her know what part of a man’s body hurts most).

5) Independence — the greatest gift to a girl

Many women get stuck up in their careers, marriages and life in general because they cannot exercise independence. They rely on others to make decisions affecting them – from husbands to friends and relatives.
This dependence often leaves many heartbroken and betrayed, when those they looked up to fail to make the right decisions for them. Worse, they may not know how to deal with the failed situation, so they look out for new people to lean on.

Early in life, start helping your daughter on decision making, for example the ability to say not to an outing of peers so she can attend to something that is important to her. Or the mindset to pay her own bills after a meal in a restaurant. Or the nerve to say no to things she does not believe in. Or simply the resolve to change her environment because she feels uncomfortable.

6) Empower her though education

It may not be obvious to your teenage girl how important education will turn out to be in her later life. Having re-assured her that she is beautiful, you also need to alert her about the power of education.
In the world of women, this is known as “beauty and brains” – an unstoppable combination. One way to emphasize the place of her education is to have keen interest in her academic and non-academic opportunities and performance.

Linda Nielsen, a professor of educational and adolescent psychology at Wake Forest University and the author of Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research & Issues (2013) and Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship (2012), states in her article “How Dads Affect Their Daughters into Adulthood” published at the Institute for Family Studies:

“Daughters whose fathers have been actively engaged throughout childhood in promoting their academic or athletic achievements and encouraging their self-reliance and assertiveness are more likely to graduate from college and to enter the higher paying, more demanding jobs traditionally held by males. This helps explain why girls who have no brothers are overly represented among the world’s political leaders: they tend to receive more encouragement from their fathers to be high achievers.”

7) Seek her opinion

It is not lost to women that some fathers give girls a complete blackout when it comes to opinions about certain aspects of like, such as physical assets. Some fathers will seek to hear what the sons think about a new piece of land, a new car or a new house, but not the daughter.

In some cultures, this is informed by inheritance traditions that lock out women. Fathers in those kind of cultures may feel the asset discussion is irrelevant to a daughter as she will sooner or later be married and gone! Provide your daughter a forum to contribute on any subject at home.

By doing this you empower her and prepare her to face any situation – married or not.

8) Teach her about money and investments.

At her age, she needs to start taking care of the pennies; to save every coin and put the money into an interest bearing bank account. Give her some pocket money, increasing the amounts gradually, and observe plus guide her in how she treats the cash. Talk to her about risks and insurance; let her understand how it all works. If you have some outpatient medical cover, make sure she understands what happens to the bills when you next take a family member to the clinic.

Allow her to spend some cash too! Occasionally join her as she spends, and allow her to buy you something. Join her to the bank as she takes her savings or goes to make a withdrawal — due to her age you will likely be the signatory to her account.

9) Talk to her about the world.

Discuss places, cities, countries, cultures… Open her horizons by showing her these places on maps and online videos. Take to her about trending news; let her know the world is happening. Ask her about her interests in travel, shopping, sports, politics, music, dance, flicks, etc. If you can afford it, work with her mum to give your daughter a surprise trip to some place she would love to go — locally or overseas. Once you learn her preferences, you may find there are many inexpensive local destinations that would thrill her while helping her grow up.

10) Set the example of a gentleman

Yes, that’s the ultimate lesson. Treat her mother like a queen and your daughter like the princess you say she is. Keep your promises. Observe time schedules. Be gentle when dealing with her and a man when dealing with issues. Preach water and drink it.

Good luck!

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