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.