Raising children is no easy task, and it can be more daunting when you’re raising a daughter as a single dad. Without the emotional assistance of another partner, it can be challenging navigating the complex emotions, social situations, and changes your child goes through.
According to Pew Research Center, “the number of single father households has increased about ninefold since 1960, from less than 300,000 to more than 2.6 million in 2011.” The term “single father” covers a variety of family circumstances – according to the Pew study, about half are separated, divorced, widowed or never married and are living without a cohabiting partner; about 40 percent are living with a non-marital partner; and 7 percent are married but living apart from their spouse.
While being a single dad may seem overwhelming at first, the rewards of a lifelong relationship of love and trust with your child is completely unparalleled. Here are a few tips for single dads:
1. Be approachable
From bullies, schoolwork, to physical changes, growing up is hard. Your child needs someone to talk to for guidance and support. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open from the start. Assuring her that you are there for her and ready to help her through conflicts of any kind is key to successful communication. Be completely accessible for her to bring any topic of discussion to you, without any awkwardness or discomfort.
2. Good listening skills
It’s important to find time to talk and listen to each other. Be open to talking about all emotions, including anger, frustration, and anxiety, and pay attention to your child’s body language for nonverbal messages. By listening to them, you’re showing that they’re worthy of your attention, their views and feelings are valid, and that you trust their ability to solve problems.
3. An honest approach
It isn’t easy to address issues of hormonal and emotional metamorphoses that girls go through but an honest, easy going approach is possibly the best way to go. Talk to her about her physical and emotional discomfort that certain phases of her life might bring, and be honest about discussing the why and how of it.
4. Be involved in her life
Getting to know about your child’s likes and dislikes, hobbies, and friends will go a long way in building the foundations of a healthy relationship. Ask about her favorite authors, bands and other activities that she enjoys. Meeting her friends and spending some time with them will also be beneficial in building bridges of communication.
5. Let go a little
It is natural for fathers to be slightly overprotective of their little daughter, but trying to be more protective only leads to friction and rebellion. Let your daughter have her space and respect her need for privacy, while building a bond of mutual trust and dependability.
6. Encourage her
Fathers play a huge role in developing a child’s sense of self-esteem right from her early days. Encourage her often, praise her on little successes, and support her during her failures. Your approval in her life is very important, and while going overboard with compliments is not ideal either, encouraging her to pursue her interests and goals is crucial.
7. Establish a strong support system for your daughter
Raising your daughter as a single dad does not mean that you have to do it completely on your own. Seek assistance from your family and build a strong support system for your daughter outside of yourself, such as other female relatives in the family who could relate to changes she’s going through.
8. Boost your child’s confidence
With the constant pressures of social media, young girls, as well as boys, are constantly comparing themselves to their peers. Boost her confidence, build a positive body image, and help her through those phases, especially that of puberty when her body undergoes major changes. Be a strong role model and applaud your daughter on her strengths.
For family law matters, call the Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell today. Our experienced family law attorneys are passionate about helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their situation. Call our law firm today at (770) 479-0248 for a free consultation.