After long and restful sabbatical, I return with my first post dedicated to Fathers – and daughters. A girl’s Father plays an important part in how she develops as a woman. My own father helped shaped my life today – from the way I talk, to the sports I love and of course every creative fiber in my bone comes from him . As I grow older, I realize I’m almost a female version of my ad. Being raised in a two parent home, I was fortunate to have my dad at my side every step of the way. Some people may not have been as lucky as I was to have their father in their life every day, for various reasons. But the reality is, we live in a world with many broken homes. And we have Dads who desire to be in their daughters’ lives, but are sometimes robbed of this experience due to a difficult relationship with the Mother.
When I see women using a child as weapons to hurt their exes, it hurts me, especially when the child is a young girl. We often hear that fathers are the first men women learn to love and they often seek out men who have similar qualities as their dads. I know I find myself desiring the type of relationship my own parents have built and often hope for a lot of the same qualities my dad has in the man I spend my life with. I mean, my dad is creative, sensitive, spiritual, smart, a great protector and provider, talented and all-round AWESOME!
A daughter pays close attention to the actions of their father. She watches and internalize how her father behaves and treats other women in his life. Dr. Linda Nielsen, educational psychologist and professor at Wake Forest University emphasizes in her book “Father-Daughter Relationships,” women with secure, fulfilling relationships with their fathers are able to communicate with and develop strong, intimate and fulfilling relationships with their own mates. She believes young women learn what is attractive in a mate from their fathers, and look for that in other men they meet as they grow older. It is a blessing to have a father to look up to for advice and as a source of strength. Single fathers, you should cherish every moment with your daughters and spend as much time focusing on your daughter’s needs, regardless of the relationship you have with her mother. Never give up quality one on one time with your daughter for any reason.
On this Father’s Day all you single father’s out there raising your daughters full time, or co-parenting part time, here are a few things you can do with your daughter as a single father to strengthen that father-daughter bond:
- Talk to your daughter every day.
If she lives with you, ask her about her day when you get home from work. Show an interest in how she spends her day. If she doesn’t live wit you, make sure to call her daily. I have a four year old cousin who uses her mom’s phone to facetime friends – on her own. If your little girl is not old enough for her own phone, schedule time with the mother or someone else in their household to call her everyday without having to deal with mom if you don’t want/need to.
- Help with homework.
If she lives with you, carve out time to sit with your daughter and help her with homework. This creates a special bonding time with daddy. If she doesn’t live with you, you can offer to pick her up from school several times a week and spend some time going over her work with her before taking her to her mother’s house. Or this can be done on weekends. And for those whose custody arrangements may not allow for during the week ‘visitation,’ technology is your friend – skype or facetime the little munchkin. I’m sure she would love that! According to Nielsen, fathers can also influence their daughter’s academic career, so the more time you spend with her during homework bonding time, the more influence you will have on her successful school life.
- Take your daughter out to a nice brunch, lunch or dinner.
Just the two of you at least once a month. No, mommy does not need to be there. Spending quality time with your daughter in this social setting helps your daughter understand how to socialize with men and learn what is acceptable social behavior (HERE are some etiquette rules you may want to use and teach your daughter as well)
- Talk to your daughter about relationships.
This is usually a hard topic for most men, as we have come to accept the general premise that men don’t like to talk about relationships – that’s a woman’s thing. When you’re a single dad, you need to get over that because mom will not be holding back in this department, and you need your daughter to have balanced opinion on relationships with men.
- Listen to HER needs.
Let your daughter know that she can confide in you about anything, even if it is about her mom. You don’t want to establish a relationship with your daughter where she believes she is unable to speak with you about anything. In an age where bullying and other types of abuse is prevalent, you want to encourage your daughter to be vocal about the things going on in her life.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY GUYS! MAKE THE MOST OF IT.
Stock Image/Lagos Mums