You have to think back on what is was like to be a teen yourself. Everyone has to undergo the same transitional process from carefree childhood to adulthood.
Granted, for girls the hormonal, physical and social development is a little different. It isn’t easy, but you can make the whole process go smoother by understanding your daughter’s perspective and her personal needs.
Here is what you can do:
Make The Relationship A Priority
Many dads are pre-occupied with their jobs or their own social activities. All too often, busy fathers will neglect promises in order to play golf or attend a meeting.
Do this even once and it tells your daughter she’s not a priority. That’s a bad element in a relationship that has to last a lifetime.
Even if she doesn’t live with you, always make the time to give her a call, text or email. Send her cards and gifts on holidays and special occasions.
Let her know the lines of communication are always open. Be prepared to simply listen and sympathize if that’s what she needs.
Devote The Time
Find ways to spend more time with her. She isn’t going to want you hanging around when she’s with her friends, and certainly not her boyfriends.
Yet, there will be opportunities to engage her in friendly conversation. You could take her out for pizza or burgers or just do something that she enjoys doing.
It might also benefit your relationship to make spending time together a regular activity – once a week at a certain.
Be Involved in Her Education
Ask about her life goals and school experiences. You might even want to consider a more productive environment.
If the quality of her education worries you, for example, you may be thinking, “Is there a middle school near me that’s better suited for her?” If so, seek those opportunities for her personal betterment and growth.
Try Not to Criticize
As both her dad and a member of the older generation, you won’t always appreciate her choices. Her tastes in clothes, music, entertainment and romance may seem downright weird.
As a father, you may need to step in and discourage behaviors you consider unacceptable, whether it’s a revealing blouse or a biker tattoo. If you’re a stepdad, be sure to discuss your feelings with her mom before taking any action on your own.
Be ready to discuss and defend your position, but let her know that it’s coming from a heart of love. Your daughter is a young woman who is growing into herself in terms of maturity and personality.
Because of this, she’s got to start using her own judgment. Teenage girls may sometimes be overly sensitive.
Hold back criticism when it comes to the unimportant. Offer praise when it’s due.
Encourage her to be thoughtful and creative in her plans, rather than constantly telling her what to do.
Make it clear what you expect in terms of grades, curfews, household chores and other responsibilities. Offer to help or console her if she’s doing her best but slips up or falls short here and there.
If you do have a system of discipline in place, such as withholding allowance or adding chores, by all means, enforce it whenever she’s clearly disregarded your rules.
Establishing boundaries shows her you care about her and her future. She probably won’t like following your rules, but if you’re compassionate and reasonable it will help to lower any resentment or the chances she might act out in defiance.
Don’t set a double standard for your daughter. Apply the same rules you apply to your other children.
Enforcing higher standards and over-protecting her shows a lack of confidence. This is only likely to create resentment and imbalance in your family.
If your daughter seems withdrawn or argumentative, all the more reason to try harder or switch gears.
If she has behavioral issues, address them. Find ways to let her know that, regardless of the boundaries you’ve set, you love her as an individual and her future well-being is a priority to you.