Some families are lucky enough to have both mom and dad present in their daughter’s life. In this case, it’s the mother whom the daughter can run to when puberty and boys make their life more exciting.
…recent Census data (US HHS) show that there were 1.96 million single fathers in 2012 (with 16% of custodial single parents being men) and an estimate of 189,000 stay-at-home dads in 2012 (defined as those who were out of the labor force for at least a year to care for children younger than 15). — The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMF
On the other hand, dads usually take care of their boys when they finally have “the talk.” But what happens when dads have to do both? Are you ready for questions about their first period, their crush, or their self-esteem issues? Although you might feel less knowledgeable about your daughter’s teenage predicaments, you still might be underestimating just how much you can help.
Be Extra Sensitive
Know when it’s time. More often than not, your daughter will try to hide everything as much as they can. It is the time in their life wherein they feel embarrassed about what’s happening with their bodies.
It might be better to slowly initiate a conversation with your daughters rather than wait for them to come to you. If you do the latter, you might just be waiting for nothing. It might be awkward at first, but they will appreciate your concern far more than you can imagine. Even before that, do your research or talk to other people so that you don’t go in empty-handed.
Don’t be a stranger to your daughter. Be sensitive enough to create an environment where they don’t have to hide things out of embarrassment or fear of you.
Good fathers engage in less risky behaviors – I had a father who decided to quit smoking once and for all so he could be there to walk his daughter down the aisle. — Chen Oren, Ph.D.
Ask Help From Others
Let’s face it: dads know about a boy’s puberty. They are all too familiar with problems involving girls and all the fiasco that comes with being a teenage boy. With girls, however, it is an entirely different terrain they haven’t tried to cross.
As much as dads want to be a guide for their daughters, sometimes it is just different when “the talk” is with their girls. If you feel like you are an insufficient guide, then you might want to tap your trusted relatives or friends to have a friendly chat with your daughter.
Try not to make a big deal out of everything. It might make your daughter feel even more embarrassed to open up. Instead, be as casual as possible. Invite some female friends or relatives for lunch, brief them about your problem, and let them work their magic.
Of course, this will still be a case-to-case basis. Do you think your daughter will willingly open up to other people aside from you? Or does she need more privacy and want to talk only with you? With these questions in mind, you can approach the situation accordingly.
Don’t Just Be Her Dad
Your daughters might be longing for a mother figure or, really, just any woman they can trust. Your judging them is the last thing they need when they open up.
As a father you take a lot of pride and integrity in your relationship with your children. Your main priority is to be the best possible dad you can be, but the circumstances of divorce can make this difficult or even impossible. — Andra Brosh, PhD
It is the perfect time to act not only as a dad but also their friend. Your daughter will have lots of questions, and you have to make sure that you answer from your heart. They will feel that you care for their welfare and, in turn, build a trusting and open relationship with you.
So, there you have it. Don’t worry; this experience doesn’t have to be painstakingly awkward for either you or your daughter. It might all seem daunting, but it will surely elevate your father-daughter bond to the next level. In the end, you will find that she treats you as her new best friend. How much better can that get?