Tips for Father on Talking to Your Daughter
  • | October 5, 2016
Whether you're a single or married father with a daughter in the 10-15 year-old age group, it’s natural to feel clueless on how to approach her in a tactful manner without being awkward. At this age, there are some sensitive and embarrassing topics that will inevitably need to be discussed. This can be especially difficult when you're a single parent or widow with sole responsibility of raising your daughter.

Here are 5 tips provided by actual preteen girls on how to handle sticky situations and difficult conversations:

  1. Don’t talk down to her. It's important to recognize that your daughter is at the age where she is able to start contemplating and discussing things in a mature way. Speaking in euphemisms and trying to make everything sound cute and childish will be more irritating than anything, as she'll feel like you can't see she's growing up. She may not be an adult yet, but she's well past the rainbows and sunshine stage. Be direct about important topics, and make sure she knows you believe she's old enough to handle those things in a mature way.

  2. Avoid becoming too emotional. Psychologists agree that at this stage, your children may begin thinking more rationally, but they still have a lot of emotional development to do. They maintain a good deal of egocentrism displayed by young children, and they just want to know the facts and how it affects them. Since you are dealing with your daughter rather than your son, your approach may be a tad gentler in execution, but it's still important to avoid getting too emotional. Extreme emotional displays on your part may prove confusing for your daughter, leaving her unsure and insecure when the discussion ends.

  3. Don’t overwhelm her. It may seem like expressing every single thought and word that comes to your mind all at once would be a liberating experience for you, but dumping all of that information on your daughter can make her feel anxious and even confused. While it's true your daughter may understand some things better than a six year-old would at this time, she's still young. Holding important conversations with your daughter will be, in part, a balancing act. Take the talk one step at a time, answer questions along the way, and accept that you can't fit every detail into a single chat. Expect that you'll likely need to discuss this topic a couple more times to ensure your daughter fully understands the situation.

  4. Show her you believe in her. Successfully raised daughters with a healthy level of confidence have one thing in common: fathers who could bring their best values and talents to the surface and motivate their daughters to use them. If you are constantly pointing out her failures and insufficiencies, her confidence will drop and she will experience issues much later, like a lack of self-worth and even social anxiety. It may not seem like a big deal at this age, but remember she's always listening to what you say, and those words will determine what she thinks about herself. Of course, you shouldn't spoil her too much – just encourage her to do her best.

  5. Meet her friends. Girls at this age begin to get more social and spend more time with their friends outside their homes. This is the age where they start going shopping, to the movies, or over to a friend's house for sleepovers. If you want to be there without intruding on her privacy, get to know her friends. Find opportunities where you will be able to meet them and spend some time together, such as organizing a theme park trip or holiday party. Of course since you are a father, the teens may feel embarrassed and awkward in your presence, but as long as you don't hover and overstay your welcome during their hangout sessions, this will be a surefire way to get an idea of the kinds of kids your daughter is spending time with.

Fathers and daughters have an unmistakable bond. This bond has been the focus of songs, movies, TV shows, and novels. Building a bond with your daughter can be tricky, especially if you're doing it without the help of a spouse or partner. You may get frustrated along the way, but these tips will help you get started on the path to forming a strong, healthy relationship with the most important girl in your life.

Good luck!