By M Neal
Most fathers spend less than ten minutes a day with their daughters. Life has become so busy that time for important relationships tends to get shoved to the side in favor of extra work or out of sheer exhaustion. But it’s an unbalanced equation that has far-reaching ramifications. Young daughters in the tween and teen years especially need their fathers to be part of their lives. They are going through so much change and turmoil that they will need a father who can help them through these years without alienating or ignoring them and their needs and offering strength, advice and a good model.
For many men, relationships are not always easy. It’s often easier to be the provider and lean deeply into your work. It may take a strong effort of your will to make a relationship with your daughter a priority. But it’s worth it, far more so than additional hours spent at the office. There’s not much of more worth out there than investing in a human life.
Sometimes being able to relate in a healthy way to your daughter may mean that you need to work on getting emotionally healthy yourself. Realize that taking steps in this direction are steps of bravery, courage and valor. Don’t let pride or a sense of self-sufficiency keep you from moving forward.
Perhaps you have avoided a relationship with your daughter and now you think it’s too late. Never tell yourself this. It’s been the excuse of far too many people to not invest in the relationships around them. It’s never too late. Perhaps you don’t understand your daughter or the changes she’s going through and it has seemed to alienate you from her. These are things you can learn, if you simply take a little trouble. It is of vital importance that you spend regular time with her. Most daughters lament the fact that their dads didn’t spend more time with them. So, here are a few ways you can begin to build or continue to build your relationship.
• Learn to understand the emotional and physical changes she is going through. Be willing to do some reading. One great resource is What Happened to My Little Girl? by Nancy Rue (Zondervan, 2011), and it’s a quick read. If you are going to spend time with her, you owe it to her and to yourself to understand where she’s at physically and emotionally.
• Eliminate things you don’t need to do like watching television or constantly checking email in favor of spending time with your daughter. Be ruthless in paring away things that distract you from relationship with her.
• Spend one on one time, just you and her. If you need to, schedule it. Just make time for it somewhere, ideally every day. This doesn’t mean being in the same room, but doing different things. Don’t let electronic devices of any kind intrude. Resist the urge to check your phone, or text, or send emails. If you can, leave your devices behind. Make sure she knows the focus is on her and her alone.
• Let her pick the activity sometimes. This will show her that you respect her decisions and interests.
• Share a hobby. If you have a collection of some kind, or you build ships in bottles, or build furniture or do artwork or go fly fishing, include her in these activities. And if she has a hobby of her own, the same applies. You are building your relationship over a shared interest and this will not be lost on her.
• Teach her things that will make her feel confident and independent. Let her mow the grass or show her how to change the oil in the car, or let her help you do repairs around the house. Don’t fall into the trap of letting her age limit what she can do. But don’t push her into activities she doesn’t like just because you think they’ll be good for her. Give her meaningful chores so she can be part of running the household.
Show an interest in the life she has outside the family. Her friends are important to her, so they should be important to you too. Also be aware of how she is doing academically. Help her with her work. Show up to school events.
Always give positive feedback.
Implementing some of these actions will go a long way toward building a good relationship with your daughter. And years down the line, she will thank you for it and you will thank yourself when you see that she has turned out to be a well-adjusted, emotionally healthy woman. Remember, the time you do or don’t take now will have implications for her and for you in the future.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6221982
See Also Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com