As a parent of a girl, one of the best things you can do for her is listen. Young girls often look up to their parents as role models, but this can quickly fade if you brush aside their questions and needs. Girls are more emotional than boys and need reassurance that they are loved. It is so vitally important for both parents to tell their daughter that they love her and to listen to her as she talks about her challenges and just daily activities.
Your little baby girl may start out as a sweet, polite child and then puberty hits and one day you are left with an emotional time bomb. As a parent you may not know where to begin to help your daughter deal with all her daily challenges.
A good parent makes time to sit down and talk with their daughter. You should talk about everything, not just the general “how was your day” question. Actually talk to your daughter about her hobbies, school, and her future. A parent who makes time to listen will provide their daughter with a comfortable, open environment. If she has problems in the future, she should feel comfortable coming home knowing she can talk to her parents about it without being condemned or punished.
Fathers tend to have a harder time listening to their daughters then mothers do. Because girls are more emotional, many fathers don’t know how to react to their ever-changing mood. Some men feel a strong desire to protect and control their daughters. Other men may spoil their daughter’s rotten and lack in discipline. It is easy for a father to treat a daughter differently from a son. You should find different ways of connecting with your daughter; this is where listening comes in. Go to the mall with her when she wants to go shopping. This may not be your idea of a fun afternoon, but it will certainly give you a chance to talk to your daughter and listen to her as she discusses her life.
A great way to keep the lines of communication open with your daughter is to plan a weekly activity. Set aside some time each week where you and your daughter will talk and just spend time together. If you make this a priority and show your daughter how important it is to you, she will treasure this time as well and she will make it a priority.
With all the challenges our daughters are facing nowadays, it is no wonder that depression is so common among teenage girls. The pressure to fit in or to look like a model in a magazine is overwhelming. By taking the time to listen to your daughter on a continual basis, you will learn about her concerns and problems before they develop to a point where she is “too far gone” for you to help.
Your daughter will depend upon your healthy attitude to give her strength. Always be careful of the example you are setting for your daughter. If you have a negative self-image, chances are your daughter will have a negative self image. Young girls tend to copy their parents’ actions, and if you are depressed about your image, she will notice this and mimic your example. Parents are the strongest influence in their children’s lives and without a proper role model, your daughter will begin looking to other sources for self worth. Even if you hate the way you look, make sure you are modeling self acceptance and self confidence to your daughter.
Again, take the time to listen instead of talk or punish; you might surprise yourself!