We all want our daughters to grow up to be strong, confident women. As parents, how do we determine our role in parenting daughters? Here are some tips to help the moms and dads of daughters:
Tips for Dad
The cultural message many young women are getting is that they need to be beautiful, thin, and talented. How can you as a father teach her that she doesn’t need to look to magazines for help or for role models? There are a few things you can do to show your daughter how special she is and just how much she means to you.
Fathers tend to have a harder time listening to their daughters than 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.
If fathers want to show their daughters how much they love them, they can start by showing her how they respect women. Your daughter’s self-esteem will be greatly influenced by your attitude. If you teach your daughter that you think women are weak, she will be weak and lack in confidence.
Tips for Mom
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.
Show your daughter that you are there for her during times of need. Be patient with her and make yourself open and available for her when she is ready to talk. Sadly, many adolescents will not talk to their parents about some of the daily challenges they face, by leaving your bedroom door open or cracked, you are at least giving her the invitation to come in at any time and tell you what is troubling her.
Think back to when you were her age and learn from your own mother. If you had a hard time talking to your mom, evaluate why this was the case and learn from it. You don’t want to repeat the same mistake with your daughter. You should be that source of strength for your daughter.
By combining your strengths together, you as parents can build a safe, comfortable environment for your daughter. She will know she is loved and accepted and can come to either one of her parents for help and advice.