Father’s Day has come and gone, and I was reading somewhere that many teenage girls gave their dads this tee shirt. Sure, it’s funny. But please remember how really important fathers are to their daughters – in more ways than being a money machine.
Fathers often say they don’t know how to handle girls – especially in their teenage years. Somehow when it’s time for shopping, discipline, or unexplained mood swings Dads become unavailable – or simply perplexed.
What is there about parenting teenage girls that men are afraid of? Is it the hormones? Is it the fact that soon they will need to wear a bra? Or is it simply that girls talk a lot and feel the need to include EVERY detail in EVERY story they tell?
Regardless of the excuses, there are a few things that dads – especially dads of girls entering their teen years – really need to put at the top of their “to-do” list:
BRAND EARLY – Your girl is what you say she is. She really does need/want/and cherish your opinion.
PROMOTE INDEPENDENCE – Encourage her to manage her money, fix things, and explore math and science more deeply.
ENCOURAGE THINKING – Ask her opinion, help sharpen her ideas. Show her that you value her intelligence.
STIMULATE LEARNING – Suggest role models for her to research; share books about successful women.
SHOW AN INTEREST IN EDUCATION – Talk about the value of education. Discuss college; share your experience in making your choice.
DISCUSS CAREER OPTIONS – Introduce her to successful women that you know. Emphasize that there is no goal too great for her hopes and dreams.
INCREASE HER AWARENESS – Discuss gender bias. Encourage her to speak out and to speak up in her every day activities.
Today’s world offers great opportunities for girls. Dads build the confidence and determination they will need to reach their goals. Be more than an ATM!
P.S. Keep in mind that your daughter will probably choose her future boyfriends based on the role model you present. Think about that when the doorbell rings!