The father-daughter relationship often begins to fracture in early adolescence. A couple of things are important about it. The first is when a girl is young she wants to be with her dad. When he goes to the hardware store, she wants to go with him, but then she becomes a teenager. Her interest has changed and she may not want to go to the hardware store like she did when younger. Dad has to make an effort to adapt to the changes. He needs to take the effort to learn more about his daughter – helearn about her music, her friends, and do things that she wants to do. A lot of dads don’t make that effort.
The second problem is it gets a bit confusing when a girl starts to bud out. Her breasts start to grow and dad thinks, “Well maybe I shouldn’t be hugging you anymore.” Dads often withdraw their affection at that time because it’s confusing and difficult. They don’t know how to handle it. That is a bad time to withdraw your affection as it’s just the time when a girl needs the most love.
Why do fathers withdraw from their daughters at their teens?
The main reason why fathers withdraw at that age is because they’re confused in their own mind. They might actually think their daughter is attractive and they’ll think, “Oh, this is bad. I’ve got to pull back.” In fact there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the idea that your daughter is physically attractive. What is wrong, of course, is if that goes the wrong way. This time is the exact time when a daughter is worried about her appearance at school. She needs the affection from her dad, and it’s often the time when he withdraws it.
Beautiful vs. Pretty
It’s very important to differentiate being pretty from being beautiful, because prettiness is not a good thing to say to a girl, even if she is. Number one, she will start to trade on her looks and expect people to say that. Number two, she will lose it as she gets older. Beauty and attractiveness are not prettiness and it’s really important to differentiate those when you’re talking to your daughter.
One of the things about teenage life is that both parents have to set clear boundaries. Don’t move the fence. It’s very important for fathers to communicate to a girl that the way she dresses will, to a large extent, dictate how boys look at her. She can’t complain about how boys look at her if she dresses in a way that invites it. That doesn’t excuse the boys, but she is in control of that. Fathers should make it very clear to daughters that how they dress is very important.
Girls may not know that if and when they dress a certain way, boys will regard them in a certain way. They can be quite naïve. Dads know how boys function; this is one of the reasons why dads ought not to be bashful about having a father-daughter sex talk. There is no way that her mother is going to know as much about teenage boys as her dad, because her mom has never been one. Make it quite clear to your daughter that her decisions in life are her decisions, and you would love her and respect her no matter what decision she makes about her sex, sexuality, sex life, etc. She needs to know that it would be her decision and not one made by boys, alcohol, or peer pressure. She has to be very clear about what she wants in life and whatever it is, fundamental that she respects herself in the process.
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