Raising Daughters Part 3 – Dating and Relationships
This month we have been exploring tips from four key areas of life to help dads build a strong father–daughter relationship.
These tips are from a special eBook series created by The Fathering Project to help dads who are big enough to reach out for advice and recognise that their most important job is fathering.
Whilst we can’t cover everything about dads and daughters in this short four–part series, we will endeavour to cover the key areas of information to help you on your father-daughter journey.
When your daughter starts dating, learn to talk to her about it and show interest in her partner. Let her know that you trust and support her decisions.
Hopefully you’ve already talked about relationships before your daughter starts dating. If not, now is the time – with care and respect. Here are some tips.
Show that you care
Try not to withdraw from your daughter as she gets older. It is especially important to show her that you care during this time, even without saying it.
- Encourage her to bring her partner home for you to meet, maybe even invite them for a meal.
- Be careful not to automatically dismiss anyone as not good enough for your daughter.
- Resist any urge to tease, argue with, or put down your daughter in front of them, even in jest.
- Make sure you are available when your daughter wants to talk about relationships.
- Be there for her at times of crisis, e.g. when she needs relationship advice, when she is sick, when she has a break-up.
Share her passions
Do things together based on her interests and use this time to discuss relationships, new partners or her friendship group.
- Listen to her music.
- Go to her activities and sport.
- Listen to her, ask questions and hold back on your judgements.
- Tell your daughter a bit about your day as well and memories of your experiences at her age.
- Regular time together talking will make your relationship stronger.
The power of the word ‘sorry’
Try your best to guide your daughter through life’s obstacles and relationships, instill in her a strong sense of values. This includes knowing when to say ‘sorry’.
- When you get it wrong, say so.
- The power of sorry is amazing at disarming or avoiding conflict.
- A genuine ‘sorry’ can bring you closer and gain more respect – it also teaches humility and honesty.
- Withholding an apology may make you seem untrustworthy.
For more information on this topic:
- Listen to our Raising Girls podcast with Steve Biddulph.
- Refer to our eBook edition ‘Dads and Daughters’