In our last post we looked at the role of daughters who are ages birth through 7. Today let’s look at further ages!
- Dads are VERY important during this time to many girls, so hopefully the foundation for a close father-daughter relationship was laid during the first seven years.
- Daughters really want to be with their fathers and have his undivided attention. They can be very interested in Dad’s work and what hobbies he enjoys.
- They also want to be able to be authentic around their fathers, and to not have to be always happy or never be angry around their fathers. Emotional availability is important to girls.
- Daughters need the genuine praise and love of their fathers.
- They need dad to help them follow through on family rules (and the rules need to be reasonable and clear).
- They want to be included in their father’s world and do things with their father.
- The practical management of money is one area where many fathers take over the teaching with good results. Another area may be sports, whether this may be team sports or individual sports. I know families where dad coaches the team sport, and I know families where the whole family takes karate together. It is not that mothers cannot teach their children in these areas, but these are areas where I have seen other families have success with spending time and guiding their daughters, and areas mentioned that dads may have success in the book, “Raising A Daughter.”
- Dads really can impact how girls transition into adolescence. A great time for Daddy-Daughter dates if that has not already been happening!
- Dads usually are also great people to start teaching a 10 or 12 year old and up how to set goals and plan strategy! Again, not that mothers cannot, but this may be an area where dads really excel!
- In the book “Raising A Daughter”, by Jeanne Elium and Don Elium, they write, “The worst mistake for a father to make at this time in his daughter’s life is to withdraw himself from her, because he does not know how to deal with his own response to her developing sexuality. Daughters need reassurance from the first man in their lives that these changes they are undergoing are okay, that their father still loves them.”
- Emotional availability is very important to girls of this age.
- Fathers can be a big support during this age for setting clear limits.
- Fathers help teach girls of this age what to expect from a boyfriend or a future husband.
- Dads need to understand that this an age when the intellect is growing, that the teenager notices the “unfairness” of things and is critically questioning and searching for answers to her questions.
- Girls may separate less from their parents and families than boys and attempt to make their relationships more authentic, deeper. They long for connection. There is more about this important difference between boys and girl adolescents on page 342 of “Raising A Daughter.”
- A best friend is very important during this time! I am sure many of us remember this from our own adolescence, and I still see it in the teenaged girls around me. I recommend from a homeschooling perspective that you work hard to find activities and friends for your daughter during the age range of 8-12 because it can be difficult for homeschooled teenagers to connect to others during the high school years – some homeschooled children go on to not homeschool during these years, the activities are fewer and involve a broader age range usually (ie, adults may be included in community classes, etc.). It can be more challenging, so something to think about and plot a course, because it will become important thing for your daughter as she matures and grows.
- Help your teenager find balance between intellect and physical.
- Enforce the family – as homeschoolers we typically do not have a problem with this, but other families may so it is worth mentioning. It is okay to take a family vacation and not bring along your child’s friends.
- Hook your daughter up with mentors in career fields she is interested in, or even with other adult women that you trust and know for things such as gardening, baking, etc.
- Encourage all work toward an achievement. That is important to recognize the process, not just the result!
- This is a time to talk and negotiate (and if you are doing this in the younger years, you are putting the cart before the horse! Please stop!) Discuss in private away from friends, younger siblings. This is important to an adolescent!
- Dad really needs to be open emotionally to his daughter and involved in his daughter’s life. He also needs a fulfilling relationship with his spouse or partner to really model this for his daughter. Work on your relationship together!
- Help your teenaged get involved in volunteering, whether that it through a place of religious worship, in your neighborhood, or through a service organization.
- Watch your daughter carefully for the plagues of the modern teenaged years – eating disorders, sexual abuse by a boyfriend or others, suicide, cutting and get help from professionals as your daughter needs it.
Hope this list was helpful, not only to dads, but to all of you. I highly recommend Jeanne Elium and Don Elium’s, “Raising A Daughter.” This book is highly compatible with both attachment parenting and Waldorf perspectives, and will truly make you think. It is well-worth the money, and you can also try your local library and see if it is there.