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Why Are Dads So Important for Tween/Teen Daughters

Our daughter, Brianna, was laying on the couch with her ear buds on doing the typical teenage "thing." Brian, my husband started pestering her about something she hadn't done. Brianna rolled her eyes and continued to listen to her music. Brian's tone of voice escalated and I knew this was not going anywhere good. So I pulled my hubby aside and asked him what he needed. He thought for a moment and said, "I guess what I really need is to connect with our daughter. I miss her." ( tender) I gently asked, "Is what you are doing working?" He sheepishly shook his head "no." I asked, "What else could you do?" Then the next thing I saw brought tears to my eyes. He sat at the end of the couch and proceeded to rub her feet (one of her favorites). Brianna slowly took out her ear buds and they began to connect in a fun conversation.

Sometimes Dad's feel like a "duck out of water" when it comes to relating to their tween/teen daughter. The little girl's body that used to rough and tumble now has begun to develop making roughing and tumbling awkward. Also this stage in a girl's life is fraught with emotional upheavals which often makes Dads shy away. This is often the stage where Dads take a back seat. It's imperative that, no matter what, Dads avoid the temptation to pull away or withdraw during this challenging stage of growing up. A father's influence in his daughter's life shapes her self-esteem, self-image, confidence and opinions of men. The type of men that women date are directly related to the kind of relationship a girl has with her father. Dad may need to find new ways to connect.

Here are some ideas:

14 Ways Dads Can Connect with Their Tween/Teen Daughters

  1. Ask her what she wants to learn or do.

  2. If she is indecisive, give her three options to choose from.

  3. Take her fishing.

  4. Take apart and engine together.

  5. Build something together for decorating her room, like pallet wood (it's the cool thing now days.)

  6. Ask her advice on the way you dress in the morning.

  7. Take up a sport together. (The above picture is a picture of Brian and Brianna fencing.)

  8. Learn a new language with her.

  9. Share your stories of growing up.

  10. Grill dinner together.

  11. Take her with you to work.

  12. Bring lunch to her at school and find a quiet place to have a picnic.

  13. Take her go carting...a great safe place to prepare her to learn how drive.

  14. Take her on an adventure and have her help plan it.

Take Time to Connect

You may be thinking you don't have time. I was coaching a single Dad of 5 girls all under the age of 14. I shared with him how important it was to have one-on-one time with each girl. He snickered and said, "That could get expensive taking 5 girls to dinner one time a week." As we explored options, he came up with this idea. Every night, Dad walked their dog for twenty minutes. So he decided to have the girls take turns walking the dog with him. Brilliant!

Even though she makes many attempts to push you away with prickly conversations, dagger-like glances and tones of disgust, she needs you now more than ever.

Learning to navigate these turbulent waters gracefully will build her character and yours. When you get on the other side in a few short years, you will be well rewarded.

Parenting Practice - Watch your daughter's face light up when you put her name on your calendar.


Parenting can be quite the challenge. It is always good to have new tools in your "parenting tool box." Want personal coaching and problem solving solutions? Sign up for a FREE 15 Minute Strategy Session. We will pinpoint an irksome behavior and plan a strategy for resolving this issue.


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Kathryn Kvols

Author, Lecturer, Parenting Coach

(352) 494-1581

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