Family and Parenting

How to Parent a daughter as a Single Father

Parenting is the most daunting task ever. It’s got no manuals attached and to each its own. And being a single father to a daughter makes parenting all the more difficult. As a parent you have to guide her through myriad social situations, complicated feelings and complex bodily developments without having any first hand experience of it.  The challenges faced by different fathers (who are a single parent of a daughter) may differ slightly but essentially they are the same only. Life is going to bring the most complex situations and you may not always do the right thing but a strong bonding can smoothen the path for the growth of your daughter. 

Let's discuss 10 basic points which will be of tremendous help to a single father raising a daughter child.

1) Find a good female mentor

No there is not even an iota of doubt that on your competency to raise your daughter as a single father. However, a female guide or companionship is very much necessary for a growing girl child. Any mature female relative – grandmother, aunt etc. of your daughter can take up this mentoring role. A strong female role model can successfully enhance the growth of your daughter by helping her develop her voice and understand herself better. An ideal female role model can make her feel confident. A good mentor offers guidance and care during the growing years when you require it most. It is the basic right of every child to receive unconditional positive attention from a sympathetic adult. As per a research based organisation, a strong mentor ship should necessarily have these:

  • Unconditional Care for the child
  • Unquestioning Support
  • Power to the child to express herself
  • Growth of the child by allowing her to commit mistakes and learn from them
  • Expand their Imagination and helping them learn from their experiences

A father has to play an important role in helping your daughter find a good mentor. This offers another layer of support to your daughter. A child needs people who believe in her and support her around herself.

2) Open communication

Most men believe in a decisive approach. Men tend to listen to a problem and then decide and offer a solution accordingly. But often your daughter would just like you to listen to her and understand her. Be empathetic without being judgemental towards your daughter. This will help you develop a seamless communication with your daughter. Excellent communication with your daughter can help you develop a strong relationship with your daughter. 
In true sense, a good father is definitely a good listener. A good father does not take decisions for it’s child instead he guides them in making intelligent decisions themselves. For a single father with a daughter child, it becomes all the more important to discuss all kinds of problems together instead of concluding a pre conceived solution. This healthy interaction will encourage your daughter to discuss her problems with you. One of the most important duties of a father is to listen, understand and guide instead of protecting and fixing problems. 

3) Empowering her by developing her Problem-Solving skills

Problem solving skills are essential for the growth of a child. It’s important that instead of you finding the best solution for your daughter you should guide her through a situation and help her take a decision on her own. Help her think through all the pros and cons of a decision and help her reach a solution. You are empowering your daughter by helping her develop problem-solving skills. Not just that, she will also value the time you take out to help her think through her problems in a positive way.
According to the studies, problem solving skills are a key to good mental health. Most children avoid facing a problem instead of trying to sort them out. Like a child whose being bullied by her friends at school will generally tend to avoid school. As a father it is your responsibility to help her see through possible solutions. Even though your daughter’s solution may be an impractical one, yet she should be encouraged to find out different potential solutions. A good father will encourage her daughter to try out a possible solution for a problem irrespective of whether it is going to fail or succeed. 

4) Don't go overboard as a protective father

While it comes naturally to a father to solve all the problems of it’s children and make their life easier yet it can be highly detrimental for your child in the long run. Shielding her from all kinds of life’s challenges is never a good idea. Your daughter must learn to face problems head on instead of you solving all her problems. Experiencing these problems will make her a strong person. If you’re always there for solving all of her problems, then she would become too dependent on you which is definitely not a desired thing as you cannot be there for her lifelong. 
A father must learn the importance of giving some space to the daughter. A father must show faith in his daughter by allowing her to make her own decisions at least where there is a minimum risk factor involved. This will help her build her self confidence. And along with that, the bond between the father and daughter will get stronger because of the mutual trust and faith displayed by the father in his daughter’s decision making abilities.

5) Active participation in her life

You need to be highly expressive about your support to your daughter especially if you are a single father. Be always reachable. You must actively participate in whatever she feels interested in. Say if she is in love with animals you can take her to a zoo or you can bring her a pet. Displaying interest in her interests is a sign of you being interested in her life. 
Try and spend evenings with your daughter. Discuss about her day. Attend the contests and events she are participating in. Also make it a point to participate with her in leisure activities like watching a movie, playing games. Being friendly with her friends is another good way of showing your involvement in her life. Intrinsic involvement in your daughter’s life will make the bond between a father and a daughter stronger than ever. 

6) Discussing issues openly

There’s a huge difference between a girl growing up with a mother and that without a mother. A girl with a mother readily understands and accepts the bodily changes she goes through during puberty because she’s already seen her mother going through them. But it is one of the most daunting tasks for a single father to help her daughter cope with the bodily changes in puberty. Your little girl is going through a lot in terms of changes in hormones, menstruation and emotions. The best way is to have an open discussion with her.
At times, you may feel awkward talking about this. But remember you’re her only pillar of support and she needs you to be there for her especially during these changing times. Shying away from proper communication may lead her to believe that there’s something wrong happening with her. She may have grown up but a daughter will always remain a daddy’s little girl from inside of the heart. Do keep giving her those lovely fatherly hugs even if she’s grown up to become a woman. These smallest signs of love and affection serve as a persistent symbol of support to your daughter and helps her in transition through this challenging period.

7) Set a great example of manhood

Remember the first man a daughter comes in contact with is a father. You must understand that your daughter is going to treat you as an ideal example of manhood. The way you treat women around you will make a big impact on how your daughter perceives men later in her life. Treat women around you with respect, compassion and love – be it your maid, relative, colleague or a female friend. 
So, if you’d like your daughter to marry a man who is faithful, respectful and loving towards her then you need to exhibit those things in your own life. Your daughter will learn more from what you do than what you say. 

8) Validate her regularly

Modern culture is responsible for passing on an incorrect message to the girls like they need to be slim or that they need to be fair or that they need to dress a certain way to look beautiful. You can put these feelings to rest by validating the way your daughter looks. By complementing your daughter for being beautiful, you can make her feel confident about herself. This will make her understand that she is best the way she is and she doesn’t necessarily need to change to fit in with certain requirements. 
Help her understand the need to be beautiful from inside. Teach her to be compassionate and help others. Shower appreciation and praise on her when she helps someone. And help her realise her strengths. Validate her other qualities like being smart, intelligent and strong. Girls need their fathers to believe in them. 

9) Find Quality Child Care

It is almost impossible for a single father to be there for the child round the clock. Hence, it is very important to find genuinely good child care. You can hire a professional child care service on a perennial basis till your girl is old enough to take care of herself. This will come in handy while you are working. It is a must that you take care of yourself so that you stay in a better position to take care of your child. Another primary thing to be noted is to hire trusted home care personnel only to ensure the safety of your children.  You can get recommendations from relatives or neighbours to find quality and genuine child care staff.
Look out for caregivers who are aged enough to not switch jobs regularly. It is advisable to hire an in-home caregiver. While you must give credibility to word-of-mouth referrals, still you must try and find out more about the in-house caregiver by popping in unannounced often during the initial days. This can help you assess how good a caregiver is for your child. And yes, be open to change. If things do not work out well with one caregiver, be ready to make a change. It is important that your child has a positive experience with a caregiver even if it requires changing it (provided it does not happen often).

10) Set Disciplinary Goals

Discipline helps a person to effectively fit into the society. Setting disciplinary goals for children is not making them forcefully obey your instructions rather teaching and instructing them towards physical, emotional, cognitive and social development. Disciplining your daughter as a single father can be an extremely difficult task yet it forms one of the most important responsibilities as a parent. Effective discipline helps raise emotionally mature adults. A disciplined person is able to exercise control on its feelings when required, is compassionate, is assertive without being hostile and can adapt to unfavourable situations whenever required. 
As a father you need to understand that the foundation stone for effective discipline in your daughter is respect. You must teach your girl to respect her elders, her parents and also the rights of others. An undisciplined daughter will never respect her parents. But refrain from harsher methods of applying discipline like verbal abuse or shouting as that may lead to weakening of the bond between you and your daughter. Like if your daughter is continuously in a habit of not wanting to study, you can say her authoritatively – “It is a good choice to complete your studies first and then you can play later, as a  prize for getting your studies completed. ” This will help her understand the underlying reason behind your disciplinarian methods. 

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