With the negative statistics plaguing the “boy” community, society has begun to pay special attention to the unique and complex needs of single mothers raising sons. As attention is focused in this direction, the plight of single fathers raising daughters also needs to be examined. Single fathers raising daughters need special support in order to successfully complete this important task.
1. It’s ok for single fathers to ask for help. The need for a female mentor in the life of a young girl being raised by her father cannot be over emphasized. It is important for fathers to find a strong capable, positive female role model to assist in the healthy development of their daughters. Mentors can be found in grandparents, aunts, other family, friends, neighbors, churches, community agencies and others. Take the time to find someone who matches your daughter’s personality, values, needs and interests.
2. Remember to listen. Make sure you take the time to listen to your daughter when she is talking. Sometimes, in an effort to be the hero, fathers sometimes will occasionally listen with their focus on fixing the problem when all your daughter really wants you to do is listen as she works out her problems on her own. Simply listening in a supportive manner encourages your daughter to develop independence and problem solving skills of her own which she will need later in life.
3. Be Her Hero – But: While it is both natural and encouraging for fathers to be heroes to their daughters, avoid letting your heroics over protect her and install a sense of inadequacy and dependence. Allow her to struggle sometimes with life’s problems which will help to build her character. Allow some risks within boundaries, boosting her confidence as she succeeds.
4. Be A Part of her Life: Most fathers would probably say they feel more competent and at ease being involved in their son’s activities. It is important to remember, especially as a single father, your daughter needs to feel your support as well. Be present for her athletic, academic and extra-curricular activities. Join her on a shopping trip. Be present and available when her friends come to the house. Be present and available for her in simple ways and watch how your relationship develops.
5. Be Her Example: It is from you that your daughter will begin to gather information about the world of boys. You will be the one to teach her how she should expect to be treated by men when she gets older. You will teach her this by the way you speak to and act towards her and how you treat and refer to other women in front of you. Respect is key.