Got Girls? Help For Single Dads Raising Daughters

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.

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6 comments to   
Got Girls? Help For Single Dads Raising Daughters

  • Mary

    #5 is most important. #4 is a very close second. From 12 yrs old to 18yrs old I was raised soley by my Father. He died when I was 18. At age 5, I learned gun safety, age 10 I learned how to fist fight. Most people would gringe at that but every bit of that knowledge eventually saved my life. If you’re a Father (Dad) teach your daughters everything you would teach you sons. They will at one point or another fall back on that knowledge. It will teach them self-confidence. If you raise a self-confident woman you raise a self-reliant woman. I’m not a bra burner but I’m a woman raised by 3 men (one Father and two much older brothers). My husband loves who I am, fisher-person, hunter, house proud, yard proud, oil changing, beer drinking all around normal person (yes I have all my teeth and no I’m know 200 lbs). I owe all that to (a) my Mother (Alpha Female Mom who I lost at age 12), (b) my Dad (Alpha Male Dad who I lost at age 18), and just as important two men I put on top of the world for showing me how they respectfully treat their wives my two tremendous older Brothers. I owe all fishing skills to my Brothers and my deer hunting skills also. Without being guided through life without my male mentors my life would revolve around shoes and rummage sales. I’ve been blessed.

  • Mo

    I am a single father of very lucky 9 year old. I have been raising her since her mother abandoned her at the age of 3 months. It is not easy but you know it is worth every moment. I would do it over a million times. I am in my PhD program full time and I work full time and I am a full time dad. I cook, clean and spend all spare time with my sunshine in my life. I play barbie with her, I bake cupcakes with her and I am also in the PTO. Most kids will say their parents are their role model but my daughter is my role model. I will always remember the 31 steps I took from the labor room to the nursery and she is a special girl. May god grant me time so that I can see her get settled in her life one day. For all the dead beat dads out there. It was a easy choice to stand up and fight for my daughter when most would have easily given up. God bless.

  • Denim

    Hey, I’m raising 3 kids and my brother is raising one by ourselves.. between the two of us there are 3 girls (ages 1, 3, and 10) and a boy (age 1)
    The 10 year old is having alot of issues right now, I’m really grateful for this blog – it’s helped a bit. I copied it to my computer so I can constantly remind myself of these tips. If any one else has any tips, can you share? my email is
    Thank you

  • I tried posting another comment but not sure if it went through so sorry for the redundency …

    My Father was left to take care of 3 girls and 1 boy after my Mother died. I was only 2.

    I was searching for information on Fathers raising girls and came across this blog.

    To Dad’s I would say it’s really super important to really convey the truth to their Daughters that she is like her Mom.. everything good that was in her Mom is in her. It’s not something a girl strives for but something that just is. Speaking to her potential of course. I wish my Father had been able to convey that to me. We recently had a conversation. I know my Father had always felt guilty in that he did all that he could but felt nothing he did was good enough. There were some things he could not be. He could not be my Mom. And I told my Dad, I completely understand you did everything you possibly could for us but you could not be my Mom. I needed a Mom.

  • What an interesting blog!

    I have been in search for resources for single dads and more specifically for dads raising daughters.

    My Father was left to raise 4 kids on his own after my Mother died. He raised mostly girls.

    To Dad’s raising girls on their own I cannot stress to you enough the importance of expressing to your Daughters that she is like her Mom, beautiful like her Mom and all that is good within her Mom is in her. It is very important to make that connection as something not strived for but rather just is. I wish my Father had been capable of conveying that truth to me.

    When I was in grade 1 or 2 my schoold had made the decision to have my class boycott Father’s Day because most of my classmates did not have a Father. My teacher saw me and my twin brother and said, “When a Father is all these 2 kids have I will not take away the one thing they have left
    and so we are going to celebrate Father’s Day.”

    Back when I was kid I wish people had recognized my Father’s position and had supported him. I wish our church community understood me growing up without a Mother and the challenges that I faced as well as what my Father had faced. I know my Father is guilt ridden because he just couldn’t do enough for me but the truth is there were some things he couldn’t do for me. As I even told him … “you did all that you could for me but I needed a Mom and you couldn’t be my Mom.”

  • I think number 1 above is especially important. We are in the process of raising four daughters and even my wife will sometimes refer out daughters to aunts that can give differing perspectives on “girl” things. Single dads need to be part of a community of women who can support his efforts in raising his daughter to being a complete and whole woman.

    Concise, well-written article.