How to Connect with Your Daughter
Dads often hesitate when interacting with their daughters, especially as they near puberty. It can be hard to understand how you fit within her world and you may feel you don't have a place, but the truth is that girls need their dads most at exactly the time many begin to back away. A strong relationship with you is not just something your daughter craves, it has actually been shown to have a significant impact on her adult relationships with men, success at school and decreasing the likelihood she'll abuse alcohol and do drugs.
So here are some tips for connecting with your daughter in a meaningful way:
Make Time - Set aside time to spend with her and make it a date you cannot break. Driving her to school or daycare is a great way to spend a few quality moments together every day.
Ask Questions - Show real interest in her life, what she thinks, how she feels, what she's doing in school, with her friends, etc. She will understand that she's important and has value.
Share Yourself - Let her see the real you. Not the super hero, but the real guy. You have faults, insecurities, sensitivities and emotions. It will comfort her to know that you once went through - and survived - adolescent angst too.
Find common ground - Find a mutually-enjoyable activity you two can share. Maybe it's riding bikes or playing board games or going to the movies. Whatever it is, find one and do it together regularly.
Listen without fixing - Guys tend to have an urge to fix every problem they face, but girls and women often just want a sympathetic ear and to vent their emotions. Keep this in mind when your daughter discusses problems in her life. If she asks for your help or advice, by all means offer it, but be sensitive to times when she just wants to talk it out herself. Letting her find solutions to her problems by herself will teach her independence and self-reliance.
Your daughter needs her daddy. She needs your guidance, your example, and most of all your love. And she needs all this most at a time when you may feel at a loss to connect with her on any level. But as awkward as you may feel, make the effort and find a way. The results will benefit her, and you.