Girls start out as their father’s favourite person in toddlerhood but things start changing as they grow up. Your daughter finds a whole new world of friends and possibilities and by her teens she discovers boys. That’s usually a father’s signal to fence off his home, bring in some guard dogs and tell his daughter about how bad boys are. This works well until she decides she wants to find out for herself (or she meets a nice boy and stops believing your ‘boys are bad’ story).
Now imagine a father going shopping with his teenage daughter. That’s an image you don’t see often! Would they be giggling about everything they talk about? That is highly unlikely. Some might even have a hard time keeping the conversation going for more than 20 minutes. This is actually one of the best ways a father can protect and prepare his daughter. I’m referring to spending quality time together, not the shopping (although shopping is a plus).
Taking some time out with your daughter has far-reaching effects and is not about you. It is about building and moulding your daughter into a woman of character; a woman who has confidence in herself and her abilities. A woman who knows she is beautiful but doesn’t make it the be-all and end-all. And as a man, you know very well that is the kind of woman the world needs. That is the kind of woman who will go places. How do you do this?
Build your bond
Spending time alone with her gives you a chance to have a real relationship, and not just because you are blood relatives. Young girls are walking into a phase of their lives where they need all the advice they can get (even though they don’t see the need). Life, school, friends and boys are all the rage and who better to share with than an older boy?
When you have a strong relationship she is more likely to come to you with her issues for counsel, and every parent knows how good it feels when your child comes for advice. Sensei!
Be the example
Young girls love male attention. That’s just how it is. A young girl who grows up knowing her worth, knowing she is loved and loveable and beautiful has healthier relationships as she grows. Some get into the wrong company and date all the wrong men because they don’t know what a real man should treat a woman like.
As the first man in her life you have a duty to show her how a real and good man treats a woman. Don’t be rude or condescending, be respectful, open car doors, pull her a chair, encourage her to take up hobbies and use her mind, take her for dates and bring her home in good time and anything else that falls under being a gentleman. With that you set the bar so high for any man that comes after you and your girl will not settle for less. It reduces, by far, the possibility of worrying about the kind of boys she will be interested in and ultimately the man she will marry.
Memories last a lifetime. They remind us of who we are and where we came from. Take time and make memories with your daughter and she will never forget the love you have for her. Find out what interests her and do it together, that includes shoe shopping. Teach her something that only you can like playing chess, camping or anything that is appropriate for her age. Growing up saying my father taught me how to ride a bike and work the barbeque grill is something that will make her proud of you. You will remain her hero, always.