Pop culture is filled to the brim with examples of the stereotypical father wigging out because he has no idea how to parent once his daughter gets a bit older and officially becomes a teenager because he feels awkward trying to discuss all the physical changes that are going to start taking place or he doesn’t want to get involved with the well-known emotional roller coaster that is a teenaged girl’s moods.
In some cases, life imitates art, and there are some fathers that flounder when their daughters hit that age because they feel so out of their depth and are not quite sure how to handle this stage of their child’s life.
For example, they might leave the discussions about Aunt Flo and the necessary items needed to deal with that oh-so-delightful visit to their daughter’s mother, aunt, older sister or even an older cousin.
The downside is being closed off reinforces the negative societal stereotype that men don’t want to hear about certain topics being discussed and could lead to a teen daughter feeling a bit bashful if certain subjects are brought up in front of her dad or even a reluctance to confide in him at all.
The following list will help fathers navigate the teen years with their daughters and ensure a healthy line of communication between the two.
Penultimate Consulting points out that while it may be tempting for fathers of teenaged daughters to go into overprotective papa bear mode, it’s not a good idea and may wind up causing hijinks later on.
Teenagers, especially teenaged daughters, need to get used to making mistakes and learning from their mishaps. Shielding them from the outside world isn’t going to do them any favors, and it is best to give them some gentle guidance but allow them to navigate situations on their own. They can’t be protected forever, and they need to fall down a few times so they can learn how to get back up and stand on their own two feet.
Penultimate Consulting writes that while it may make dads feel awkward if they try to talk about it, they too should take the time out to discuss the ins and outs of puberty instead of just leaving it for the mother to deal with all by her lonesome.
It is not a good idea to ignore the subject altogether because then it gives the teenaged daughter the illusion that her father doesn’t want to hear about it. By being open-minded and having a frank discussion about bodily changes, fathers can show their daughters that this subject is nothing to be ashamed of and they want to hear if the process is making their moods go on an emotional rollercoaster or if growth spurts are making their knees ache.
The Huffington Post points out that it is a good idea for a father to learn how to apply makeup correctly and paint nails. Heck, even take the time out to let your child paint your own nails or offer to help your daughter if you notice that she’s struggling with applying things like blush or concealer.
Not only will this save you money because your daughter won’t get frustrated and head off to a professional makeup artist or a nail salon, but it also shows your child that men can be gentle and rock at hobbies that are traditionally seen as more "feminine" too.
Penultimate Consulting notes that many fathers leave the discussion about Aunt Flo and all of the related shopping for the necessary items to prepare for such a delightful visit to the other women in the family; be it the daughter’s mother or older sister.
Sure, you won’t be able to advise her on all the intricacies of dealing with a visit from Aunt Flo the way her mother would, but by having a frank chat with her about it and treating it the way you’d discuss the weather would go a long way to de-stigmatizing the subject and show your daughter that men aren’t wimps that can’t handle an open discussion on such topics.
It’s fairly common for teenaged daughters to come home and start yakking away excitedly about their new haircut. Some fathers, like my own dad, would use this opportunity to make jokes about my sister and I.
We didn’t mind, of course, because the three of us have a similar sense of humor and my dad is the kind of person that would make jokes about the dog getting groomed, but some teens don’t take too kindly to it. NY Parenting points out that is why it is best to keep the jokes to yourself lest you harm her fledgling self-esteem and stick to giving her compliments about her new ‘do.
Child Development Info writes that one way fathers can bond with their teenaged daughters is by teaching them the ins and outs of proper nutrition.
My dad was—and still is, to be honest—the biggest health food enthusiast you’ll ever meet and it was tradition for him to teach my sister and I the guidelines for good nutrition. He never sighed or rolled his eyes if we opted to get some delicious takeout from the local diner from time to time, but always asked us if we wanted him to get us more items like apples, bananas, and spinach whenever he headed out to the grocery store.
Very Well Family notes that it is common in pop culture to see the stereotypical father make jokes if their teenaged daughter’s crush calls them or if they get a text message from them, but in real life, that’s something you don’t ever want to do because it’s a great way to make your kid irritated at you.
It’s better to either stay quiet or try to engage your daughter in a conversation if she’s the type to be open about her feelings so that she sees that you’re trying to be understanding and you’re rooting for her to find a good significant other that treats her right.
It always made me feel so irritated whenever my friends and I were hanging out at my house and my dad would get their names mixed up—especially if my mother managed to remember their names and she worked a full-time job and was pretty much in charge of raising two kids too.
NY Parenting writes that dads need to really take the time out to memorize their daughter’s friends names so you don’t wind up embarrassing yourself—and your daughter—in front of her pals. Accidents happen because we’re only human, but by actively making an effort to remember the names of friends will show your daughter that you’re trying.
Teenaged daughters and driving are two concepts that most parents (fathers included) dread, which leads to them being overly critical when their child asks them for some extra lessons so that they can master their road test and finally get their license.
Kenney Myers writes that it is important to be proactive and not reactive when teaching your daughter how to drive. The more patient you are when showing her the ropes, the better chance you have that she’ll learn from you and pass her road test with flying colors. Besides, it also gives you the opportunity to make sure that she learns from you directly instead of just assuming the driving instructor will handle it.
NY Parenting points out that it is very important for fathers to at least attempt to keep up with the texting lingo and internet speak instead of rolling your eyes whenever you get a message from your daughter or trying to admonish her to type out every word.
Sure, it can be a bit confusing trying to keep up with the newfangled lingo, but it will definitely earn you some brownie points from your daughter and you won’t have to listen to her complain about how you got the latest slang totally wrong in your latest message to her.
NY Parenting writes that it is normal for teenaged girls to want to plaster their walls with posters of the latest boy band or their celebrity crush. As long as it’s not going to damage the walls too badly, it’s best to let her do her thing and give her permission to decorate her space how she wants to.
For example, my father took a few years to come around to the idea of putting posters of Hanson and the Backstreet Boys on my wall. We reached a compromise—I could put them up on my door. Once he saw that it wasn’t a big deal and the tape wasn’t going to mess with the paint, he allowed me to plaster the walls with every poster I could possibly find from the teeny bopper magazines.
When my little sister and I were teenagers, my dad used to joke about how long we used to take to get ready. Whether it was taking a shower before heading out with friends or applying makeup before we went out to a school dance, he’d always used to tease us about being caterpillars that finally emerged from their cocoons as butterflies once we finally left.
NY Parenting adds that fathers should come to terms with the fact that having a teenaged daughter means that she’s going to spend a ton of time trying to look our best before we go out and making jokes or getting exasperated is only going add more fuel to the fire. Just let it be—it’ll pass eventually.
Family Circle points out that it is important for fathers to help their daughters overcome the feelings of rejection after they finally work up the courage to tell their crush how they feel and it doesn’t work out.
By doing something sweet such as purchasing your daughter a candy bar or a box of chocolate in order to boost her mood can help take the sting out of being turned down and help her develop the resilience she’ll need as an adult in order to handle rejection. You can also cheer her up by regaling her with funny stories of how you got turned down at that age when she eats the chocolate too.
I’ll be the first one to admit that being a teenager can be difficult thanks to the lovely mood swings that cause one to act as if they are trapped on an emotional rollercoaster.
Child Development Info adds that fathers need to understand that even though the emotional roller coaster can be frustrating to deal with, it is best to stay calm and realize that it is just due to the fluctuating chemicals in their body that is making their emotions swing back and forth like the wagging tail of a beagle that is on the trail of a rabbit or other small furry animal. This too will pass in time.
Kenney Myers writes that it is fairly common for spats to develop between moms and their teenaged daughters. When that happens, it is very important for the mother and father to remain a united front so that they don’t accidentally teach their child that they can play one side against the other.
It is difficult for fathers to stay neutral when the clash of wills starts in the house, but maintaining a façade of calm and impartiality will go a long way in terms of teaching your teenaged daughter much-needed lessons that she likely won’t even realize that she grasped until she’s older.
Kenney Myers writes that it is quite common for teenagers to revert to toddler-esque behavior and throw temper tantrums. Only this time instead of exercising their lungs in the middle of a grocery store, these kinds of episodes tend to involve plenty of raised voices, the water works going on at the drop of a hat and an epic door slam or two.
Just like when they were toddlers, staying calm when your teen daughter hits the negative half of the emotional roller coaster that is puberty will go a long way to maintaining peace amongst the family in the long-term.
Kenney Myers points out that many teenaged girls have a tendency to develop their level of self-esteem based on their relationship with their fathers, which is why it is a good idea to compliment her if she’s one of the unfortunate children that has to get fitted for braces and patiently listen to her complaints about how annoying the process is.
I was one of those oh-so-lucky teenagers that had to get fitted for braces due to my overbite and not only did my dad compliment me every time I got the rubber band colors changed, but he also lent me a friendly ear whenever I was feeling grumpy about how long the process was taking and got sick of having a mouthful of metal.
Dads Are Cool adds that it is important to establish a reasonable curfew with your teenaged daughter. It is best to include her a little bit in the process and discuss it with her.
It’s not a good idea to be entirely unreasonable when it comes to creating a curfew, even if you personally think that she needs to be home at this time because you know from experience that teens require plenty of sleep, but if you include her in the decision-making process and explain your reasoning, then there is less of a chance that she is going to try to push her luck and stay out longer.
Penn Ultimate Consulting points out that communication is a two-way street and since teens are notorious for having a hard head at times, it is best to resist the urge to lecture your daughter.
Instead, come to terms with the fact that she is going to make mistakes and actually listen to her will go a long way in terms of showing her that you’re listening to what she has to say. This means she’ll be more likely to feel comfortable talking to you and confiding in you about more serious matters because she knows you won’t flip out and start giving a long-winded lecture.
When I was a teenager, my dad used to get a big kick out of how I would have heart eyes every time I watched the VCR tape of Hanson’s Live From Albertane or if they appeared on one of those late-night talk shows. Of course, this led to endless teasing about how I swooned over Taylor Hanson. Ah, the days of being a young fan girl.
Child Development Info notes that even though it is very entertaining to watch your teen daughter swoon over a celebrity or a musician from a band, teasing isn’t the way to go because kids at that age can be sensitive and it could hurt their feelings. I laughed it off, but when my dad tried the same tactic with my sister, she’d get really annoyed and become closed off with him until he stopped.