Q: I feel like my daughter’s slipping away. I want to be a great dad but I don’t know how to connect with her now that she has reached the “tween” years.
A: The single most important thing you can do is spend quality time with her. Dr. Kevin Leman suggests that the bond fathers develop with their daughters during times of real conversation and connection can pay huge dividends.
According to Dr. Leman, during the tween years fathers need to adopt the policy of “dating” their daughters on a regular basis. Showing your daughter that she’s a high priority is essential for many reasons. For one thing, it will help her seek out men who will respect her later in life. Affirming your daughter’s femininity and treating her special conveys this important charge: “Honey, seek out someone who will treat you right.” If you can demonstrate for your daughter what a true gentlemen is like—someone who honours, respects, and values her—she’ll be more likely to gravitate toward men like that when she begins dating.
So take your daughter out for dinner or a movie, or something else that interests her. We know this can be tough, especially when you also need to make time for your other family members. But it’s so important. The investment you make in your daughter now will impact her for the rest of her life.
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