Dads and Daughters

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

It can be even more unnerving for some men to engage with their daughters when the girls hit puberty and, at times, overwhelm their dads with their burgeoning sexuality. In response, many fathers simply pull away. "It can be a very confusing time for dads, but when fathers connect with their daughters, they're laying the groundwork for positive relationships with boys later on," says Kelly. "Girls who feel connected and respected by their father will look for the same healthy relationships with the boys in their life."

Dads and Daughters has come up with some practical suggestions to help fathers connect with their daughters:

--CARPOOL The more time dads spend with daughters and their friends in the car and at their school, the more insight they can have into their daughters' world.

--TAKE AN INTEREST IN HER ACTIVITIES Studies show that when fathers take an active interest in and play sports with their daughters, the girls are less likely to have unhealthy or abusive relationships.

--LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGING Fathers sometimes want to rush in and fix problems; daughters don't always need solutions but want to air their feelings without fretting that Dad will freak.

--SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES Girls benefit from knowing that even dads have faced adolescent uncertainty.

--SPEND ONE-ON-ONE TIME Bike riding, going out for ice cream or playing board games together is great for younger girls; older girls enjoy going alone with Dad to a favorite restaurant or having a regular bowling date.

Charlie Fitzgerald, 41, the CEO of an executive-training organization in Las Vegas, has two daughters, ages 13 and 15, and a stepdaughter, 13. He carpools his daughters to school in the morning, plays ball on the lawn with them some evenings and frequently takes them out for family bowling nights. Fitzgerald, who played a year of pro football with the San Diego Chargers, says some of his fondest memories are of the old days, when his girls were little. "I've been down on the floor playing with Barbies with them," he says. "I just try to put my girls in situations where they feel good, because the greatest relationships in the world are the result of knowing how to talk and how to listen." Daughter Jamie, 13, agrees: "My dad is really on top of what's going on with us. I come to him with a lot of things, and he seems to know what to do." It's by being there for their daughters that fathers can show they really do know best.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page