No doubt about it: It’s tricky to know the best way to talk to your teenage daughter and help her navigate the teen years – and it’s especially tough for dads. Your little girl is growing up fast, and while you want to be supportive and encouraging, where do you begin, and what do you say? Start with these positive and empowering sentiments, which will help foster confidence and strength she can use throughout her life.
“You’re exactly the way you should be.”
Social media can put untold pressure on young girls to look and act a certain way. Teenage girls need reassurance that they are perfect just the way they are – regardless of how they look, dress or behave – and that there is beauty in being different.
“You’re so strong.”
Many of the issues girls face are tied up in their complex relationships with their own bodies. While it can be difficult for dads to tackle the sensitive issue of body image, focusing on her strength and speed in addition to her appearance is one way to be part of that conversation. Encourage her to participate in sports and go on family runs or bike rides – exercise is not only good for boosting endorphins, but it gives you an opportunity to praise her agility and physical strength. Avoid making her feel ashamed or embarrassed when it comes to the ways her body is changing. Don’t poke fun at her acne or wince when she asks you to go on an emergency shopping trip for Always Radiant pads or Tampax Pearl Active tampons. And make sure she has the products she needs to feel confident and strong when she exercises – sweating isn’t a cause for embarrasment, just a reason to have Secret Outlast Xtend in her gym bag.
“How was your day?”
Research shows that one of the key contributors to becoming a successful and happy adult is to have engaged and interested parents. While it can be hard to carve out one-on-one time with your daughter between work, errands and carpool duty, make sure to regularly ask your daughter how her day was – and listen to the answer. Whatever her problem, let her know it matters to you.
“It’s OK to fail – the important thing is that you tried.”
Fear of failing can stop girls from trying new things and pushing themselves. To help raise a confident daughter, reassure her that failing is actually a good thing because it helps us learn and grow. Encourage her to try new things and nurture her interests, and try to spend as much time together on the weekends going on adventures as a family. This will help her see there’s a big wide world out there just waiting to be experienced. This will not only broaden her horizons when it comes to choosing a career, but will also help her see that there’s more to life than social media.
“I believe in you.”
Reassuring girls that they can do anything they set their minds to is one of the most important messages a parent can offer. Say it often, and say it loud. In a world where girls hear conflicting messages about women, dads need to be the voice of clarity leading them through that minefield – repeatedly telling them that for every discouragement they encounter, you know they can achieve anything they want.
Let’s hear from the dads! How do you support and encourage your teenage daughter? Share with us in the comments section below.