I come from a family of 8 kids, all from the same parents! As you can imagine, it was chaos. Tons of fighting, blaming and cries for attention. My parents raised 6 girls and 2 boys. It was INSANE.
My Dad spent majority of my childhood at work or behind the locked door of his room. Every time I went to talk to him, I would get one word responses to my stories about 10 minutes later. The first time I even hugged my dad that I can remember is when I left for Basic Training and it was extremely awkward.
One day I was at home with my boyfriend in my room (I was 14). My Dad walked in and told me he was going to the store…and left. He left my new boyfriend and I in the house ALONE at 14 years old. I thought it was ABSOLUTELY crazy at the time and I wondered if he trusted me that much, was super uncomfortable to lay down the law or if he just didn’t care at all.
Needless to say, I felt very deprived of attention and affection from my Dad. Since then, I was on a vicious cycle of clinging to the first guy that showed me an ounce of attention.
I didn’t know my worth, I didn’t feel special, important, pretty or interesting. I spent my life trying to impress men, flaunting my body for any attention I could get and put up with cheating and emotional abuse.
12 years later, divorce and countless relationships with guys I didn’t even like…I am here to give you dads or dads-to-be a few extremely important pointers on how to help your daughter find confidence in herself and prevent potential abuse or teen pregnancy.
- Compliment her often, tell her she’s beautiful.
- Give her tons of hugs.
- Listen to her and look interested no matter how uninterested you actually are.
- Spend 1 on 1 time together including unique and exciting things.
- Don’t be afraid to have “the talk” MORE THAN ONCE, starting at age 11-12.
- Meet in the middle when it comes to clothes, or she will change her clothes at school, trust me.
- Meet all male friends, welcome them into your home for dinner (or she’ll sneak them in)
- Set curfew and have her update you often with a simple “I’m okay” until she builds trust…extend her curfew slowly if she upholds her side of the bargain.
- If she hasn’t done anything to break your trust, don’t treat her like you don’t trust her.
- Stand up for her and brag about her.
- Find out her interests, keep her busy doing the things she loves (dance, art, sports, etc.)
- Open up to her about YOUR experiences, that will resonate a lot more than a lecture.
- Be involved in as many of her events as possible (recitals, games, science fairs, art shows, etc.)
- Help her achieve her dreams and goals…be her #1 cheerleader.
- Let her know you will be there for her (ensure you do, no matter how disappointed you are).
Dads, just know…when she seeks a man in her life to settle down with, she will look for a man with the same qualities you have displayed to her. In a sense, your actions are dictating the type of man she will be with in the future.
You will be the most influential person in her life. Don’t take that lightly!
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