How to Build a Harmonious Relationship with Teenage Daughter
Having a teenage daughter is no small thing. They are fragile and beautiful creatures, and sometimes it’s hard to connect with them. Meaningful progress and trust is built from the ground up, and being a father means that you have to learn and adapt just as much as your daughter does. So how do you go about building a foundation for your relationship in order to develop a truly wonderful father-daughter dynamic?
Make the first step
The most important part of building anything is to take the first step. Your daughter will most likely wait and wonder if you will make the first move, because children will often do just that. Be an adult and start to create a bridge between you by asking how she is doing in school, in her social circles or hobbies. Take an interested stand and don’t follow up or judge any of her answers. Keep in mind that anything she says or does is completely normal to her, so rationalize it and keep doing it for a while. You will start noticing sudden interest in your own spare time and activities, and this is how you will build your relationship to last.
Remember your youth
We’ve all done crazy things in the past. Teenage years are meant for creating memories and trying new things – we have all been there. It’s important that you remember your own youth before judging your daughter and being restrictive towards her. Offering friendly advice and telling her your own stories during coffee or a walk will help you gain influence and trust with your child.
If you outright ban some activity or tell her she can’t go out “just because”, she will distance herself and actually go through with her initial plan in most cases. Put yourself in her shoes and even the playing field whenever you talk or do something together.
Talk and share
Building a relationship will take a lot of talking, and eventual sharing on both parts. Your daughter is your own child, and trusting her with your stories, experiences and life lessons in an understandable way will make your opinion invaluable to her. It’s sometimes hard to share and tell someone what you feel or want to do, but making this step in your father-daughter relationship is one of the most important ones you will ever make. Failing to learn how to talk will have repercussions years down the line when your child is alienated from you.
This won’t be your fault directly, but it will be greatly affected by the fact that you never learned how to talk to one another. Finding interesting and mutual topics to talk about and start off random conversations is the perfect way to learn how to communicate better, and eventually trust one another on a more personal level.
Even if you both like walking down the street or buying shoes, this is what we call “common interests” and it’s what makes people connect. Finding common interests with your daughter is the perfect way to break the ice and go through something fun together. You can even level the playing field by offering her advice for schoolwork such as online paper services like Rewarded Essays that can help her free up some personal time. Remember that she is a teen and like every teen she likes to cut corners and be rebellious from time to time. You will not only talk more and loosen up, but you will also create new memories and these moments are the most valuable treasure in your relationship.
Try talking and finding out what both of you like to do. Even if you don’t particularly like something she does, you are the older and wiser one in the equation, so try to compromise from time to time. Your daughter will learn to appreciate you more and more, allowing you to access her life in new ways, not just as a father, but as a genuine friend.
Create a balance
Being close to your daughter through common interests is amazing for building a relationship, but it’s also important to learn when to take a step back. Your daughter is an individual, and as such, she has a life of her own with interests, friends and hobbies. Try to create a balance between giving her personal space and doing things together – she will appreciate you much more if you understand her growing needs for privacy. After all, you have your own things to do outside of the father-daughter relationship, so try to work out a perfect system that works for both of you.
As an adult, you need to understand what your daughter is going through as a teenager. There is a vast variety of emotions, new thoughts and world views that mix together in order to shape your daughter into an adult. There are times when your daughter might sound unfair or mean towards you – take these outbursts objectively and remember that you went through the same period when you were her age.
Don’t take everything she does or says personally and try to give advice instead of scolding her or imposing new rules if she doesn’t listen. If you position yourself as an understanding and caring parent, she will come to you soon after and ask for advice by herself – you need to give her this choice and be patient with her. Teenagers can be hard sometimes, and teenage daughters even more so – learn that patience is a virtue and be objective about it.
Forgive and learn
One of the most valuable lessons you will both go through is forgiving each other for the things you will do. Sometimes you won’t think ahead and say something that will shake your daughter up, and vice versa. These impulses come and go, and what remain are lessons of forgiveness and learning how to let go. Don’t wait too long to approach her and mend fences.
Fathers and daughters need each other, regardless of who started the fight and hurt who. Holding grudges with your own child will lead nowhere, and you will both learn that you are stronger together than apart. Believe it or not, this is the most personal way you will connect with your daughter and create a harmonious balance between you.
Only when you face struggle and hard times will you be able to meet each other on a personal level. And while all of the steps we have talked about are important and hard on their own, combining them will take years of practice. Luckily for you both, this is exactly what you have, so make sure you use the most if it to create a wonderful balance between you.
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