There’s tons of data proving the importance of a father’s role in their child’s development. In fact, children of involved fathers are more likely to show more cognitive capability and experience more educational success than those whose fathers aren’t as engaged.
The relationship between a father and his daughter is an especially precious and vulnerable one. In this article, we’ll talk about specific ways dads can actually empower their daughters after the divorce.
The Dangers of The Sleeper Effect
Writing for The Huffington Post, author and researcher Terry Gaspard warned of a “sleeper effect” for daughters of divorce.
“While boys tend to have a more immediate adverse reaction to their parents’ breakup, girls usually identify with their mothers and appear to be coping fairly well before experiencing a delayed reaction,” she wrote.
Gaspard cited a 25-year study carried out by Dr. Linda Nielson that suggested divorce often signifies a loss of childhood for daughters, who may eventually grow into adulthood feeling particularly vulnerable to fears and anxieties about their futures.
Perhaps, Gaspard writes, some daughters experience the delayed reaction because of a society-induced tendency to repress unpleasant feelings, and that many parents and therapists actually underestimate the dominant effects of a divorce on their social and emotional development.
Daughters Need More Dad Time
During the course of her study, Dr. Nielson found that daughters of divorce typically spend more time with their mothers than their fathers.
During the important adolescent years, daughters often feel even more distant from their dad while experiencing an intense – and complicated – relationship with their mothers. Because stepmothers and mothers sometimes do not understand the importance of the daughter-father bond, they often do not encourage it.
How to Empower Daughters After Divorce
Regular readers of our site will know that we’re huge fans of fathers. It’s one of the reasons we launched our Great Dads program.
With that in mind, here are a few simple but powerful ways dads can actually empower their daughters:
- Encourage her to voice her opinion. Assertiveness can be a good trait and an effective way to boost her self-confidence.
- Small talk is good. While you’re driving or even just watching the tube, ask her questions about everyday things.
- Daddy-daughter date is a winner. If your daughter is younger, a trip to the zoo or park are ideal ways to connect and relax. If she’s a teen or young adult, treat her to lunch or to a movie. If you’re stumped for ideas, ask what she’d like to do.
- Stay away from bad-mouthing her mother. Bitterness on the part of former spouses may be a natural feeling, but dads are often the buffer during tension-filled daughter-mother relationships.
- Be cool if she’d rather spend time with her friends. This one may hurt but as your daughter reaches adolescence, it’s only natural that she’ll want to hang out with her friends or enjoy new hobbies.
The key is to be patient and accepting of her need for independence. Remember, even though she still may need your approval, she also needs a little space so she can grow.
Protect Your Parental Rights by Calling The Men’s Legal Center
Well after the divorce decree has been issued, divorced dads still have important jobs to do in raising and influencing their children.
To make sure you have the best means for protecting your parental rights, get in touch with us here at The Men’s Legal Center.
Our number is (619) 234-3838 or you can send an email.