The bond between a parent and a child is more than words can express. The responsibility of raising a child by his/her parents is not just challenging, but tough. It is something parents do as a team. However, that is not the case with all the families. Many a time, it is a child's fate to have only his/her mother or father around all the time. As a natural understanding in our society, we believe that a mother can take better care of her child than the father. Although this may be true to a certain extent, since a woman develops motherly feelings after childbirth, fathers too can raise their kids.
Every parent, whether you are talking about mothers or fathers, has his/her capabilities when it comes to raising their kid(s). But when the question arises of a father raising a daughter, that too without her mother, the situation takes on a different angle. It is not uncommon to find a single mother taking care of her daughter(s) or son(s). What we still perceive as peculiar or sometimes unnatural, is a single father trying his best to raise his daughter. Of course, the road is filled with self-doubt, hardships, mistakes, second-guessing decisions, frustration, and apprehension. Even though these issues can plague every decision a father makes, what the main factor to concentrate on is the well-being, safety, security, and happiness for his daughter. Keeping this in mind, we have put this article together on providing you, a single parent, with some tips to raise your daughter.
Raising a Daughter as a Single Dad
If I said that you're not alone when it comes to raising kids as a single father, would that give you some peace of mind? Close to 13 million kids across the country are being raised by single parents; out of which, single fathers are bringing up about 2½ million kids. Now that is quite a huge number, don't you think? The first thing to remind yourself is that this is a challenge that life has thrown at you. Which is why, it is your responsibility to keep your mind strong and move forward. In the following sections, we will talk about how you can focus on raising your daughter and do a damn good job at it too.
Tips for Raising Your Toddler Daughter
At such a tender age, a child needs his/her mother. But, if circumstances have led you to nurture your daughter alone, then there are certain things you can do to make the process less stressful.
- It is natural to feel anxious and nervous about dealing with raising a daughter alone. Your family, friends, and people you know will have lots of expectations from you. The first few years of your daughter's life will have her require your constant attention; requirement for diaper changing, feeding, bathing, etc.
- You ask for help. That's an important benefit most fathers forget to use. If you feel that you require more sets of hands to help you out while your baby girl is young, you can easily hire a nanny or ask for help from family members. However, this does not mean that you get to sit on the couch with your feet up, watching a game.
- Your involvement in your child's growth, even at this young age, is necessary. So be careful that you pay close attention to how things are done. This way, you won't have to keep asking for help every now and then.
- Especially when she's this young, she needs you to make her feel protected and loved. Your touch, warmth, the way you smile at her, and how she feels when she's with you, all these things matter when a child is growing. This way, she knows that her dad is there to take care of everything. In fact, this is the first step at building a strong, lasting relationship between the two of you.
- Of course, you have other responsibilities as well, such as, work and taking care of other household chores. If you can easily juggle between work and home, kudos to you. However, don't forget that you can always take assistance. You can hire someone to take care of the house in your absence, and that way you won't feel stressed and tired all the time.
- Do not make any compromises when it comes to your baby's health. Make sure that she stays healthy, gets enough time with her father, and is kept active physically and mentally. Her growth, both physical and mental, play an important role in her growing into a strong and intelligent human being.
Tips for Raising Your Preteen Daughter
No matter how old she is and will be in the future, she will always have the reminder of a certain void in her life. The special place in her heart and life that a mother holds can never be replaced, no matter how much anyone tries. However, that doesn't mean you can't give her a happy, safe, and wonderful life with tons of possibilities for the future. Raising a preteen (ages of 9 to 12) has its own set of ups and downs.
Here are some tips which you can follow to tackle the responsibilities of single fatherhood.
- During these years, your daughter requires your guidance, love, and care. Helping her with school, actively taking part in her life (school, extracurricular activities, etc.), and involving yourself in as many different aspects of her as possible is needed.
- What I meant by 'actively taking part in her life' is that she will need you every step of the way. So try to strengthen your bond with her during this time. Ask what she likes to do for fun and how you can be involved in that. Spending quality time with her is important.
- Your support in her decisions (no matter how small they may be at this age) and building a trusting relationship with her will make her self-confident and self-reliant. She will see how you are single-handedly taking care of her and other countless responsibilities. This will also make her want to be independent, strong, and courageous.
- Teach her the importance of being open and honest with you. Share things with her. Talk about things that are going on in your life. This way, you can build a routine where you both can share each others' lives and take active roles in them. Invite her questions and/or concerns with open arms and deal with them together. She may have questions about her mother, the history, if there is anyone in your life right now, etc.; she is an important part of your life and so are you.
- Last, but certainly not the least, her transition from your darling sweetheart to a beautiful teen will be tough on you. Whether you've been around girls of this age (perhaps your sisters or friends) before or not, there is no way you can be completely prepared for this. What you need to keep in mind is that there will be a clash of opinions, beliefs, likes, and dislikes. Here, you have a chance to show her that even though you are in charge, you can still take her seriously and give her the freedom and trust to make the right decisions in life.
Tips for Raising Your Teenage Daughter
Teen years is where it can be a bit tricky. However, if you have maintained a contributing (and not controlling) part in her life, you won't have much to worry about. Of course, we know that teen years have been labeled as the rebellious years in a person's life. However, when you have a healthy father-daughter relationship, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
But, here's what you can work on during her teen years.
- If you have been actively taking part in her life, then you have very little to worry about. When you have already built a loving, caring, and honest father-daughter relationship with her, the teen years can be managed.
- Since we have talked about being involved in her life, there are times when she requires 'alone time' as well. During her teen years, she will go through various stages, physically and mentally. As much as a daughter needs her mother at this time, her father can be a part of it too.
- She will hit puberty in her teen years. Breathe. There's nothing to worry about. Talk to a female family member (grandmother or sister), a close female friend, or even a neighbor. Get as much information about it as possible so that you're not caught off-guard.
- Talk to her about boys and dating. Establish ground rules from the beginning so that there are no confusions later on. Explain your stand about boys and dating. That way, when she does start liking someone, she will come to you about it.
- Don't invade her privacy. Don't go snooping around her room when she's not home. Trust her instincts, know who her friends are, and believe in your upbringing. This is the phase in her life where she would want to be treated like an adult. Give her that and she will respect you too.
- Decide when is the right age for you to talk about sex, drugs, and alcohol. Teen years are the most vulnerable as peer pressure can make any kid make the wrong decisions. Teaching her about what is right and wrong will help her make the right decisions. When she has complete information from the start, you can rest assured that she can handle any kind of pressure thrown at her.
There is one other thing that we haven't discussed on - your dating status. If you have or are planning on dating again, no matter how old your daughter is, be honest with her. If and when you feel that the person you are with is right for your daughter, have them meet one another. Dating, while raising a daughter without a mother, is not easy. But, there are ways to reduce chances of mistakes and frustration.
Raising a child is a team effort. However, when that team is reduced to a single player, uncertainties are quite possible. Know this - you are not alone. There are various support groups for single parent that can give you guidance and offer help in every step of the way.