Raising a daughter comes with a whole world of complications – especially if you’re a single dad. You have no one there to help you when it comes to finding the perfect dress for the first day of school, or to teach you how to teach her to navigate through her changing hormones. There’s no one there to tell you to calm down when she brings home her first date, or to prepare you for the realization that your little girl isn’t so little anymore. However there are several things you can do as a single dad to help prepare your daughter for the real world.
1. Get her a toolbox and teach her how to use it. Some girls can use tools more efficiently than their male counterparts, and others have as much interest learning about tools as they do about slugs. However even if she has zero interest in being a handy(wo)man, teaching her how to navigate through a toolbox and fix things on her own is an invaluable skill that you can give her.
2. Find a hobby you both enjoy. It’s not uncommon for dads to share similar interests with their sons and for moms to share similar interests with their daughters, but if you’re a single dad raising a little girl then you have the unique opportunity to share a hobby with your little girl. Enroll her in the swim team and practice her strokes with her during the week; let her pick a sport and then attend all the major league games in your area; spend weekends getting up early and going fishing together. These are the types of things that she’ll look back on and cherish.
3. Say no. Dads are notorious for being pushovers with their little girls, and little girls learn quickly when they have dad wrapped around their little fingers…meaning that they can coerce him into whatever they want. Say no sometimes. She’ll be better off not thinking that everything should go her away 100% of the time.
4. Teach her how to change a flat tire. While you may love coming to her rescue the first few times she has a flat tire, at a certain point she needs to be able to handle that situation on her own. Most boys learn at a young age how to quickly change a tire, while the majority of girls don’t. Don’t only teach your sons this trick, your daughter needs to know how to also.
5. Build up her self-esteem. Pay attention to her. Comfort her when she’s crying. Tell her she’s beautiful. Dance with her at weddings. Remind her that she can conquer anything if she puts her mind to it. Daughters need their dads to be heroes for them, but they also need their dads to be their biggest fans. She’ll soar knowing that she has you backing her up.
Single dads may have it a little tougher when it comes to raising girls, but they can still succeed with flying colors when it comes to raising her. Be her dad, be her hero, be her best friend.