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Teenage Girls and their Dads

Teenage girls need special care and monitoring when they adjust to the separation of their parents, to new stepparents and to grieve for their losses. By Don Rowlands, family counsellor, father of two daughters

Separation is hard on teenage girls especially. They need parents to talk to them, supervise them, organize them and support them when they are down. Often separated fathers lack this energy. The sense of loss for their family may lead teenagers to express their pain in dangerous ways. They have less perspective and immature judgment when it comes to accepting the changes and forgiving the imperfections of adults.

teens.jpgJust when the teenager is ready to move away from family into the world of her peers it will seem that the secure and protective base has come apart. They may feel let down and abandoned by their parents who promised a safe foundation. The teenager will need to be reassured that they belong in your new home or with your new stepfamily. It is important to maintain limits that are consistent in both post separation hoes so that the teenager cannot play one off against the other. Girls can respond to parental separation by getting depressed, hurting themselves, abusing alcohol or suicide attempts. Others will become withdrawn or rebellious.

Daughters need some special things from fathers. One of these is affirmation. This means the feeling of being flattered, admired but never invaded or exploited – so that they can practice conversation and mutual admiration with a ‘safe’ male. Through talking with their fathers and pother older men, daughters can gain assurance, feel worthwhile and know that they do not ‘need’ the first beau that comes their way. A realistic understanding of male qualities and male foibles is priceless for a girl. STEVE BIDDULPH.