Last Sunday the lesson in my teenager daughters church class included a visit from one of the dad's in the ward and he was asked to speak about how much he loved his daughters and that they were special to him and that they were special to him on an eternal perspective, etc.
Well, that triggered an emotional breakdown from my daughter that I have never seen the likes of before.
It's not like she came home crying or even realizing the problem immediately. It took an hour of talking later that evening for her to finally figure out the problem and then it took my husband pointing out that he thought he knew what triggered it.
She needs her dad. They only visit once a month and he calls maybe the same amount.
She needs an emotionally available dad. She needs him to be more involved. She needs him to call more, to e mail more, to skype more, to be more involved.
Sure she has a step dad. He is here. He is a good dad. He makes special efforts, but he's not her dad. She knows that...and he knows that. I just wish her dad knew that.
So I called him. We talked. I tried to explain it best I could and I think he got it.
I hope he got it. Like really got it.
I didn't really understand the psychology behind it until this all came to a head and I searched for some help on the internet. There is a mountain of evidence that concludes the same way. Daughters need their dad's.
Here are some of the resources that I've found that I really like.
As a girl continues to grow and her teen years become fraught with complicated issues, dads should continue to work on building a trusting relationship, give affection and support her as she learns more about who she is and what kind of person she wants to become, Austin says. "It's imperative that, no matter what, dads avoid the temptation to pull away or withdraw during this sometimes challenging stage of growing up."
Dads shouldn’t back off during their daughters’ teenage years. In fact, when it comes to girls’ body-confidence, they may be needed now more than ever. Understanding the role her father plays is key.
Changing family roles.
Only 20 percent of American households consist of married couples with children. Filling the gap are family structures of all kinds, with dads stepping up to the plate and taking on a myriad of roles. When they are engaged, fathers can really make a difference. He may be classically married, single, divorced, widowed, gay, straight, adoptive, step-father, a stay-at-home dad, or the primary family provider. What is important is that he is involved.