Single Dad’s Guide to Raising a Daughter

Being a single dad has many challenges. Among them, raising a daughter is arguably the most difficult thing you will ever have to do. There are some things that dads just can’t understand and there are certain problems that will be outside the scope of your expertise. With those realities put into light, it’s important to consider possible solutions. Many dads have raised great daughters without much help and their accomplishments are the result of much care and understanding. So what do you do to make it work? How do you make the best of what figures to be a difficult situation?

Give her space
The first and most important point is to give her some space. You must accept at the beginning that things are not going to be perfect. In fact, there will be times when things are unpleasant. Know that this is mostly out of your control and that you don’t have to try to make everything perfect. When something goes wrong, give her some time and space to figure it out. Be supportive, but don’t feel as if you have to be Superman each time there’s a misunderstanding.

Do things mom would do
An important part of raising a well-rounded young lady is doing things that her mother would normally do. Though she will probably end up loving a baseball game with dad, there may be times when she wants to go to ballet practice. If there are play dates with other girls her age, take her. Do your best to be supportive of what she wants to do, even if it is outside of your comfort zone. Stretching yourself is the only way to make a positive out of a less than perfect situation.

Handling “girl issues”
Dads know that there are some things girls won’t want to talk about with their dads. This is just human nature and it is bound to happen. When menstruation, birth control, and the like come about, try to get a feel for your daughter’s needs. Don’t force her to talk about things that she’s uncomfortable talking about, as this will just breed malcontent. Instead, offer to set up an appointment with a gynecologist so that she can get answers to her questions. This will make everyone feel more comfortable and it will give her the outlet that she needs.

The issue of freedom
As your daughter grows older, it can be difficult to let her go, so to speak. This is especially true for single dads, since they spend so much time with their daughters. You have to learn to let go, at least a little bit. As she gets to driving age and approaches college, she will want to go out with friends. Set reasonable limits and curfews, but don’t restrict her. You will need to be consistent and make sure that your rules are enforced, though. Many single dads go the opposite way and allow their daughters to have control. During this important time, you must set boundaries and enforce them. This is a delicate issue, so dads will want to tread lightly.

Just be you
Too many dads feel as if they need to be the perfect guy all the time. They feel as if they need to be the top chef, world class coach, and family provider all at once. Your daughter does not expect that out of you, so you should take some of the pressure off of yourself. Instead of trying to do everything, just stick to what you do best. Show her the love and support that she needs through difficult periods of growth. Show up at her games and offer to do nice things for her. Mostly, just be a loving and supportive figure in her life. Beyond that, anything that you can do to make her life easier is just an added bonus from her perspective.