Catch up on shows with The Coast On Demand
Monday, September 10, 2012 12:32 PM
A very common problem is Dads feel very close to their daughters when they are little but the relationship gets stressed as she approaches puberty and on into adolescence.
The elephant in the room is: our daughters develop sexually and, as men, we retreat. There is a very strong ‘touch taboo’ that many fathers feel. Many fathers of developing daughters suddenly stop all expressions of physical affection toward their child. This is a tricky topic: I spoke to a group of men about this last week and you could just feel them getting tense as I spoke about it – but then a sense of relief.
How do our daughters interpret our retreat? The messages she gets from culture, the media and school yard are:
How you look is very important
That’s what men care about
If they pay less attention to you, you are less valuable
She interprets our less physical approach as rejection. She may even provoke you to reject her by pulling away or sour behaviour...
How do you cope with this? With respect, wisdom, courage and sensitivity – it takes a lot of patient generous character to be a parent!
It is very important to show that you accept she is changing and you are comfortable with that. Your affirmation and ease with her will be key to how she relates to other men. If she feels affirmed by you, she won’t feel anxious or insecure with other guys; she won’t feel she needs to be flirty to get the affirmation of other males.
You do relate differently to your developing daughter. In subtle ways, let her know you respect and accept her emerging womanhood. It may not be appropriate to ‘rough and tumble’ anymore. Show your respect and admiration with
Warm and affectionate smiles
Appropriate affectionate touch
Spending time with her
Engaging her in conversation
Realise she may also be uncomfortable with herself, and at some stages she may pull away from a hug or a kiss. Your feelings will be hurt, but you know what is going on so remain constant in your affections.
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