Improve Your Relationship with Your Daughter – Here are Four Ways to Better Communication
By K. Parker
I had a difficult time talking to my dad when I was younger. Like so many other dads, my dad struggled with words, though he tried to make up for that with his actions.
A strong foundation for a father/daughter relationship begins with caring. My dad and I definitely had that going for us, but because the building blocks of a father/daughter relationship roll right into the kind of dating relationships and marriage a girl might have, you need more than just unspoken loyalties. The following are ideas to help dads to truly connect:
Four Tips to Help Dads Connect with Their Daughters:
- Communicate your love clearly
Much of the time, my dad showed his love through the activities I was interested in. I’m a singer and musician, and my dad has always been my biggest supporter. He made me feel like I was talented and special, he’d even find shows on TV— singing competitions and the like where we’d sit and analyze the techniques and such. All of this pushed me to follow my heart and grow my talents more than I would’ve on my own. But what I didn’t understand and what a lot of kids don’t always understand is that, without words, the meaning gets lost— especially when it’s hidden behind a love language they may not share with their dad.
- Dads, say “I love you” frequently
- Tell her you’re proud of her often
- Listen to what she has to say and keep that line of communication open
- Apologize frequently when in conflict
A couple things I learned from my dad are the things he isn’t able to do well. He has a bad temper and it is hard for him to admit when he’s wrong. These are things that I learned I didn’t want in a husband, and I ended up marrying a man who does not have a short fuse.
Of course mistakes happen, and tempers always flare when it comes to kids testing your patience, so make sure to be quick to apologize if you were in the wrong. If you want your kids to learn how to say they’re sorry, then be that example.
- Be quick to apologize before giving your reasons for your actions
- Admit when you’ve made a mistake and own up to it
- How to talk to a teenage girl about puberty
My dad really had a hard time communicating his actual feelings. It was difficult watching him struggle with his temper and yell at things when they didn’t work properly. Or how he couldn’t be serious and give a genuine apology when it made him feel awkward, and he’d try to joke it off instead of just straight up saying sorry. All of this made having personal conversations practically impossible— especially during the teenage/puberty years.
Don’t make your daughter feel awkward by being too distant in your everyday communication so when she grows up and her body changes, you can talk to her about more personal things. Girls often feel uncomfortable and scared at those natural changes in their bodies.
- Reassure her in these changes and help her feel beautiful, and help remind her that it’s her intelligence and kindness that matter the most
- Don’t stop hugging her, she will notice
- Treat periods as the natural process they are. If you act uncomfortable about them, then she will feel they are something to be ashamed of
- Support her interests
When I began dating, I didn’t have anything specific in mind as to what kind of guy I was looking for. I didn’t really have a type other than someone I clicked with. Thinking about it now, I can see that many of the traits I found I enjoyed— someone kind who I can share interests with— my dad has too. He likes sharing interests, he’s a fun person who likes to make people laugh with his stories, and he is a genuinely kind man. The man I married is all those things as well. We enjoy many similar interests and support each other in those interests. He likes making people feel welcome and at ease in our home. He’s kind, as well as goofy.
Be excited for your girl beyond just going to events and such. Get involved and make her feel special and proud of her talents, and show that those talents matter to you.
- Learn about her interests, be it sports, dance, a TV show or book series, etc. so you can engage in a genuine conversation with her about it
- Listen when she talks about those interests
- Tell her you’re proud of the hard work she puts into improving her talents and skills
The relationships you create with your children are something that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. I’m grateful for the good people my mom and dad are, and that I’ve learned so much from them. They’ve both taught me the different kinds of ways to love another person.
Along with that, I’m glad I’ve been able to get to know my dad as I’ve grown up, and I can more easily understand where he was coming from. I can see that he was communicating his love to me all along, it was just harder to see when I was younger and more self-centered. Help your kids see a little clearer when they’re young. Even if you feel like you keep making mistakes, keep trying.
For more advice on how to communicate effectively and build strong, healthy relationships with your kids, check out our books 30 Days to a Stronger Child and Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age.
Parker is a writer and editor for Educate and Empower Kids, and a graduate from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Professional Studies in English. She is excitedly pursuing a career in copy editing as she grows her little family.