Fathers Feel It, Too
This book isn't only for mothers. Fathers also have struggles with the child who just moments ago was 'Daddy's little girl'. Still, there are many ways your unique perspective can help your daughter. Just because you were never a girl doesn't mean you can't help your daughter get through all this mess. In fact, it could be a lot worse. You could be the mother. Even if you're raising your daughter on your own, you still probably won't get into the teeth-baring, no-holds-barred battles that mothers and daughters do. I know lots of dads feel rejected and pushed aside when their little girl suddenly turns into a moody teenager. But in reality, this is an opportunity for you to become a genuinely cool dad. I don't mean you let her get away with stuff, side with her against the mom, or drive her wherever she wants. I'm talking about the dad who patiently waits around until she wants to talk, then listens without being judgmental, isn't afraid to look foolish or show his emotions, shares the "boy perspective," and is able to communicate his concerns without coming across as controlling and dogmatic. You're probably dying to warn your daughter off those hormonally crazed ruffians panting at the door; you were one once and you still remember what it felt like. But if you launch in with 'what boys really want' and come across as the crazy-control-freak-doesn't-have-a-clue father, you've lost a golden opportunity. Your job is to present your wisdom in a credible manner so she won't blow you off and think your opinions are outdated and irrelevant. Through your relationship with her, you can teach her that her relationships with men must be mutually respectful and caring. This book will help you.
Believe It or Not, Your Daughter Still Wants You in Her Life
When I ask girls privately, even those who struggle the most with their parents, they tell me they want their parents to be proud of them. You may look at her in the middle of an argument when she's screaming that she hates you and think there's no way you can get through to her, but you can and will if you learn to see the world through her eyes.
You always want attention from your parents. Especially if you're doing something you aren't sure about.
Parents don't realize that their children look up to them. When I know that deep in my mother and father's heart they really don't agree with what I'm doing, that really hurts
I want a better relationship with my parents. I know I have to build their trust back, talk to them and listen to them and it will work out fine.
I know I should listen to my parents, even if they're wrong.
The danger is that when your daughter opens up enough to let you in, she makes herself vulnerable, and that's when you can really hurt those fragile feelings:
My mom and dad won't let me talk about my depression because they think we should keep it in the family. They worry about what everyone else will think. Everyone has problems. Why are we so special that we have to pretend that we're so different?
When my mom sees me eating chocolate, she sometimes makes comments about watching my weight. But she doesn't need to say anything. I can tell by her expression.
My older sister has an eating disorder. Last year the doctors wanted to hospitalize her but my parents thought they could take care of it at home. I overheard them discussing it, and saying that they could tell people she had mono.
And you can unwittingly make her turn to people you don't want her to rely on:
Excerpted from Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman Copyright© 2002 by Rosalind Wiseman. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary
The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.
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