Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Building the bridge between father and daughter

Published:Monday | June 12, 2017 | 6:00 AM

Poet Marinela Reka once said, "Being a daddy's girl is like having a permanent armour for the rest of your life".

There are awesome perks to being a daddy's girl and there is nothing that can replace the relationship shared between a father and his daughter. However, sometimes there is something that is missed, like a piece of land parted by a tumultuous river. Nothing is wrong with either side, there just needs to be a bridge.

Relationship specialist Dr Sidney McGill notes that sometimes the river in this relationship stems from a man's general concern of providing for his family. He notes that fathers are concerned about providing for their families, being the breadwinner and ensuring that everything is provided for. But this is often the convenient excuse used for not being all that the daughter requires.

Daughters tend to require a sense of security, safety and leadership from their father. For this, McGill notes that there needs to be interaction. While his absence can have a negative impact on the relationship, how he treats the mother is also very important. The interaction between the mother and father can trigger a chain reaction in her life later on, placing jagged rocks at the bottom of the river.

 

BUILDING A SOLID

RELATIONSHIP

 

When it comes to building a good relationship with one's daughter, almost everything can be resolved in open communication and honesty. The first is building a bond with her by taking her out and spending time alone. McGill recommends taking her to work with you, or dinner. This will open up the conversation and teach her how she should be treated. Do not wait until it is a special occasion - start doing things with her from an early age and then the bridge will have a strong foundation.

Leaving PTAs to the mothers is something that can also have a will be a major setback. McGill notes that she needs to know that you are interested in her life, and recommends that father's help their daughters with her homework.

McGill notes that one mistake that fathers cannot afford to make is forgetting her birthday. He notes that if you are showing interest, you cannot forget one of her most important days. While you may have never expected to become a cheerleader, it comes with the territory of fatherhood - you need to be her biggest fan. Show her the support so that she knows that you are there for her. This helps to set the frame of the bridge. Reinforce it so it is sturdy.

This becomes even more important as she becomes a teenager. He notes that fathers have to accept that their daughters will grow into a women and become interested in the opposite sex. If you have built the foundation right, and set the frame, and surface the bridge, you will see how natural it is for her to come to you for advice or just to tell you what is going on. This will be a topic that she would want to talk about, but if you can scare her off with ultimatums and cautions because this is your little girl, which will cause her to shutdown and turn her back. The work never ends and the communication is always necessary. So you should be open and approach the situation with kindness.

Keep the channels of communication open because when she hits a tough spot - from the common cold to a bad break-up - knowing that she has her armour is just enough to keep her feeling safe.

jody-anne.lawrence@gleanerjm.com