Lean into Your Daughter

Dad, don’t let your teenage daughter fool you. She needs you. I know her attitude may not always reflect that, but it’s true. She’s caught in a whirlwind of hormones and emotional upheaval. Her self-worth is under attack, and her social world is topsy-turvy. On top of that, she’s physically growing, changing, and feeling awkward. With you. With everybody.

Over the next few years, your daughter’s attitude will tempt you to disengage from her, to keep her at arm’s length. Don’t. She’ll misinterpret your pulling away as rejecting her. She’ll think that you don’t want her around anymore.

Instead of pulling back … lean in.

Leaning into your daughter’s world – even in ways that seem insignificant at the time – has an enormous impact. The research proves it. When dads engage with their girls, every measure of a healthy childhood improves. Depression, low self-esteem, early sex, and drug and alcohol use all go down. IQs and graduation rates from high school and college both go up.

Dad, take a deep breath and be encouraged. Your daughter isn’t pulling away from you. She’s temporarily leaning back as she sorts through the puzzle pieces of her life for answers. Connect with her, raise her with a moral compass, and empower her to become everything she can be. With time, she’ll find her way through her confusion and, eventually, lean back in to you.

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