En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Single Dads Raising Daughters!

Posted by Scott on November 20, 2007

Single Dads Raising Daughters

For a single dad, raising a daughter can feel like treading on foreign soil.

by Keith Wooden

Our two doors close in staccato beats with just an eight-note separation. It’s all part of the routine as my daughter transfers her belongings from one house to the other for the week’s stay with me.

Here’s my challenge: My daughter needs a dad who will span the cosmic gulf between female and male — without appearing to be extraterrestrial. Your daughter does, too. Our task is simple: Find the vehicle necessary to make the trip from our world to theirs.

Simple, huh? So how can single fathers raising daughters do that?

Find mentors

Men need the contribution of women to nurture our daughters and connect with them. I have curled my daughter’s hair and bought her feminine hygiene products, but I am still a man. My daughter needs a woman to show her how to be a woman.

The first female in your daughter’s life is still her biological mother. Support their relationship through your words and actions. Don’t play custody games or speak in anger.

If your daughter’s mom isn’t available, find someone — or several someones — who can become your daughter’s surrogate mom(s).

Build communication

How well do you and your daughter communicate? Cash in your “mister-fix-it” tool kit, and buy into open questions and empathetic responses. Open questions cannot be answered with yes or no and always extend conversation. Empathetic responses — such as “how did that make you feel?” — expose the heart behind the answers.

Dare to dream

Dreaming together opens a panorama of new horizons. Have you ever heard about her dreams about the future? What color will her prom dress be? What is her idea of the ideal man? Do you speak of her future? Will she make a great mother, or doctor, or lawyer or decorator?

Dreams are the packages of the heart. When you open your daughter’s dreams, you open her heart. You must never say, “That’s impossible,” or “That’s silly.” If you do, you will never hold her heart so close again. Dreams are the wings of her future.

Woman in the making

She is in your home and life for a season, then you’ll hear, “There’s a boy outside. His name is Jim. He wants to know if I can play with him … dance with him … marry him. Can I, Daddy? Can I?”

Is this the end you had in mind? Take a long look into your little girl’s eyes. Can you see it? There is something inexorable taking place. She is becoming a woman.

A few months ago my 13-year-old went to a school social. She danced with a young man, and when it was over, he kissed her. Mind you, I was not told this by my daughter, but rather heard it through the teenage grapevine. I approached my daughter.

“Whitney, I heard you kissed a boy.”

“ No I didn’t, Dad. He kissed me.”

“ He kissed, you kissed. The point is your lips touched.”

“No! It is important. He kissed me!”

“Well, why didn’t you slap him or duck or something?

“Well, Dad, because I kinda liked it.”

Did you hear that sound? That’s a dad’s sigh as he’s watching his little girl grow up. I’ll get over it. Just give me seven more years. But I really don’t mind as much as I protest. I think I’ve seen in my mind’s eye the woman she will become, and I can’t wait to meet her. There are just two things I long to hear: One at eternity’s portal: “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” And the other at the head of an aisle: “Thanks, Daddy, I love you.”

Focus on the Family 2007

-Scott Bailey 2007


4 Responses to “Single Dads Raising Daughters!”

  1. cbgrace said

    I stumbled across your blog. Great subject. Several years ago, I dated a man with a little girl. I loved that little girl. Yes, there are women who will love your whole family but be careful.

    As a woman, my best advise to dads, is give your girls plenty of hugs (affection). If not, she will seek it from other sources. Communication is important but knowing that you love her will satify her soul. Help her to respect herself.

  2. qbaileys said

    Thanks for the comments to my guest blog post. I am not a single dad fortunately. However, as so many single moms are seeking ideas and mentorship on raising those kids especially the sons without dad, I had not said much to single dads. Although the bulk of the site is for dads, I singled this srticle out as one of many.

    However, I could not agree with you more that as for dads with these daughters they need lots of genuine love from dad. I have 4 daughters myself and it is important for them to be hugged everyday even at 16 years old. I certainly want them to know they do not need to seek that kind of love from anyone else.

    This is difficult for single dads though. They may find themselves at an awkward stage of their daughters development and want to be careful. Now days even the dads can be accused of misconduct with daughters when absolutely nothing happened, depending on the situation. I have such a friend that would not sexually abuse his daughters if someone put a gun to his head, but an ex-wife wanted the girls with her and they put together the story line and it worked. So, now for the past 5 years he has been trying to reestablish the relationship with his daughters one at a time. So, with all things the single dad must be careful, but very loving and affectionate at the same time.

    For all single dads out there….I admire your willingness to raise your kids alone if placed in that situation. Raising daughters alone even goes to a higher level of admiration. The best advice I can give any of you in that situation is to stay the course God has layed out before you. He will guide you through it and out of it if it is His will to do so.

    Pressing on in Him,

  3. nicbeth said

    Scott, thank you for the great advice. A good friend has just coped with the first year of only seeing his daughter once a month. His heart is breaking and he lives on the other side of the US from her. He would do anything for her, like take this new job so he could provide a better life for her AND her mother. Could you suggest some ways to lift him up and some christian rock/pop songs I could put together to keep him going? Thx!

  4. Scott said

    I feel for your friend. It must be extra tough being away from his daughter. Are they divorced, separated, or is just working on the other side of the US for the money? As far as christian rock/pop songs…I am afraid I am not much into that. I can certainly recommend a number of great hymns that have sustained me throughout my life. Something you must understand is that the hymns of the faith have tremendous truths, scriptural backing, and a great testimony as well. Psalm’s is great place to point your friend to. David can relate in a way to your friend in this as he was driven far from his home as well…had to camp out in a cave for a long time. God ministered to David there and much of what is recorded in Psalm is from that time in his life. Keep checking back here and I will see what I can put together for your friend both contemporary and hymns. I may have a few more suggestions at time as well for him.

    Thanks for your caring this much for him in order to request help for him. There is not much greater than true love of a good friend like you. Is your friend a born again Christian?

    In Christ,

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