My daughter sat behind a closed bedroom door, fuming at my insensitivity. I replayed our conversation in my mind. The greeting: normal. The talk of school: inconsequential. The boy thing: What was it I said about the new crush in her world? Something about her being too young.
God, I prayed, please help me. I think I may have said something wrong . . . again. This scenario was not new to me. As a single dad of three girls, I spent a fair amount of time outside closed bedroom doors with a baffled look on my face.
My single-parenting journey began when I was granted primary custody of my girls, then 6, 8 and 9. Thankfully, their mother stayed involved, calling regularly and initiating visits, but she lived out of state. So when it came to the day-to-day tasks of raising our children, I was the man on deck.
As my girls started into the tween and teen years, I found myself even more humbled by the weight of this responsibility. It became my goal to reduce closed-bedroom-door incidents and do my best to engage in their world. I made my share of mistakes, but I also did a few things that opened the door to their hearts. If you're a single dad with daughters, you may want to consider these tips:
Be affectionate. Daughters need to feel your love. Whether it's a warm hug, words of affirmation or some cuddle time, displays of affection communicate care to their hearts.
Be teachable. Do all you can to learn how to guide and influence your children. Don't try to go it alone. Consider having a panel of women in your corner — moms, sisters, friends — who can help you understand the emotions and changes your daughters may be experiencing.
Be faithful. One of the best ways you can influence your daughters is to be diligent in your faith journey. As you grow in your relationship with God and in your dependency on prayer, your daughters will benefit. And they will learn to live what you model.
As a dad, you have the incredible opportunity to shape future godly women. These girls will someday become wives, moms and bright lights shining in a dark world. Don't lose sight of that vision, no matter what closed door might stand in your way.
This article appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Elsa Kok Colopy.
Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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