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Counsellor’s Couch: Dads & Daughters 💛

Dear Parents

Congratulations for making it to half-term! Wow, what an exhausting year it has been. Many girls have been feeling overwhelmed with the number of tests and assignments this term and I know that they are feeling extremely stressed for the upcoming examinations too. My advice to parents is to just continue to support your daughter during this stressful time and try and find the right balance between putting just enough pressure on them to work hard but not too much (have realistic expectations of what your daughter can achieve.)

Growing up (and still to this day), I was a ‘Daddy’s Girl’. My dad could never do anything wrong in my eyes, which I think for my mom was extremely frustrating and understandably so. In my Junior School years, I would walk into school holding my dad’s hand. As I started getting older, this of course to me became embarrassing and not ‘cool!’ Slowly but surely as I began Senior School and transformed into a hormonal teenager, I felt that my dad did embarrassing things or told jokes that I took offense to, which in actual fact had no mean intentions at all. The latter was mainly due to my emotions, hormones, sensitivities and desire to ‘fit in.’

One of my most embarrassing memories as a teenager (that I still remember like it was yesterday) was in my Grade 9 year. After school the one afternoon, my friends and I were waiting in the car park to be collected when we noticed a Ford Bantam pulling into the school’s parking lot with ‘BOET, YOU NEED A BANTAM!’ written in HUGE letters across the side of the car. Not knowing that this was actually my dad (as he used to work for Ford during that time), my friends and I laughed so hard saying things like, “Imagine getting picked up in that!” To my absolute horror, I suddenly noticed my dad waving at me from the front seat of the car and I realised that, I in fact was getting picked up in that car! I felt so embarrassed and my dad thought it was hilarious.

Looking back, I am able to laugh about it now. I often think to myself, gosh, why was I so embarrassed!? Then I remembered that in Senior School, everyone is trying their hardest just to ‘fit in.’ Teenage girls want to be accepted and want to be liked. Luckily in my day, social media did not exist. Now, teenage girls have the added pressure of social media – needing and wanting to fit in by receiving likes for their photos or obtaining a certain number of followers.

I know dads’ intentions are always good and often mean no harm with their jokes, but what dads do need to remember is that their teenage daughters are going through a lot and therefore may be more sensitive than normal. Teenage girls are often self-conscious and when dads innocently tease them about certain things, it may cause upset or embarrassment.

I asked a few girls to comment on things that their dads have said:

  • “You are getting quite a few pimples on your face; we could play join the dots!”
  • (A daughter wearing high wasted shorts) “Wow, where is the rest of your outfit?”
  • “Your armpits are very hairy, you look like a gorilla!”
  • “You are so moody these days, you must be on your period!”

As you can see from the above examples, they may seem innocent enough, however a teenage girl who is feeling hormonal, emotional and hypersensitive and who is trying their utmost to ‘fit in’, may take these comments personally. Some days however, you can make jokes and your teenage daughter will laugh, yet other days you can make the same joke and they will take offence! Wow, teenage daughters can be so complicated!

Sometimes, as a parent, you just have to somewhat judge the mood your daughter is in, in order to know what buttons to push or not push! What I am trying to say is: dads – just try be a bit more sensitive sometimes with your daughters. Girls love their dads dearly and value their opinions and advice, but just remember that sometimes, you just need to be careful of the innocent jokes you make about your daughters’ mood, behaviour or appearance. As I have said before, if only teenage girls came with an instruction manual!

I hope you have a lovely half-term break and manage to spend some quality family time together.

Love

Sarah

 

 

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