It is difficult to manage your family without your partner, and you have to be vigilant as a single dad, especially when you have a daughter to take care of. Daughters are princesses and they need your love and care, but sometimes, things can go wrong and you end up dealing with a rebel. It can be your worst nightmare to see your daughter choosing destructive ways in life and ignoring everything you have tougher her through all those hard years. When your little princess refused to abide by any rules, there will be chaos in everyone’s life.
Dealing with an emotionally erratic girl is not easy, especially when you could pinpoint no reason why your teen has transformed from a joyful, kind and cooperative little girl to a hard-to-get along, argumentative, and sullen teen. Well, things are always difficult for single dads with teen daughters but you should do whatever you can to turn this situation around. To find the solution and to understand the way out of this situation, it is important to put your thinking cap on and identify the factors that may have triggered this change of behavior. This could be the result of so many things. For instance:
- Your daughter could be behaving differently because of the hormonal and physical changes. It is normal to feel weird, irritated, or annoyed while undergoing hormonal changes after the onset of puberty and adolescence. Some teen girls may not experience serious behavioral effects of these hormonal changes, but others may find it quite difficult to handle everything. That is when you should expect them to have dramatic emotional ups and downs, and become withdrawn or surly. While this can certainly be terrifying for a single dad to see her daughter change so much, the good thing is that all this is only a passing phase. It means that you should hold your nerves and be around for her until the phase is over.
- Certain psychological changes can also make your teen daughter look like a rebel. Child development specialists call this phase “separation and individuation”. During this phase, your teen daughter would begin pulling away from you and start connecting more with her peers. You may also see her try new ways to express her individuality and be more assertive about her personal preferences. Again, this is normal and is an important part of your child’s mental and emotional development.
There can be so many other factors making your daughter behave badly, but it is important to keep your calm and ensure that you do not try to push her. Whether there is something wrong with her emotionally or she is undergoing hormonal changes, you need to understand that you cannot really do much to “force” her to change her mood. You need to accept some of those changes, but you should never leave her on her own. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when your daughter rebels:
- Know that it is important to never give up. While it is difficult to turn back the clock and turn your daughter into what she used to be, you should still keep trying. It is important to take your time and assess the whole situation first. You may want to consult a counselor to know how to proceed. Sometimes, you need to make tough calls, especially when you see your teen daughter become a threat to herself or others. It is always easy to throw up your hands or simply walk away from the whole situation, but this is never going to change anything and you will still keep feeling the pain. Therefore, it is important to hang tough and ensure that you keep trying.
- Look for a female mentor to help your daughter find a better way to deal with physical and mental changes she is going through. This can be difficult to find one such female mentor that both you and your daughter can trust, but you have to do it when you are a single dad. No matter how close you are to your daughter, but there will always be certain things and questions that only a woman could answer. You can ask family friends for help or you can find external female role models, like teachers, sports coaches, and even Girl Scout leaders. Find help in any way you can.
- Understand the importance of communicating with her in the right way. When your daughter starts misbehaving, you need to learn the right way to communicate with her. What it also means is that instead of playing your superhero role to fix all her problems, you should first try to be there and listen to everything she has to say. Communication is always important because you cannot find a simple solution to the problems your teenage girl has. Sometimes, you should only lend a compassionate ear and allow her to share her feelings with you. This can help her get out of stress and even find a way to resolve her own issues.
- Avoid being overprotective. It is natural to think that you should take serious steps to deal with your daughter who is misbehaving for no apparent reason, but it is important to be calm and understand that your little girl is now growing up and needs more space. It is natural for single dads to be overprotective of their daughters, but it is important to give her confidence and trust her in her decision-making to help her think straight and stop being a rebel. It is important to give her some freedom and she will respect you for it.
- Stay involved all the time… without looking too overprotective. Again, it can be a bit tricky but you have to do it to help your daughter through the growing process. Taking a back seat while your daughter learns new realities of life is never a good idea. You have to be involved and correct your daughter when you know she is going to make a major mistake. You need to help her enjoy her life, but show active involvement in whatever she does. This act of togetherness will help you establish an unbreakable bond between you two.
- Do not try to blame your ex-wife for things that are not going well in your life. There will always be some feelings of love in your daughter’s heart for her mother, and you need to understand and respect that. No matter how close you are to your daughter, you need to know that she is always going to miss her. It is also important to understand that the cessation of your marriage was never a choice of your daughter in the first place. Therefore, you should not try to make her indifferent towards her mother and your ex-wife. Instead, you need to be there when she wants to talk about her mother. It is also a good idea to let her see her mother at times, unless there are some legalities involved in the whole issue. Just bear in mind that your wife is a big part of your daughter’s life and you just cannot find a way around it. Do not push her or she will behave even badly.
- Know that it is natural for your little princess who is growing fast to start dating. This can be devastating for single dads to know that their princess is engaged with someone else. Even when you personally think she is still not ready to start dating or start a relationship, you will have to respect her choices. If you do not, you will have a rebel to deal with.
- Do not turn her into something you want her to be. What it means is that you will have to learn the art of relinquishment in order to help your rebellious daughter feel normal again. You will have to give up a degree of control over your teen daughter and hope that she learns that she is on a wrong track.
- Protect the rest of your family. What it means is that if you have tried everything to help your troubled teen but things do not seem to be working, you may want to take tough decisions, especially when you have other young kids in your home. You may have to keep your troubled teen away from your other kids if she is on a violent streak or bringing home some illegal activities. You do not always have to force her to live elsewhere, but you need to talk to her and help her understand the importance of working with a professional. You can talk to the Family’s Counseling department and look for a residential facility or program to help her get better.
The fact of the matter is that dealing with a teen daughter who rebels is never easy, but you need to keep trying and ensure that you are there to help and support her as much as possible. While doing all the hard work, do not forget about yourself and be sure to pay attention to your mental and physical health because stress can hurt you in more ways than you can imagine.