**Let me preface this blog post by stating that not all fatherless daughters will end up this way; however, it is unfortunately the truth for a vast amount of females growing up in today's society. This post in no way, shape or form takes away from the fathers who support their daughters, whether single or married.**
We often shutter at the thought of what our future will be like with "today's kids" running around. You know like I know the term "today's kids" has a negative connotation to it right? "Today's kids" are all wrapped up in their phones! "Today's kids" have no manners! "Today's kids" are way too aggressive and on and on and on about "today's kids"...
At what point do "today's kids" become OUR kids?
If this is not your first time reading my posts, then you know I am a firm believer that raising future leaders starts with each one of us. We have to take ownership for the kids that are in our own lives. It is very easy to point fingers and say what you would do differently if you were that kid's parent. It's much harder to figure out a way to impart wisdom into that kid or get to know that kid on their level. Getting on their level involves studying their personality and finding out what they like. It also involves getting to know the expert on them - their parent!
Playing an active role in a child's life doesn't mean you overstep your boundaries with the parent. It means that you partner with the parent and find out what type of support they want. Only the parent can answer this question for you. I know some of you might be saying, "Seida - your post says 'The Future of Fatherless Daughters' why the heck are you talking about ways to partner with parents?"
Well in order to understand a fatherless daughter, you have to understand several things. You need to know what a fatherless daughter is, learn how to partner with the mother/grandpa/uncle/legal guardian, you have to understand how the family wants you to support them and most importantly - you need to understand her.
|a fatherless daughter| could be a daughter whose father walked out on the family; could have been given up for adoption + lives in foster care; could also be defined as a daughter who fails to establish a connection with a father-figure in their life. So what does the life of a fatherless daughter typically look like?
There are 2 things that are most likely present: insecurity + the girl experiences love differently.
|Insecurity| I know there are a lot of people who will disagree with me on this, but stick with me and I will explain my perspective. A father is the first person to reassure his daughter of her beauty and ultimately her self-confidence. No matter how much a mother says it to her daughter - it carries more weight coming from the father.
There is a piece of her social/emotional development that only the father (father figure) can help mold. I am not saying a mother cannot make her daughter feel beautiful, but as she gets older she will most likely look for an intimate connection with someone like her father. Why? Because fathers give daughters their first real lesson in what it's like to be courted, appreciated, doted on and such. This leads to the second point...
|Experiences of love are different| We have all heard the phrase, "looking for love in all the wrong places" and we know what it means. A girl has a desire to accepted, loved and appreciated. When this desire isn't met by her father (or father figure), she goes on a never-ending hunt for it. It is most likely that she fills this void with faux versions of love.
In my own childhood, I can't remember a time I felt beautiful before my father told me I was beautiful. I had low self-esteem. My mindset did not shift entirely when he said it, but I remember at that moment feeling beautiful! I remember the black shirt I wore, I remember his blue uniform shirt, I remember his face when he said it and I remember the sincerity in his eyes. I don't think I will ever forget that moment because I felt empowered! My perspective of who I was changed when he offered me a new way to think of myself.
Experiencing love differently doesn't just mean looking for love in all the wrong places. Sometimes it means the young lady becomes completely shut off to love. She wants no parts of "love" because the version of love she witnessed wasn't authentic. Deep down inside she knows that this can't be what love is, but she is unsure how to find the real thing or whether it even exists. She shuts love out because it is a painful reminder that there is a void she isn't sure how to fill.
The question becomes: how do we help fatherless daughters? We build strong connections! We encourage them to explore those feelings of abandonment, insecurity and vulnerability. I can't tell you how many times I hear parents say they know their child is experiencing XYZ, but not allowing the child the opportunity and the time to fully explore those feelings. This in no way shape or form takes away from single mothers who encourage their daughters. This does not doom your daughter to a life of hell. As a mother (or mother figure), you can still raise a strong, beautiful and brave daughter! When you see patterns of negative behaviors, get her the help that she needs. Support her through her worst days! Listen to her! Be her biggest advocate! Most importantly be authentic in your connections, experiences and time with her!
Do you know a teen girl struggling to navigate through adolescence? Does she experience frequent conflict in the school + home environments? Ready to find a solution?
Check out our new group #SPARK!