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How can I fill in the place of a missing father figure in my daughter's life?

Q: I am a 36-year-old widow having a 12-year-old daughter. My husband died when my daughter was a month old. I had many ups and downs, which I dealt normally. Suddenly I feel that my daughter is missing a father figure in her life. She has been away from a male figure as I have been staying alone. I have also kept her away from my male friends, which has been a better way to deal with things. She has been a very good child, but I am not sure If I have been a good mother to her. I have been working all these years and have been busy in handling myself and my emotions. What best can I do for my daughter? What should I do, so that she doesn't become emotionally vulnerable at this age, especially teen age? I want to provide her with all the emotional comfort and would like to make her emotionally strong and independent. Is it right to do so or am I expecting too much from her?

A:You indeed seem to be dealing with a lot in your life and not only that, you are managing it well too. Its worth appreciation that you are so much concerned about the mental well being of your daughter. Adolescence is a very important stage of development which not only involves changes at the physical level but also at the mental and emotional level. It is a stage of confusion for most teenagers as they are unable to make sense of the ongoing changes in their body as well as the one regarding their role. Patience, understanding and communication are the three key words to deal with an adolescent. My advise to you would be to talk to your daughter and try to ascertain if she has concerns regarding the lack of father figure in her life. Adopt a more friendly approach towards her. This will help you to improve your communication with her. Give her certain responsibilities to be done by her independently and appreciate her for her efforts. Balance between parental control and giving independence needs to be exercised.

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