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At MEDIAGIRLS, one of our goals for 2018 is to bring more men into the conversation of how to help girls know and own their self-worth, and harness the power of media for positive change. To that end, we asked our Youth Advisory Board, a group of strong-minded and thoughtful teen girls, to give us their single best piece of advice for dads and male guardians looking to stay close with their daughters.
Tip 1: Choose places WE like.
Take your daughters to go ice skating, or the mall, or whatever kinds of places they like going. That way your daughter will feel like she can connect with you more, and that you value what she enjoys as well. You should also try to spend a lot of one-on-one time with her, so she’ll get closer to you and feel more comfortable talking to you about herself and her life. — Amari
Tip 2: Ask for our advice sometimes.
Listen as much as you can. We often have the most insightful advice if you just ask. — Kakazi
Tip 3: Look for more casual opportunities to connect.
If you want to connect with us, show it; otherwise we won’t know, and it might never happen. It doesn’t have to be formal. Talk to us, ask us to play games, etc. If this isn’t working, try talking during a drive or walk; this can be an opportunity to really connect with each other. — Hannah
Tip 4: Find out about our interests.
Learn more about your daughter’s interests, and make an effort to talk to her about them and do the things she enjoys. Being kind to someone, and listening to what they have to say makes a huge impact too. Try to hear what we have to say, especially when it’s something hard, and be thoughtful about how you respond. — Claire
Tip 5: Don’t judge us for what we like.
BE EMPATHETIC. Even if you think you know better, even if you think the things your daughter cares about are silly or a waste of time, TRY PUTTING YOURSELF IN HER SHOES. Don’t make fun of her for liking the things she likes or doing the things she does. Try to really understand what’s going on in her mind before you do anything else. — Annie
Tip 6: Learn and support our dreams.
Find out your daughter’s passions, goals, hopes, and dreams are, and do everything you possibly can to support her as she reaches for her dreams. — Maisie
Tip 7: Tune in to the smaller stuff.
Listen and pay attention. When dads do not listen to their daughters, there is no way for them to connect. In order for people to connect, they must be able to relate to one another. Sometimes, relating to others can be difficult, especially with a large age gap. I think that if dads do not push for information from their daughters, but instead look for small clues and listen to them, then they will be much better at relating to them. — Olivia
Tip 8: Keep pushing for time together.
I would encourage dads to not give up on trying to spend quality time with their daughters. If it’s important to you, step up and say that it would mean a lot to you to have some bonding time. — Risa
Tip 9: Don’t show worry that we’re growing up.
Try not to voice the “you’re growing up so fast” mindset when talking about personal things with your daughter. Instead try to talk and relate to your daughter on a level where you’re not worried about them growing up, and can focus on the issue at hand. — Sasha
This piece was originally published on MEDIAGIRLS.ORG and is republished with permission. Michelle Cove is the Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS®, a nonprofit organization that teaches girls how to critique the way girls and women are portrayed in pop culture with an emphasis on creating empowering content.
She is also an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and author whose projects have been featured on numerous national platforms including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Katie Couric’s talk show “Katie,” “The Today Show,” The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Visit www.mediagirls.org to learn more.