Good male role models are essential for girls without dads around

If you’re a divorced mother with a young daughter whose father is largely out of your lives, for whatever reason, you may be concerned about her growing up without a father figure. Certainly, many children who are raised by one parent or by two parents of the same gender grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. However, it’s generally best when kids can have positive male and female role models in their lives.

It’s up to single moms to ensure that their daughters find good role models to help fill the void left by a mostly or completely absent father. This could include uncles, grandfathers, teachers, coaches, pastors and your own male friends or significant other. Watching positive male role models helps girls learn how good men act and what they should expect from them as they get older.

As your daughter’s sole or primary custodial parent, it’s essential to help her build self-esteem and see that she surrounds herself with others who do that. This means keeping an eye on her friends. Do they encourage her to feel good about herself or criticize her appearance, weight and clothes? Parents can’t completely control who their kids spend time with, but you want your daughter to have friends who have the kind of boundaries you want your daughter to have — particularly with guys.

All girls, as they grow up, become concerned about body image. Some girls who don’t have dads in their lives can become overly consumed with their looks. It’s essential to emphasize your daughter’s other good qualities and talents. Encourage her to pursue activities in which she can excel and get positive reinforcement.

Let your daughter know that it’s fine to express her feelings about her father not being around without worrying about hurting you. Open communication is essential.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help from others in your situation. Find support groups (formal or informal) of moms raising daughters alone. You can learn from others’ experiences and help them by sharing yours. This is also a good way to help your daughter meet other girls who are feeling and experiencing the same things as she is. If you need some assistance finding a good support group or perhaps a therapist to help you and your daughter through these challenging years, your Arizona family law attorney can likely provide some recommendations.

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