My wife died and left me with a daughter to raise all by myself. In the beginning, close family members and friends suggested to me I let her maternal aunt raise her. I vehemently refused and objected to giving my daughter out to be raised by someone else. “Men don’t raise daughters’’ they said. I looked them dead in the eye and said: “well this man is going to raise his daughter”. Eventually, they had no choice than to let me keep her.
In the beginning, it was hard getting through to her. She wouldn’t talk to me about anything going on with her. She would occasionally lock herself in her room for hours without food or water. I became paranoid and second-guessed my decision to keep her with me. I spoke to female friends about my concern for my daughter’s well-being. They all had varied opinions on what I should do.
She had just hit puberty before her mother died and so it was important she knew all the changes her body was going through. Initially, I was tempted to invite her maternal aunt or any other close female relative to come have the “the talk” with her. I decided against letting others talk to her about her body because I saw talking to her myself as an opportunity to build a rock-solid relationship with her.
Guess What I did? I went out, bought every book I could find on female anatomy and puberty. I spent copious amounts of time going through each one page by page. It was tedious at first but I knew in the end it will be worth it. I knew she was inquisitive and may ask a lot of questions and so I didn’t leave any stone unturned. I read every single one of the books I bought. Furthermore, I went on the internet and did further research on things I didn’t understand. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to broach the subject with her without it seeming weird or awkward.
When I was finally ready to have the ‘talk’, I went to her favourite ice cream place and bought her favourite flavour. I sat with her on the couch and broached the subject. There was the occasional scream of dad masked in bashful smiles but, I met every single one of those reactions with a smile of my own and told her it was OK to talk about things like this. It wasn’t easy at first but eventual, as the conversation progressed we got comfortable.
It is interesting to note that this is a subject most men prefer to leave to their wives to handle. Fathers should be willing to participate in the upbringing of their daughters and not just their sons. You might find yourself in my situation someday. It is imperative that one is equipped with the right information on their fingertips. Talking to her about her body helped me build trust with my daughter. I reassured her I was open to any questions or advice she might need; even the ones on fashion.