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Single Parenting Tips: Raising a Daughter

When raising a daughter by yourself, don't try to do everything on your own. Seek trusted advice and help -- your daughter will be better off for it.
A mom and daughter spend quality time together over a book.

Parenting by yourself isn't an easy task, as you already know. In addition to being the sole breadwinner and provider, you're playing the role of mom and dad for your daughter. You're responsible for all the shopping, cooking and cleaning, teaching, discipline, parent-teacher conferences, homework, play dates and so much more. The good news is that you can raise a perfectly well-balanced little girl into an emotionally healthy woman all on your own, even if you wouldn't have chosen it to be that way.

It's true that studies repeatedly show kids need both a mom and a dad in a perfect world, but don't be discouraged. Whether through divorce, death or another situation, your daughter has just you. That doesn't mean she's at a disadvantage, though. It just means that you need to look outside of yourself for some help when necessary. Don't be afraid to call friends, relatives and even the parents of your daughter's friends if you have a pressing question or are stumped by something that comes up. Your daughter will be better off for having a "community" around her.

If You're the Dad

When you're the Dad parenting a little girl by yourself, there are some special considerations to think about. A little girl's emotional makeup is not the same as yours, and it's not the same as a boy's, either. Because of that she may feel like you don't understand a lot of what she's going through at times. As the parent of a little girl, start to develop some female relationships with women you think your daughter would feel comfortable talking to about what she's going through. A grandmother, aunts, sisters or even trusted older cousins would be willing to help. You can also look to a female teacher, someone from church, a trusted neighbor or the mother of your daughter's closest friends to fulfill this support role.

Don't look at it as a failure if your daughter doesn't feel comfortable talking to you about certain feelings. There's a natural part of her that will be and should be drawn to other women. If she doesn't have a mother of her own, she will need close and trusted female relationships to help guide her, give her advice and teach her things that women need to know, from a woman's perspective.

If You're the Mom

Parenting a daughter may seem like it would be easier if you're the mother and in some ways it will be, but in others it will be challenging. Girls need a "father figure" in their lives for many reasons. A trusted father figure will teach your daughter how to relate to and interact with men in a healthy manner. He can teach her things that you may not be able to. Having positive learning experiences from a man will only benefit your daughter by having the camaraderie of a trusted man in her life.

When you're the mom, you and your daughter will likely have a very close bond as you parent her alone. Make sure to maintain your parental distance, however. Don't involve her in your grown-up issues or allow her to treat you as a friend before respecting you as a parent. Even if you've had a hard time in your relationships with men, continue to guide and give her advice about how to have a healthy relationship. She will need to rely on that if she doesn't have a man to show her how to navigate male-female relationships.

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