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It is extremely important to begin building a strong relationship with your daughter when she is young. If you do so, when those troubling teen years arrive, she will be much more likely to come to you with problems and seek – and take – your advice. However, it is never too late to begin. The following activities are suitable for any age and will appeal to you as well as your daughter.
Teach her to use tools
My daughters can do minor home repairs, change the oil on their cars, and will not be taken advantage of by plumbers, carpenters, and other repair professionals because their dad taught them how to use tools.
If your daughter is very young, she can be you “go fer” – the person who gets the tools and hands them to you. This is an ideal way for your daughter to learn the difference between a straight and cross-head screw driver, or a pipe or regular wrench. If your daughter is older, she can assist in home repairs and minor car maintenance.
If you don’t do your own work, take her with you and let her learn how to communicate with your auto maintenance professional and have her with you when home repairs need to be done by someone else, so she will be able to competently take care of herself when she is an adult.
This activity is good for both of you. If you are not already doing something to contribute to the lives of others, now is a good time to start. There are many options available depending on your skill set and the age of your daughter.
Chaperone your daughter’s school field trip. You may need to take time off from work, but this will be time well spent. You will get to observe your daughter’s behaviour with her peers, meet her friends, and get to know other parents and your daughter’s teacher. All of these relationships are important for your daughter and your future together. If she learns to trust you around her friends, you can continue to be involved in her life in a very important way that can prevent future behaviour and communication problems.
Volunteer to help with a community project such as Habitat for Humanity. There are many projects that need volunteer help – food kitchens, community gardens, nursing homes. If your daughter is old enough, discuss options together and then make a choice that you both like.
Any activity involving animals
It does not matter how old your daughter is she probably loves animals. There are many ways to build on this as you bond with your daughter.
For a very young child, a petting zoo can be fun. Make sure your daughter washes her hands after coming in contact with the animals, especially before eating. Your older daughter will enjoy the zoo or an aquarium. Check the Internet for places near you with animals.
There us one warning, however. Avoid situations where animals can be taken home or you will either end up with a disappointed daughter or your own zoo. I had the brilliant idea of visiting a local breeder of miniature horses and donkeys. My daughter was a teenager and I thought reasonable enough to accept the fact that we were not taking one home. Wrong! The only way I escaped was telling her she would have to save enough money for the animal plus six months of food. Her interest waned before the six months ended and she wanted some other item more. I tried the same thing with daughter number two and geese after she saw the movie “Fly Away Home.” Not a good idea. This one had more tenacity and saved for the required fencing, the geese, and six months of food!
With a little bit of creativity and investigating the options your community provides, you and your daughter can discover an activity that you will both enjoy and which will build a bond lasting into adulthood.