Recently, my eldest daughter had her heart broken. My phone rang on an ordinary afternoon and there she was, sobbing. "We broke up."
At the time, she was 350 miles away from me at college. This was her first real love, and it had come to an end. It caught me off-guard because they had just been together at home. What do I say?
There are many scenarios that can break a daughter's heart. These include friends fighting or friendships ending, not being selected for something they are passionate about and tragedy they aren't capable of processing like an adult. Dads must be ready for these difficult moments.
We have to offer substance and purposeful comfort. What does that look like? Here are four things I did to help my daughter get over her broken heart:
1. Let her vent. She needs to get out her emotions. That means you saying very little. Although it's painful to hear her cry, let her do so and tell her story. It's important later on to get the whole story, but for now, let them vent.
2. Reinforce your loyalty. You (Dad) will always be the man she compares others against. She must know, without doubt, that we are the rock that never moves. You are 100 percent on her side no matter what. This is very important to all people, but especially females. In whatever way you express yourself best, reinforce your loyalty to her.
3. Share her pain. If her heart is hurting, yours should be, too. A woman needs compassion and empathy long before she needs a lecture or fixing. When my daughter is in pain the first thing I make sure she understands is that she is not alone in it. I'm going to experience it with her.
4. Help her see the whole picture. After the first three steps have settled down, now you can do what comes naturally. Help her learn from it. But don't lecture or scold. Just help her unfold the entire picture and where things went wrong. Help her see the mistakes she might have made or warning signs. This will be extremely valuable down the road.
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