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One day you are going to look up and it’s going to hit you: your little girl is not your little girl anymore. It will surprise you. When did that happen? Hips, breasts, hormones, moods, boys. Studies show dad's start to back away in these years, but don't do it. She will never admit it though a part of her knows...she needs you more than ever.

The teen years, the best years of parenting….said no parent ever.


Both my girls had their first period with me. Alone. Single dad. Awkward. If there was a mom around, I would have headed for the gym. But I’m glad I didn’t. I learned a lot about what it’s like to be a woman in the world by being there for them when this started. We were on vacation and Elizabeth was 13 when I heard her crying from her bathroom... it didn't take long to figure it out.  Mom's on the ranch came to care for her and love her. But I was there too. 


She is pushing back against you and your rules as she grows into her own. She is supposed to be doing this. It’s normal.  It is part of the process of her becoming independent from you and moving into the world on her own. She’s not your little girl anymore. Good for her, hard for you.


She will make mistakes. They will be hard to watch. Help her learn from them. Show her the love never stops. 


It’s been a four-year journey since I found Elizabeth on the floor of her bathroom that morning. She’s better now. She still has struggles, but she is better. We talk about important things now, the real stories. It wasn’t my fault she attempted suicide, but why didn’t I know how desperate she was? I wasn’t listening closely enough. If she ever says, “Can we talk, Dad?” stop what you're doing.

But don’t talk. Listen. 

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