Where it all began
It’s hard to separate how I see things now as an adult, and what I felt as a teenage daughter, but I’ll try.
As Dad mentioned in his story, we started going to see the ballet or theatre together once or twice a year and that was a really good way of setting aside quality time to spend together. I guess every relationship is different, and for no particular reason, in my teenage years Dad and I weren’t particularly close.
As he mentioned, he’s not the best at sharing his emotions and he’s not always the biggest talker, so I guess we didn’t engage in those ways very well. But the times we did go out gave us a good chance to talk and they were fun and special.
How our relationship grew
As I think back about my relationship with Dad, I think something that was really great is that he taught me to drive. We spent over 50 hours together in a 12 month period and that was pretty significant!
I really appreciated him taking the time to teach me, and he was good at it. It was a way that we could connect on his level, and another reason to spend time together. I really did like that Dad was willing to help me with the things that he was good at (being handy and practical), and that has continued on throughout my life. He has always been willing to use his gifts and abilities to help me out, and I really value his generosity in that way.
Making the effort
I think a big gift that any Dad can give his teenage daughter is a willingness to want to be part of her life.
Showing that you want to set aside time to love or help your child is key. I liked that my Dad made the effort to do something that I enjoyed, and I also liked that he gave his time to help me out or include me in things that he was good at.
These patterns that we set up in my teenage years have continued on into adulthood and I think they have helped to maintain our relationship.
Jessica Sowden is a social worker and Youthworks College graduate. She grew up in the south-west of Sydney, but now resides in the Inner West. Jessica attends St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway.