My advice.... call every night to say goodnight, just like you were there. Leave a message if she doesn’t pick up or text. Send text messages frequently. Ask questions about her life, have special nights where you and her only go do something special. Daddy/daughter date nights. If you are blending a family and you ask her input, take it. If you give her a choice on something in the family, take hers and make her feel special. Always keep her Daddy's little princess. I am not saying not to be firm and discipline her. Children want that even though you won’t hear that from their mouths.
Don’t be a Disney dad... set rules and consequences. Do it together actually. Give her input. She will know exactly what is expected of her and why. She will know the outcome if she breaks the rules also. It will help keep you bonded. Never give up being the parent. Discipline is most important. Recognize that as she grows, so will the consequences, so revisit them. There is plenty of reading out there to help you with that. You can utilize the internet and email or use programs like skype/yahoo/msn to cam with your daughter. You can chat face-to-face every single night or day just like you were with her.
Make special gestures only you and her share like a hand signal or special greeting made just for you and her. Have a special good night saying you and her share. If you are unable to say it to her, text it, email it, whatever... just always do it. No matter if she responds or not. You are the parent and it’s up to you to follow thru.
If she becomes lazy with things you and she do, discuss it without making her feel guilty. Just show her you have noticed and ask if she would like to change anything? Sometimes as she grows she may feel the need for change but won’t address it because she won’t want to hurt your feelings. Give her the option for change and keep the lines of communication open.
Find another person or way to vent your feelings... not her. Your role is crucial and you need to show her you are in control and everything is all right, while at the same time showing her you are human and have feelings also. Send cards in the mail, you don’t even have to write a lot...lol I know most men won’t want to. There are plenty of things you can find that don’t hardly cost anything you can send in the mail for her.
Go to her events, if you live out of town ask her to help you and have a friend video and maybe she can send it to you. Make the effort to fly down or take the drive to see her and her events. Go to parent teacher conferences or make the call to see how she is doing. Take the nights allowed to you to spend time with her and ask occasionally for extras :).
Share events in your life and make her also a part of things going on. Especially important things that will affect her as well. Example: My daughter was very upset when her father asked her how she felt about his proposal to his now new wife. Though she wasn’t very happy she said “okay Dad”, and with that he pulled out the ring. Now her words to me were... “Mom he asked how I felt but it really didn’t matter, he already bought the ring.”
If you are asking your daughter help or opinion on something, do so before making the decision. Maybe you'll need to clarify that ultimately the choice is yours, but her feelings are important to you and that’s why you are asking.
Do send her special gifts and take her out to purchase a special toy or outfit. Don’t try to buy her love, it won’t work. Take special trips if you can, and if not then plan special day events. When she is older she may wish to spend more time with friends, but give her that freedom without making her feel guilty for doing what kids do. They are supposed to want to be with their friends, and not their parents. Just make sure to mention how you want to spend some time this week if she can, and try to make a plan. Give her the space to grow, in your love.
No matter what, children/teens will get angry and frustrated. They will tell you to just stop and leave them alone, or in some cases there may be other reasons for their anger. No matter what she says, don’t leave them alone. She may say she doesn’t want you to call or be around her, but more than that she doesn’t want to think you don’t want to. You may feel like your efforts aren’t helping, but I can assure you the biggest mistake you can make is giving no effort at all. She will eventually come around. It takes time, and in some cases daughters are emotional and don’t have good control over their feelings. She may need to see your persistence for a period of time, before she will open up. One day she will recognize what’s going on and will hold you in high regard, as her hero for protecting her from all of the negativity. Maybe it’s already been a long time and you are thinking about what you can do now. Just get started as soon as you finish reading this. It is never too late to show your daughter how much you love and miss her.
All I wanted was to know and feel my Fathers love. Simply put, frequent phone calls and being there for me was all He needed to do. Today you have more options, use them and you will always have your little girl’s heart. ~ j.O.M. (Florida)