If being a parent is hard work, being a single parent is at least twice as hard. Single parents navigate the beautiful and frustrating realm of parenthood every day without the luxury of a partner to help with the carpools, discuss new phases of childhood, and brainstorm better ways to handle situations. Every parent faces his or her own struggles, but today we’d like to take a look specifically at the roles single dads take in the lives of their daughters. Not only are you her parent, but you’re her role model for how every man should treat her from now until the end of her days. As awkward as talking her through puberty is for you—and for her—it’s important to get it right to ensure that she is able to have confidence in herself as a woman and her ability to care for, and protect, her body. Though there are many areas where you may feel ill-equipped to help her understand her changing body, there’s one area in particular that you should feel well-prepared for by the time your daughter reaches puberty: Teaching her how to shave.
For many years, the long-standing tradition has been that men teach their sons to shave their faces as a traditional bonding experience. Believe it or not, teaching your daughter to shave isn’t much different from teaching your son to shave. This guide will help you navigate the waters of teaching her how to shave with minimal awkwardness.
Start with What You Know
Though the locations where you and your daughter shave differ, at the end of the day, hair is hair. By starting with what’s most familiar to you, you’ll be able to give her good advice on shaving techniques. Let her watch you shaving your face. Show her how you prepare and lather your skin and teach her the difference between going with the grain of hair versus against the grain of the hair. Purchase a high-quality safety razor for her and explain to her why you prefer these razors versus cheaper disposable varieties. These lessons are just as valuable for your young daughter as they would be for your young son and will help her develop her skill with a razor.
Just as some men choose to have long beards, some choose to have short beards, and some choose to have no beards at all, so too do women have choices about how they maintain their bodies. Although you don’t have to get into a lot of detail here, you should explain to your daughter that whether or not she shaves and how often is up to her.
Many women, when first teaching their daughters to shave, will encourage them to keep their armpits and at least their lower legs well-maintained as these are the areas most often seen by others. Shaving the upper legs may be more important to young women in the summer when they’re wearing shorter shorts or bathing suits. These are all choices your daughter has about her body and how she wants to take care of it, and it’s important to present it to her as such.
Everyone Gets Hurt
Have you ever cut yourself shaving? Almost everyone gets nicks and cuts from time to time, and in the early years when you’re first developing your technique, this happens more often. The same is true for women, but the difference is that the areas they’re shaving all tend to be quite sensitive. Prepare your daughter for this ahead of time by ensuring she knows what to do if she cuts herself and how to take care of it. You may even want to purchase an alum stick for her that she can use if necessary. Make sure you also discuss with her what she should do if she has a particularly bad cut, and help her feel comfortable coming to you if she thinks the cut may need more care than she can provide on her own.
Being a single dad is rough, and puberty is a hard time to get your daughter through. With these three easy steps, however, you should feel like a pro in teaching your daughter how to shave. Check this stressor off your list!