Now a single father and primary caregiver to his daughter, Jeff credits strong relationships with his mom and sister with preparing him to be a ‘girl dad’ and connect with his daughter on an emotional level. Still, navigating the early teenage years, or as Jeff calls them “blunder years”, has been a unique challenge. “You spend a decade raising this sweet little perfect angel, and then…” It can seem like overnight your daughter has disappeared. But that’s when it’s more important than ever to tune in and stay involved. A lot of dads struggle when the relationship changes here. Emotionally, it’s a difficult transition for any parent. As Jeff says, “Only my daughter can make me cry.”
But seeing the impact his own father had on his sister by walking out, Jeff has made it a point to give his own daughter everything she needs. To that end, Jeff intentionally “dates” his daughter––going out to eat every Thursday to find a new restaurant together, put the phones down, and just talk. Time spent together like this helps to build trust in the relationship. For the emotional needs he can’t meet, Jeff and his daughter talk to a therapist, sometimes together, sometimes apart, to discuss with a third party any issues in their relationship.
Jeff has led an adventurous life. He’s met and worked with great people. But raising a daughter, teaching her what a good man is, what respect looks like, and acting as a role model for her is undoubtedly his most fulfilling role yet.
Hear Jeff share more of his story on the official TBG Podcast.