Daddy’s Little Girl — Raising a Princess When Dad Opts Not To

Selena Cochran
3 min readMay 29, 2017

Warning: if you’re expecting an all-men-are-dogs or male bashing type of post, I regretfully inform you that you have come to the wrong place. Now, let’s get to the matter at hand shall we?

It’s no secret that I’m a solo parent of a tween daughter (and a teen son). Having been raised by my dad, I grew up believing a few things: 1) men provide for their families, 2) men protect their families and 3) little girls are princesses’ because we’re the apple of our Daddy’s eye.

When it became apparent that my children’s father would willingly opt out of helping to raise our children, it left me at an empass and with questions about raising my daughter. Can a little girl still be Daddy’s princess, even though her Dad isn’t around? Can she grow up to have a healthy esteem or have healthy relationships with boys and eventually men?

These are NOT easy questions with clear cut answers. There are no cookie-cutter solutions and there definitely isn’t a Little Princess playbook on how to raise a princess without her father. Instead, the answer evolved (and continues to evolve) through prayer, honest reflection and a willingness to request and receive.

  • Prayer — it is IMPOSSIBLE to know what a person needs unless you consult the maker of that person. There will be times when your head knowledge, book knowledge, and positive affirmations will run up against something it cannot handle, fix or otherwise change. This is why there’s prayer. Looking to yourself for answers is like looking to the blind to lead the blind. We are imperfect, flawed and we all have issues! Yes, that applies to you too! Prayer is imperative because it creates an atomosphere of humility and expectation. I had to admit that I didn’t have the answer on how to instill a Daddy’s Little Princess mentality into my daughter. But once, I admitted that; I expected to have an answer to the situation…and I got one.
  • Honest reflection — I had to admit: I did not like being a solo parent. I did not like being in this predicament. I did not like having to bear the emotional strain and burden that ensues when one parent abandons a family–financially and physically. It was DRAINING and I was sick of it! I blamed God and I let him know it! But once, I was honest with how I really felt, it freed me to release the offense and forgive the offender. With the chains of rejection and abandonment gone, I was able to see beyond Selena’s world of pain and focus on the issue at hand: raising my children so that the absence of their dad, didn’t cripple them emotionally or mentally.
  • Request and Receive — it’s funny how pride likes to make an appearance when you’re moving in the right direction. Would I truly reach out to the men in my life–family and friends–to enlist their help to circumvent my children’s view of how men behave? Would I entrust my children to my church family to instill and reinforce the fact that not all men shirk their responsibilities? Would I allow the people who truly love my children to shower them with gifts and words of encouragement ? Oh yes I would!It was amazing how many men I worked with and knew stepped up and proved to my daughter that she truly is a Little Princess. Their actions proved that although her father couldn’t recognize how beautiful, intelligent and remarkable she was, they–these wonderful men friends of mine–could and honored her for that!

Does the Princess still have a place in her heart for her dad? Of course. Children naturally want the love and approval of their parents, especially their fathers. This will never change. But she sees and recognizes the difference between her biological father and the many father figures she has now. She is a princess and regardless of who stays or who goes, she understands that nothing can change that!

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Selena Cochran

Poet. Orator. Encourager. Founder of where words hug, heal, empower and encourage.