From what you wrote, it is possible that your dad is having a hard time adjusting to his little girl suddenly becoming an attractive young woman. It’s not that he is attracted to you sexually. It’s that he doesn’t know what to do with his own reaction to a young female. His guy reaction is at odds with his father reaction. My guess is that he wasn’t laughing “at” you but that he was laughing nervously and with embarrassment because he didn’t know how to handle his own feelings. Many men go through this when their daughters hit the teen years. They have the self-control not to act on their feelings but the feelings still sometimes catch them by surprise. Most are very distressed to be having any feelings of attraction at all because they love their daughters and wouldn’t dream of hurting them.
To get through this phase smoothly, you both need to adjust your behavior. You can give your dad a break by remembering to be modest around him. You’re not a little girl any more. It’s time to be a bit more conscious of what you are wearing around the house. On his end, he needs to find ways to either lightheartedly ask you to cover up or to leave the situation when he is uncomfortable. If you have a good relationship with your mom, I encourage you to ask for her help. If you take as much care talking to her as you did in writing this letter, she will understand that you aren’t accusing your dad. She may have had the same experience growing up and may have some ideas for you both.
Most fathers and daughters make this adjustment fine. The dad comes to have pride in his smart, sensitive, and, yes, attractive young daughter. The daughter feels safe enough with her dad that it is no longer an issue.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on April 6, 2010.