Sunday, June 17, 2012

3 Reasons Daughters Need Their Fathers

father daughter 3 Reasons Daughters Need Their FathersWhy does a daughter need a good dad?

Fathers have a tremendous influence in their daughter's lives.  The research shows that daughters need their fathers and this influence determines a great deal of how the future will go.
There is something special about the father/daughter relationship.  I am the daddy of two very awesome little girls so I have firsthand experience and a keen appreciation for this subject.
I want my daughters to have the best start in life possible.  The responsibility I feel is weighty especially after I read the information below about how crucial a father's role really is.

The Reasons Daughters Need Their Fathers

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker, M.D.  Dr. Meeker is a pediatrician.  She has seen what a father's influence means in the lives of girls from the counseling she's done in her practice.  If you are a daddy of girls, then you need to read this book.  It should be mandatory for all fathers with daughters. I'm going to borrow some of Dr. Meeker's stuff today to help you see why fathers are so important to the future success and happiness of their daughters.
Here are three reasons daughters need their fathers:

1.  Your Daughter Needs Your Protection

Protection comes in many forms.  Of course, when girls are young, they need us to protect them physically.  However, as they grow up and venture out on their own, we can't always be right there with them.  But, we can still protect them by instilling in them confidence, wisdom and a sense that they are loved deeply by the most important man in their lives.  You see, whether you want to admit it or not, our culture can sometimes be a very toxic and dangerous place for young women.  Here are just a few of the disturbing statistics that Dr. Meeker cites in her book:
  • Over 40% of girls 14 to 17 years old engage in unwanted sex because they fear their boyfriends will get angry if they don't.  That's 4 out of 10!
  • Almost 12% of females will experience forced intercourse.
  • Over 35% of high school girls will have sad, hopeless feelings for longer than two weeks.
  • Over 11% of females attempt suicide.
Don't let your daughter become a statistic!  A strong father can dramatically improve his daughter's chances of avoiding these pitfalls and many others.  Daughters who feel a close connection with their dad have fewer suicide attempts, fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse and unhealthy weight.  Your daughter needs you to protect her from these threats.

2.  Your Daughter Needs to Know She Is Loved

A father's love is central to a daughter's sense of well-being.  A strong and loving father helps young girls avoid many of the mistakes that lead to the bigger problems in life.  According to Dr. Meeker:
  • A daughter's self-esteem is best predicted by her father's physical affection.
  • Girls with good fathers are less likely to flaunt themselves to seek male attention.
  • Girls with involved fathers wait longer to initiate sex and have lower rates of teen pregnancy.
  • 76% of teen girls said that their father influenced their decisions on whether they should become sexually active.
A father who sets boundaries and curfews and makes a point of meeting the boys his daughter dates, makes her feel more loved and valued.  As a result, this young woman will place more value on herself.  A girl who places more value on herself is less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as casual sex, binge-drinking and taking drugs.  So, even though she might not appear to like it on the outside, deep down inside, your daughter wants you to set boundaries and provide guidance.  This makes her feel that you care about her.

3.  Your Daughter Needs You to Be Involved

It is not enough for a father to just be present.  He must be actively involved. This requires spending time alone with your daughter on a regular basis.  Time that you initiate and devote to her alone.  You have to talk to her.  "One of the great myths that our society perpetuates is that teenagers need their space," says Dr. Meeker.
"Even in affluent families, girls become sexually active and pregnant earlier if they don't live with fathers, according to the largest and longest-term study on the problem," cited an article in USA Today.
You need to affirm your daughter verbally and often.  Tell her that you love her and that she is pretty, but don't stop there.  Praise her for other desirable qualities like intelligence, courage, loyalty, integrity, a sense of humor and generosity.  You want her to know that she's valued for much more than just her physical appearance.
Get involved in things that she likes.  This may be a little uncomfortable for some dads, but you've got to put all that aside and do what's best for your daughter.  She needs to know that she's important to you and that you're willing to engage with her on her terms. An involved dad that is affectionate and spends quality one-on-one time with his daughter is investing in her future.  This investment will pay off in big ways.

Be the Father Your Daughter Needs

I challenge the fathers out there to rise up be the kind of daddy that your daughter needs.  Her future depends on you.  There is nothing more important that you can be doing.  There is time for all the other stuff later, but your daughter needs you now.  Go be the father she needs.

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