What a Girl Wants
Why did you choose to do a book specifically about dads and daughters and not “sons” or “children”?
As a pediatrician, I have witnessed the magnanimity of the father-daughter relationship crystallize before my eyes. have watched them wrestle with the choking grip of eating disorders, heard them sob over their parents’ divorce, and asked them how life feels with and without stimulants to help them concentrate in school. As one who took an oath 23 years ago to care for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being of girls, have come to the realization that the very best way can do this is to help their fathers. Why? Because a father holds influence over a daughter’s heart unlike no other human being. Research confirms this, human intuition reveals it, and my experience as a mother of three grown daughters solidifies this truth to me. The problem is, most fathers haven’t been told this. They have been taught that they are unnecessary, stupid, “out of touch” with girls’ issues, and consequently, fathers - as a group - are suffering a serious crisis of self esteem.
Given the recent flurry of news stories on the spread of STD’s among teenagers, has it become more important than ever for fathers to become involved in their daughter’s lives? Explain.
Every girl in America over the age of six (when clothing styles change) is under sexual siege. We all experience the barrage of sexual messages streaming at our girls with an intensity that makes us feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and sick.
Every father in America must know some numbers. There are between 15-18 million new STDs every year in America and the majority occur in kids under 25. Forty percent of girls 13-18 will experience unwanted sex, because, they say, they don’t want to hurt their boyfriends’ feelings. Sweet girls are the ones who get hurt. One in 5 people over age 12 tests positive for genital herpes and over 10,000 kids every day in America contract a new STD.
But here’s the problem. Most young girls won’t believe that diseases affect them. Why? Because they haven’t fully cognitively developed. So, they must have help from those who have — their dads.
Because he is masculine, a father contributes more to the shaping of a healthy sexuality in a girl. Masculinity shapes femininity. A mother can help a daughter’s sexuality take form, but it is maleness which causes femaleness to emerge.
Second, daughters need to sense that they are worth protecting. No one offers this better (in her eyes) than her father. When a father grips a young man’s hand at the door — when he comes to pick up his daughter for a date — and looks him in the eye, the boy comes head to head with a man. When the boy shakes the girl’s mother’s hand, he is less likely to be intimidated.
Explain how marriage plays such an important role in allowing a father to be the best dad he can be to his daughters.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Fatherhood Initiative.
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