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Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter When She's Growing Up So Fast Paperback – May 13, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

These two titles strengthen the burgeoning girl-rearing genre. A psychologist and speaker on gender equity, Deak aims to give answers to the problems raised in Mary Pipher's classic Reviving Ophelia. Quite a claim but she does it. To handle struggles with body image, self-esteem, intellectual growth, peer pressure, and media messages, Deak offers a strong framework that includes concepts like Crucible Events (defining life episodes) and the Strudel Theory (building a life with layers). That latter concept comes into play with Deak's objection to the theme of Laura Stepp's recent Our Last Best Shot: that is, if parents lose touch with their daughter during adolescence, their relationship is over. Many levels of experience make our daughters who they are; parents are never done connecting with their daughters, says Deak. Furthermore, girls need to be connected to other girls, which can, in turn, conflict with their need to compete, succeed, and find happiness. Finally, Deak deals with the newest issues of girls as manipulators/pleasers. Hers is a thoughtful philosophy based on years of counseling, research, and experience. Kelly, executive director of the national advocacy group Dads and Daughters, shares his perspective on raising girls (he is the father of twins). Although initially he goes a little overboard with his claims of a father's impact on daughters, he ultimately delivers an effective message: fathers can take an active role in raising confident daughters. As Deak also points out in her book, however, dads may have a harder time with daughters than mothers have raising sons. The teen years are especially trying for dads because of sexual issues, and Kelly expertly shows readers how to deal with them. Rather than stamp out girls' libidos, he argues, parents must help daughters recognize them. In an age of boundaries and abuse, he delineates the differences between nourishing touch and physical abuse. Live-away dads are not forgotten either. He's also open to homosexuality and tries to teach daughters new ways of coping (e.g., allowing his daughters a checking account at age 12). Michael Gurian's The Wonder of Girls describes more fully the role of intimacy, biology, and brain chemistry in girls' lives; Kelly just wants dads to know how very influential they are. Both Girls and Dads are highly recommended for public libraries. Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Joe Kelly defines the landscape for fathers and daughters in the treacherous domain of America today. He also offers the testimony of other travelers, a map and a first aid kit to help families make it to safety. This book is an essential aid for the fathers of adolescent girls."
---Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

"Joe Kelly points the way for fathers to help raise empowered and healthy daughters---a longtime feminist goal. Dads and Daughters is must reading for men and women alike who want to change the world their daughters will inherit."
---Leslie R. Wolfe, Ph.D., president of the Center for Women Policy Studies

"Dads and Daughters should go on the required reading list of every one of us dads who want to raise healthy and strong daughters."
---David Walsh, Ph.D., President and Founder, National Institute on Media and the Family

"Dads and Daughters does what a good advice book should do: respect its readers while offering them real guidance and help. Joe Kelly knows it's tough to navigate the passage from girl to woman in our culture, and he knows that fathers can make a big difference in their daughters' lives. He is able to laugh at himself, to reveal his own struggles, and to empathize with the fathers he's addressing. But he holds his readers to a high standard because he knows how important fathers are. Dads and Daughters challenges and invites fathers to listen-to their daughters, of course, but also to each other. This is a book that will make fathers want to learn how to stay close to their daughters, and it is a book that will show them how."
---Susannah Sheffer, author of A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls

"I've been a big fan of Joe Kelly ever since I started receiving his Dads and Daughters newsletter across my computer screen. I've shared his organization's literature with the thousands of girls and their families in Girls on the Run. And now at last he has written a book that pulls so much of his message, his insight and his passion into one place. Dads and Daughters offers both practical advice AND a strong voice for the millions of dads out there who want to engage themselves in their daughter's lives and improve the dad and daughter bond."
---Molly Barker, Founder and CEO, Girls on the Run International, www.girlsontherun.org

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767908341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767908344
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Journalist, activist and father Joe Kelly co-founded Dads and Daughters (DADs), the first national advocacy nonprofit for fathers and daughters. DADs provides men the tools to be better fathers and advocates for our daughters. DADs also publishes the award-winning newsletter Daughters.
Kelly is a primary media source on fathering healthy daughters, appearing on NBC's Today Show, NPR's Talk of the Nation, CBS's Early Show, MSNBC, Lifetime, Fox News Channel and Voice of America, as well as in Time, People, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Parenting and dozens of other outlets. He has written for Parents and Mothering magazines, among others, and is an expert for Mothering.com.
Dr. Mary Pipher calls Kelly's best-selling book Dads and Daughters "an essential aid for the fathers of adolescent girls." It is based on his conversations with thousands of fathers across the country, more than a decade of speaking and writing on the subject, and 25 years experience as the father of twin daughters.
In 1993, Kelly and his wife Nancy Gruver founded the groundbreaking international publication, New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. Edited by girls 8 to 14 years old, New Moon is the only child-edited publication to win the prestigious Parent s Choice Foundation Gold Award multiple times. Gruver and Kelly won Parenting magazine's 1995 Parenting Achievement Award.
In 2004, Kelly was named the Women's Sports Foundations Title IX Father of the Year and won the national Eating Disorders Coalition s Activist of the Year award. In 2001, he was iParenting.com's Dad of the Year. He belongs to the National Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families, Center for Family Policy and Practice, and serves on the board of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
Kelly's leadership on girls' issues, fathering, and media activism puts him in wide contact with fathers, girls, families, teachers, and other professionals who work with girls. He speaks and teaches frequently on fathering, media and marketing's impact on children, and successful strategies for raising girls and boys. Kelly has spoken before the National Association of Independent Schools, National Association of Science and Technology Centers, American Association of University Women, National Eating Disorders Association, and dozens of other conferences. He also has testified before the Congressional Children's Caucus, President Bush s blue ribbon Title IX commission, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Kelly and Gruver live in Duluth, Minnesota. Their adult twin daughters, Mavis Gruver and Nia Kelly, live in California. A New Jersey native, Kelly, 51, is the author of the play This Horse of a Body of Mine, co-editor of four nonfiction books for girls, and was an award-winning journalist for Minnesota Public Radio. He has a BS in philosophy and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If this book ever achieves the popularity it so richly deserves, there is no doubt in my mind that it will be trashed by some groups in the U.S. society. If that level of acceptance is ever achieved remember to read it before you judge or accept someone elses judgement of it. This book will challenge you. It will force you to evaluate your place as a father, and your place in the world as it affects girls. As the author states in the Foreword, it may offend. It is not written from a Christian perspective and it is not written from Atheistic perspective. It is about exactly what the title states.
There are two things that are almost universally true for all fathers of daughters. 1.) We don't talk to anyone at all about our jobs as parents. 2.) We did not grow up as girls (Ok, this one is universally true.) What Joe Kelly does in Dads and Daughters is point out that these are two of several major hurdles we must accomplish to be good dads. Luckily, he also provides great information on how to overcome these hurdles.
Covering the first hurdle brings surprises. In his research, Joe interviewed dozens of fathers from all walks of life. In that research he found common themes. Themes that each of us as dads of daughters know to be true for us, but have no idea that there is another soul on the planet with the same concerns, the same desires, the same stories. He points to our lack of father to father communication and says, "here are some ways to fix that."
The second hurdle is obvious once stated but not so clear until then. We grew up as boys, and generally find girls as perplexing as we did when we were their age. That is a problem for a grown up boy given the task of raising a girl.
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By A Customer on May 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Joe Kelly has been in the trenches for 20 years as the father of twin girls and he brings great news: dads can experience unconditional love while raising strong, healthy daughters. His book is jammed with moving insights and concrete tools for being the best dad possible. I wish my father had read this book when I was young, but my husband will definitely have a copy on his nightstand from now on. And I'm betting he'll enjoy reading Kelly's clear, lively prose.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a powerful book. The anonymous reviewer from Lafayette, CA seems to have missed the point of the book; the author states clearly right at the start that he is not an academic, a therapist or a researcher. He bases his reflections on the voices of REAL dads and his own 20+ years experience as a father. As Kelly states, "fathering is more art than science." The anonymous reviewer from Lafayette (unintentionally?) reveals a major problem in material on the daughter-father relationship by referring us to a pamphlet about "parents." Such information is obviously valuable, but so is Dads and Daughters - finally a book by a father, filled with other fathers' voices, about this consistently neglected relationship. Kelly's book fills a glaring gap.
Dads and Daughters is a MUST read for any man with a daughter, and for any woman who ever had a father. It is robust proof of the power of fathers' words - a power that developmental psychology or other science just doesn't provide in the same way.
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Format: Hardcover
I'd also recommend it for daughters with dads, mom's with husbands, brothers with sisters, uncles, stepparents, and so on.... In a sentence, the book offers intelligent and thoughtful insights as well as practical suggestions on how to think about one's role as a parent and how to explore what a father can offer his daughter if he really sets his mind to the loving task of raising her.
The book's foundation is the author's inspiring vision of fatherhood. This vision involves the dad who might on Monday write a letter to a company protesting an ad that promotes unhealthy body images for girls. On Tuesday he patiently sits at the dining room table and listens to his daughter describe a problem, while limiting himself to facilitating her effort to solve or resolve it on her own. On Wednesday, he gets dirty with her playing soccer. On Thursday, they talk about boys and he shares, with honesty and openness the good and bad she can anticipate in her relationships. On Friday, he swallows the feeling of rejection when she's angry with him and won't even say why, and he ends up seeking advice from another dad he's friends with. On Saturday, his patience pays off and he accepts her invitation to help out in a volunteer activity she's organizing. And on Sunday he asks her to help in return, fixing a leak under the kitchen sink with him--making sure she learns how the plumbing works in the process.
Not every dad does all of this, but what a great world it would be if they did and this book can help more fathers assess themselves and turn more of their parenting potential into a reality.
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Format: Paperback
This book has some very good advice about knowing when to speak up and knowing when to be silent when your daughter is expressing herself. It is also frought with some very bad advice about allowing "experimentation" in your daughters life.

I was confused about how one section deals with teaching girls that their self worth is not tied up in their bodies, then giving dads the advice to allow a daughter to wear provocative clothing. I quote, "wearing sexy clothing is a normal adolescent behavior". Some daughters might be all the better for allowing boys to ogle them, but mine better keep the receipt.

I say no thank you to most of the advice given in this book. Dad isn't meant to be a passive listener and enabler. Sometimes, Dad is supposed to put his foot down and say that some things are unnacceptable.
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