334 of 358 people found the following review helpful
As the father of three daughters (and three sons), I had a strong reaction to this book. It is terrific in the way it guides and urges fathers to be active and involved in the lives of their daughters. It doesn't provide a list of detailed actions you must take to have a successful relationship or a healthy child. Instead, it provides ten needs that can best be met by you as her father as she grows into a wonderful woman and makes her own way in the world.
When a father realizes the way her relationship with him and his with her defines so much of how she will define the male-female world in her life, it gives one pause. Daughters need heroes; she learns a lot about love from her father, she can learn important qualities such as humility, faith in God, and standing up for herself. How a father protects and defends her has a big impact on her self-image. The way a father demonstrates practicality and tenacity can provide a great example when hard times inevitably come. And he should be the kind of man he would like his daughter to marry.
Above all, he needs to help her get connected and stay connected with life. Never let her drift into a shell and withdraw from the world. This can't be done by command. It is a participatory experience that requires the father as much as the mother.
This is a fine book with lots of good anecdotes and examples. A great read for anyone still raising daughters and a terrific gift (if given the right way) to a new father of a little girl.
150 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2007
The more you know; the more you know you don't know.
This is a powerful book for fathers who are already great Dads... It will validate who you are and encourage you to keep doing what you are doing. It will help forge your mind around your absolute responsibilities as the father of a girl and young lady. It will remind you that baby girls, young ladies, and women have only ONE Daddy.
I have read other father/daughter books, including Dr. Leman's book (which I also recommend in another Amazon review). Like all advice, one must temper the input from outside sources. Dr. Leman and Dr. Meeker's books, however, are treasures that you can simply gorge yourself on... without regard to having to sift the psychobabble and tenuous opinions with little research and/or validity.
Dr. Meeker's book, in particular, is superlative from the standpoint of a no-holds barred, in-your-face reality check of the awesome responsibilities associated with being your daughter's Daddy. Whereas Dr. Leman's book was more of a semi-autobiographical and quasi-emotional journey of the Daddy-daughter relationship, Dr. Meeker's book is much more robust, profound, and, in some case, quantitatively advanced.
Best of all, though, Dr. Meeker is a daughter; a former girl; a woman; and a doctor. She has lived the life of a Daddy's girl (not the spoiled type - but, rather, the type who can look back upon her youthful Daddy interactions with fond appreciation). She has also lived the life of a doctor who has talked with, counseled, and commiserated with many, many girls and young ladies... THIS is an insight worth a King's ransom.
This book is very, very special. If you want to understand the touchy-feely side of how a Daddy affects his daughter's life, buy Dr. Leman's book. If you want to cover the full gamut of your superlative responsibility as a Daddy; if you want to delve deep into your daughter's eyes and see what she sees, wants, and needs... buy THIS book.
By the way, I HIGHLY recommend giving this book to both genders, as well as any other adult male who has daughters.
236 of 263 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2007
I have a three-year-old daughter and thought this would be a good Doctor's guide about raising a daughter. I found it to be interesting and Dr. Meeker makes some geniune points about the psychological make-up of young women and girls (although she is Family M.D. and not a Psychiatrist or Psychologist).
Some of the end tends to get a little preachy about God and the like, which you see coming over the horizon about midway through the book. Nevertheless, if there's one thing we know about people who are religious and those who are not, it's unlikely that a child-rearing book is going to convert you one way or the other; so, if you don't agree, that section won't kill you. I'm living proof.
In my opinion, this is an enjoyable book with some very relatable anecdotes and a lot of food for thought about the oversexualized nature of pop culture and the dangers facing our daughters every day.
As a father who tends to see things left of center in most cases, when it comes to youth (especially our daughters), I couldn't agree more.
66 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2007
I was dumbfounded when I read (the few) negative reviews of this book. It's unbelievable what some people will delude themselves into believing when the truth doesn't fit their agenda. If you're the kind of parent that thinks it's ok to let your 15 year old daughter's boyfriend spend the night with her in her room in your house "because it's safer and at least you know where they are", this book IS NOT for you. You have already made your (and her) bed and you will both have to lie in it and live with the consequences for the rest of your lives.
However, if you cherish and value your daughter's innocence, positive attitude (that they are *all* born with until the world crushes it from them), love of life and bright, happy, healthy smile, this book IS for you. If you want her to grow up emotionally healthy and able to face the pressures that our parents never knew and therefore didn't know how to equip *us* to deal with, read this book, it will tell you how.
This book will give mothers and fathers alike a crystal clear understanding of the emotional consequences (forget the medical consequences) of having sex too early and with too many partners and how to help your daughter stave off pressure. You can ignore and deny the consequences but that will not change the feelings of worthlessnes and yes, downright depression, that your daughter will feel if you, her parents, do not protect her from the onslaught that is our sexually charged society made up of hormonal teen (and pre-teen) boys who believe it is their right to take your daughter's innocence and your daughter's female friends that will tease her and call her a prude and a geek if she doesn't "give it up" to the guy she's been "dating" for a month.
I am a mom and this book taught me so much about my precious girls and how to be a better mom. I taught me so much about my awesome husband and enabled me to understand and appreciate the traits about him that make him so valuable to our girls' healthy development. Things that I sometimes used to get annoyed and angry about that he would do in dealing with issues I now understand and even appreciate. I understand how he deals with things differently from me and why it is not only good but invaluable.
Lastly, it taught me so much about myself. Burdens have been lifted from me that I have carried for years because, not only do I now understand the things I went through as a teen and preteen, but I am now equipped to help my daughter avoid the mental anguish that I experienced (and am still experiencing, so some extent). My parents were great, but our society changed so much and so fast from when they were kids in the 40's and 50's that they had absolutely no clue what they had to equip me with and protect me from, much less how to do it.
If you are a parent (mother OR father) that cares desperately for your daughter and wants to keep her safe, healthy and happy - emotionally and physically - I think you would be hard-pressed to find a better book than this to help you reach those goals.
As for those that think this book is "old-fashioned", I ask you, did we have the problems with teen pregnancy, skyrocketting STD's and teen suicide in the "old-fashion" days? These are the fruits of our "progress".
Sorry this was so long, but this book has had a profound impact on me.
116 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2006
My husband and I label this book as a "must read" for any daddy raising a daugther! We never realized the impact a father has on setting the course for his daughter's life until reading this book. It heightens the motivation to be that special man in your daughter's eyes. The author had a wonderful way of touching our hearts and opening our eyes to the role played by the father.
85 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2007
Every father should read this book, not only once, but every year. I have recommended this book to everybody I know with a daughter, and everybody has thanked me for the referral. My children are 3 years old and younger, and I learned a ton. Friends with older children and teenagers told me that everything Dr. Meeker said in the book has come true for their kids as well, once they start paying attention to her advice, following her recommendations, and paying attention to our daughters responses to our actions. Awareness is key, as the book points out.
I think this book gets 6 stars, not only because it's well written, but because of how it changed my life. I think I'm a better person and will be a better father for reading this book. How do you put a value to such knowledge?
Don't think twice, just buy this book. Every chapter is a gem. Fatherhood is underestimated and nobody seems to talk about how important it is. Is it not a manly thing to talk about how important it is to raise and protect your daughter? Look at fatherhood in this way - it is the ONLY job that only YOU can do! You are your daughter's protector and according to the book, her savior. Put your ego aside and admit that no matter what your job, career or profession is, someobody else can do exactly what you do or even better. If you died tomorrow you would be replaced in no time in the workplace. But what about your role in your family, and as a father? That will be a permanent loss. NOBODY can be the father to your daughter, however, except you, so why not read about how to do it right or how to do it better?
Every man in the world will try to hit on, sleep with, or get something from our daughters except us fathers. We're the only men who our little girls may ever be able to truly rely on, that is, if you do what this book tells you to do. Just being a father by title isn't enough! You need to follow the advice from this book, otherwise you will be just another man in the world disappointing their daughters. As the book points out, you can actually do tremendous harm to your daughter if you don't follow the recommendations in this book. That puts a great responsibility on our role. As a professional, I've read hundreds of books and articles about how to do my job, which isn't nearly as important as being a father to my daughters. So, why not start reading about our real "most important job?"
I know this review is a bit over the top, so I disclose that I have no relationship to the author or to the publisher and have nothing to gain for praising the book. I just want every father to be the best that they can be, and that will make every daughter better prepared for the world. I almost never write reviews, but this book is so amazing that I felt I owed it to us fathers out there and to our daughters, hoping to get at least one other person to buy the book.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2014
I’ll start this review off charitably and finish with criticism. From the title of my review and my two out of five star rating I’m sure you know where this review is ultimately headed but I do think there are some qualities displayed and I don’t want to lose sight of them.
There are some great quotes that I think by themselves are very useful and might be worth the price of the book alone. For instance,
“Most of you out there are good men as well, but you are good men who have been derided by a culture that does not care for you, that, in terms of the family, has ridiculed your authority, denied your importance, and tried to fill you with confusion about your role. “
I’ve often noticed this deriding message in popular TV media and even among some friends and it’s nice to see this called out as a mistake and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one noticing this as a problem in our culture.
“Your daughter doesn’t want to see you as an equal. She wants you to be her hero, someone who is wiser and steadier and stronger than she is.”
That is great, I agree and I think it’s a great reminder when times get challenging.
"... you, the most important man in her life, obviously like being with her, she will feel more attractive. She’ll think that boys who don’t want to be with her have a problem (because you’re smarter and more mature than they are."
I love this, it clearly states the impact you have on your daughters view of men in her future. Along these lines there is a great sequence I didn’t capture in quotes about how if a suitor honks his horn expecting to avoid meeting you and expecting your daughter to just come running out of the house to start a date, you should realize the massive failing on the part of the suitor to respect your daughter and you.
Beyond the three quotes there is additional value in the books raising awareness of HPV and other STD’s that don’t get as much mind share and the fact that condoms are less effective at addressing HPV and different strains of herpes. Also the discussions relating to eating disorders were helpful for someone clueless about such things.
The major issue here is not that the author is religious and it’s not that she merely presents religious topics in a book about raising a child. If that were the extent of the problem I would have simply left those chapters alone and figured “Meh, it’s not for me, I get that some people care, what ev” and moved on. However, that is not what the author is presenting. The very first sentence of chapter 8 is
"Your daughter needs God. And she wants you to be the one to show her who He is, what He is like, and what He thinks about her." pg 177.
This is strong language. In the full context of this book “needs” here should be interpreted as, if you don’t believe in God and you don’t introduce your daughter to God you are not strong and your daughter will not be strong and you have a massive problem. Lets now look at what kind of arguments she uses to convince the reader why you have a problem if you don’t believe in God or practice religion.
" Religion is protective for kids. Studies on adolescents reproduce this fact with extraordinary consistency." pg 178.
The author follows this up with a whole bunch of statistics on various risk factors from drugs to sex to violence and so on, all showing the statistical benefits of practicing religion. This is a big departure from the old arguments I remember growing up with. My least favorite being “You will burn in hell if you don’t believe in God.”. It’s also a departure from the somewhat plausible arguments from antiquity (St. Thomas Aquinas). This new kind of argument (which I’m sure this author didn’t originate) is very pragmatic. It’s showing the benefits like it’s a choice between cruise liner packages, ignoring the larger epistemological issues, namely what is your standard of knowledge? Should the “onus of proof” principle be used at all? I guess not, after all if you just follow these religious steps you will get the goodies.
The author continues with fallacies, lets follow along.
" Now, imagine you are walking out of her room. Could you turn around and look at her and believe that the sum of her existence rests in a mass of cells. " pg. 181.
We have two fallacies here. Prior to this quote she sets up a rosy religious alternative and compares it with this bland “mass of cells”. That is one, -neglected aspect- combined with two, -fallacy of composition-. Maybe I’m exaggerating?
"... a rank secularist is obliged to view his daughter. She is nothing more than a genetic product of his and her mother’s DNA. " pg. 181
Just to finish my rant on chapter 8, we have this gem which just further complicates things.
"When I say your daughter needs God, I am being specific to the Judeo-Christian tradition" pg. 180
I could say more but I think the horse is beaten. One last quote before we turn to some more horrific quotes in Chapter 4.
" In other words, to be a good father is to be a good instructor about God. " pg 190
Chapter 4 Humility
"But if you teach your daughter that improving her talent, intellect, or beauty will increase her self-esteem, you’re setting her up for a terrible lesson" pg. 80
The lesson I intend to teach is not that you should feel guilty about your talent or intellect because it differentiates you or that you should lord over others with your talents. I will be teaching something similar to Aristotle’s view that “Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues;” see Nocomachean Ethics book 4.
The author is fearful of pride. She thinks it leads to bullying.
"Humility, however, prevents bullying and being bullied" pg. 82
She is convinced that developing skills leads to differences and differences lead to prejudice and judgment. I say judge and be prepared to be judged.
"The paradox is that happiness is truly found only when it is routinely denied" pg. 86
It is truly a paradox, yes indeed because ethics is not this authors strength. This and other quotes indicate that the author has conflated the over 2300 year study of western ethics with modern Christian ethics. This is a grave mistake. There are other ethical systems and contrary to popular belief they aren't all crazy.
Parenting books for me provide limited value in themselves. Primarily they are a chance to spend sometime considering your relationship with your kids. The concrete content of the books is rarely useful. The opportunity to deliberately think about your child and yourself is the value.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2006
Dr. Meg Meeker has written an important book for fathers in the 21st century. I purchased this book to pass on to a young father that I know and I'm hopeful his family will benefit from it.
As a father of two daughters, I worked hard to perfect the "10 secrets every father should know" that Dr. Meeker writes about in her book. Fathers, it is crucial you understand how important you are to your daughter. Dr. Meeker points out that you are her hero and her first love.
Dr. Meeker says, "Your daughter looks to you for guidance, whether the issue is what instrument or sport to play, what college to attend, or what to do about sex, drinking, and drugs. If she feels close to you, she's much more likely to make good decisions. If she doesn't feel close to you, all bets are off."
I encourage all fathers of daughters to read this book. If you aren't a father of a daughter then buy a copy for someone who is!
124 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2013
Alice Miller said "I have never known a patient to portray his parents more negatively than he actually experienced them in childhood but always more positively--because idealization of his parents was essential for his survival". I'm sure all of us are familiar with this repression of own hurt - how often do you hear statements ranging from "well, I turned out all right" to "that beating was really good for me"?
Reading this made me think that this book is a testament to the author's denial of her own past hurts. I'm glad that she found a constructive (if alarmist and conservative) framing of her childhood (no sarcasm); a childhood seemingly spent trying (but failing) to please a withdrawn, antisocial, authoritarian father who had little insight into her being and no acceptance of her self. I was struck, for example, at how she describes her father aggressively enforcing curfew while she was visiting her parental home *at the age of 22*, or how he would publicly humiliate her by removing her from parties, etc. Her father sure wasn't one to trust his daughter, despite giving her the upbringing she now promotes. The striking thing is that she describes his actions as heroic, or wonderful. Another example: she is prescriptive about how fathers should communicate with their daughters, but her personal examples don't include direct communication with her father - rather, overheard snippets as he spoke to his friends over the phone, etc.
Young adults who have been raised in a compassionate environment where they learn to internalise morality don't need to outsource their responsibility to a domineering father(-figure); they don't NEED to be "rescued" from parties, nor do they need someone to "put their foot down" or similar - they had lots of great examples of good behaviour that they can draw on.
The problem I have with the book is that Meeker basically took her past as the one great path to raise daughters. I understand the defense mechanism inherent in this, but I cannot recommend another how-to guide on how to be an authoritarian I'm-the-head-of-the-household kind of father. Meeker says "true masculinity is the moral exercise of authority" - I think society gives us enough info on how to be that guy already, and this book might be a handy excuse when it doesn't work out, but it teaches nothing new.
It's another cartoonish cookie-cutter depiction of masculinity that confuses strength and authority, that tries to blur the destinction between being inflexible when feeling threatened and "taking a stand", a book that attempts to reinforce the exact patriarchal values that created the toxic society that Meeker derides.
The book is also extremely repetitive, it's heavily spiced with conservative fundamentalist christian dogma, and extremely afraid. Sex (a topic Meeker is kinda stuck on) is super-duper dangerous, and she has a wide array of made-up ideas about why it is scary. All of society is dangerously warped and has a laser-like focus on corrupting all its daughters. The world is a very bad place. Dads are under attack. Masculinity is confused. Daughters are freaking out. A lack of dad's strict authority leads to eating disorders, somehow. Marriage is being destroyed by outside forces. Family values are gone. Etc, etc, ad nauseam. For example, as early as page 11 Meeker quotes an example of how bad things are nowadays: schools not only have sexual education curricula (shocking!), but they say terrible, terrible things like "some men and women are homosexual".
As I said: ironic that Meeker never makes the link between the chaos she feels is out there and the fact that the causes of said chaos are centered around the exact values she espouses.
As a father of a daughter, I hope to not infect her with this "evil, dangerous, threatening world to be shunned" anxiety. Part of my job will be to show how the world can be made safe. How no-one was born evil. I hope to give my kids enough of a moral compass that they can negotiate the world through good decisions, not through me strong-arming them into a stunted adulthood. I hope to teach and show them that they are enough, that the world is richer just because they exist; not teach them that they are barely conscious instinctive animals hell-bent on self destructive behaviour that is only kept at bay by my god-given male authority. I hope they feel that someone deeply understands their inner world; I don't want to give them a cheap form of "connecting with my daughters". Instead of "because I say so" I hope to be an example; to consciously work towards the absence of hypocrisy. Genuine, honest, human warmth and love before dogma and one-dimensional authority figures.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2007
I think this book should be required reading for fathers (future and current). Dr. Meeker doesn't pull any punches, nor does she cut any corners when describing what daughters need: namely, a Dad who is involved at every stage in every way, and at every turn in their lives. There is much technical data to help support her arguments, and, besides being a woman (i.e. a daughter) she is a M.D. There is much to be mined from this book, and I can't recommend it highly enough.