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Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know Paperback – August 28, 2007
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From the Inside Flap
The most important person in a young girl’s life? Her father.
Teen health expert Dr. Meg Meeker has the data and clinical experience to prove it. After more than twenty years of counseling girls, she knows that fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for their daughters’ lives.
Now Dr. Meeker, author of the critically acclaimed Epidemic: How Teen Sex Is Killing Our Kids, shows you how to strengthen--or rebuild--your bond with your daughter, and how to use it to shape her life, and yours, for the better.
Directly challenging the feminist attack on traditional masculinity, Dr. Meeker demonstrates that the most important factor for girls growing up into confident, well-adjusted women is a strong father with conservative values. To have one, she shows, is the best protection against eating disorders, failure in school, STDs, unwed pregnancy, and drug or alcohol abuseand the best predictor of academic achievement, successful marriage, and a satisfying emotional life.
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters reveals:
- The essential characteristics and virtues of strong fathersand how to develop them
- How daughters take cues from their fathers on everything from drug use, drinking, smoking, and having sex, to self-esteem, moodiness, and seeking attention from boys
- Why girls want you to place restrictions on them (even though they’ll complain when you do)
- How to become a hero to your daughterand why she needs that more than anything
- The one mistake fathers make that is the primary cause of girls "hooking up"
- Why girls depend on the guidance of fathers through, and even beyond, their college years
- Recipe for disaster: the notion that girls "need to make their own decisions and mistakes"
- Why girls need Godand how your faith, or lack thereof, will influence her
- How to communicate with your daughterand how not to
- True stories of "prodigal daughters"and how their fathers helped bring them back
Dads, you are far more powerful than you think you are. Your daughters need the support that only fathers can provideand if you are willing to follow Dr. Meeker’s advice on how to guide your daughter, to stand between her and a toxic culture, your rewards will be unmatched.
About the Author
Meg Meeker, M.D., is the bestselling author of The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers; Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters; and Boys Should Be Boys. She has been a physician practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine, working with children and their parents, for more than thirty years. Dr. Meeker is the mother of four children and lives with her husband in northern Michigan.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Meeker is a practicing pediatrician and Clincial Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. She has written five other books on the raising of children – “Strong Mother, Strong Sons”, “Your Kids at Risk: How Teen Sex Threatens Our Sons and Daughters”, “Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons”, and “The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity”. She writes from an unabashedly Catholic perspective. Her books draw from her 20+ years of experience as a pediatrician and a counselor to young girls. She has seen the impact of absent parents, promiscuity, drugs and alcohol, and unhealthy friendships on children, their development, and subsequent happiness.
In “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters”, author Meeker outlines the importance of the father’s role in a daughter’s development and ultimate happiness; and she provides ten key “secrets” to guide fathers in navigating the path they must take for success.
Secret #1 - “You (the father) are the most important man in her (your daughter’s) life” – is the overarching theme throughout the book. What you do and don’t do has big, big impact on your daughter’s development, overall well-being, and her eventual happiness. When she is 25, she will mentally size her boyfriend her husband up against you; when she is 35 the number of children she has will be impacted by the life she had with you.” Fathers are critical to a daughter’s self-worth and growth - physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Nine other secrets every father should know follow. They are:
1. She needs a hero – Heroes save families. They meet the deepest needs of the human heart. They teach undiluted commitment and faithfulness.
2. You are her first love - Your daughter yearns to secure your love, and throughout her life she’ll need you to prove it. Every man who enters her life will be compared to you.
3. Teach her humility – Genuine humility is the starting point for every other virtue. Humility means having a proper perspective on ourselves, of seeing ourselves as we really are. It also means knowing that every person has equal worth.
4. Protect her, defend her (and use a shotgun if necessary) – Boundaries are a sign of love. The father is a far more effective protector of his daughter than anyone else in life. Teens are getting mixed messages from their schools, churches, and civic groups.
5. Pragmatism and grit: two of your greatest assets – Teach her to appreciate grit as nothing makes a heart melt like a man with courage and resolve. We admire men who are willing to risk their lives to help good triumph over evil and have the moral wit to distinguish between the two.
6. Be the man you want her to marry – Like physicians, see it, do it, teach it. She needs to see what a good man looks like, she has to know one: a model of masculinity; a man of integrity; a man who inspires trust and respect; a leader; committed to family; willing to sacrifice for them.
7. Teach her who God is - Your daughter needs God. You should be glad that she wants to believe in something larger, because you know all too well that many times you will fail her. And the evidence (provided by Meeker) says: religion is protective for kids.
8. Teach her how to fight – Reason, experience, and our moral compass help us decide what to do. It is your job to provide your daughter with a moral compass, to be the voice of reason when she talks about feelings, and to show her the power of will that allows you to live with the outcome of moral reasoning.
9. Keep her connected - Stay connected with your daughter and make her part of your everyday life. Have her help you with chores, or take her out to a theater, or go on a mission trip with her, but whatever you do, focus on her.
Meeker goes into great depth on each of the 10 secrets, providing supporting data and ample real life examples of prodigal daughters that are sure to resonate.
I was a single-parent, raising a son and daughter from ages 13 and 10 respectively. I wish this book was around when I took on the responsibility of being the sole parent of two wonderful children. I was not a perfect father but I did do a number of things right. I quit work to be available to both as we adjusted to a life without a mom. I spent time with both and also individually as we shared special events like a football game, a concert, the symphony, and special summer trips to Big Fork, Montana. My children are now doing the same for their children (my son has two and my daughter has five). They grew as did I.
Key take-aways of this book include the essential virtues of strong fathers; how a father’s modeling contributes or denigrates a daughter’s self-esteem; the importance of boundaries and how to enforce them; the biggest mistake a dad can make; the importance of faith; and how girls depend on their dad’s guidance well into adulthood.
We all know women whose father’s failed them. What will your daughter’s life say about you?
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.
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