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Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know Hardcover – August 30, 2006
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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
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Instead this book seemed to be a parroted set of traditional maxims, many of which actually harm girls more than help them. Some of the advice has value, but the author's failure to recognize or understand a concept of the "emotionally secure, compassionate-mentor father" is very troubling.
My advice to fathers based upon my own experience as a daughter (who was damaged by many of the maxims this author is promoting and had to spend a lot of my own hard-earned money and huge portions of my adult life recovering): be a real, loving, supportive, caring, compassionate and mentoring father, respect and support her developing autonomy, including her financial responsibility and earning power, be by her side and there for her as she takes on the challenges of life, treat her as equal in status to boys (and having the potential to become equal to you when she reaches adulthood), and don't abdicate your responsibility to religion or "God," particularly a male-dominated religion like Christianity. Validate her emotions, empathize with her. Allow her to be in her own body; do not objectify her. Don't make her your confidante of your problems (that's one reason you need a healthy relationship with her mother) or make her in your image. Interact and communicate with her and set reasonable boundaries; don't lecture her. Be kind and respectful to her mother, expect the same in her mother's treatment of you, and do your share of unpaid chores; don't designate certain chores as "female" work and competition/sports/earning money as "male" work. Engage and participate in family life. Assert yourself with the mother to get time alone with your daughter if needed. Take paternity leave; encourage and support other men in taking paternity leave and being there for their families.
Show her good female role models (hopefully you chose a mother for your children who is one herself?), who deal well as adults in the world, who take financial and other responsibility for themselves, and who understand healthy partnership with men and real nurturing of children, not women preoccupied with "God." If spirituality/religion is important to you, discuss with her spirituality that does not involve male domination and that allows her as much "inner light," connection with humanity, autonomy and recognition and personal power as a female as any male holds. Some of the teachings of Jesus are useful for this, but other non-male-dominated sources are very necessary as well.
Better quality books may be Kyle Pruett's "Fatherneed," John Badalement's "The Modern Dad's Dilemma," any of Stephan Poulter's books such as "Father Factor," or Jeremy Adam Smith's "Daddy Shift." Dan Kindlon's "Alpha Girls" is also an interesting look at how some girls are really thriving, in part due to better quality relationships with fathers that have become more prevalent in the last 10-20 years. I am afraid I haven't found a good book written by a woman on this subject but I imagine there is one out there.
Most important, if you have any issues at all about your own upbringing, get counseling or participate in support groups (there are also lots of great dad blogs like DaddyDialectic, RoleReboot, The Evolution of Dad, NYCDadsGroup, BookDads, DadRevolution, certain articles on The Good Men Project) to resolve these issues before you have a child. This is especially important if you had issues with your father (but also your mother, particularly if you tend to associate certain problems with "women" and would attack or control your daughter consciously or subconsciously because of them). "I Don't Want To Talk About It" by Terence Real is a man's account of recovering from a dysfunctional childhood, including problems in the relationship with his own father.
I suspect the author's preoccupation with the father being a "hero" instead of an adult man who relates to his daughter and who is there for her as a grounded human being, and her preoccupation with "God" has something to do with not feeling like she has adult agency in the world herself (even though she is ostensibly an adult woman, writing books advising other people?) and so she needs these artificial supports and romanticizing of the world.
Saying that now for the record, I received this book from the in-laws. (Unlike my wife and I, they *are* right-wing.)
I recently started reading it -- while the mention of "Him" (aka God, or more specifically the Christian-based God, not a God [or god forbid a "Goddess" [i.e.: other religions]) was a bit annoying, I thought, why not go ahead and keep reading.
Then there were some sprinkles of scripture from some 2,000 year-old book (guess it must be the new testament, as my understanding it the old testament has some nasty stuff in it -- guess you can pick-and-choose when it comes to religion?) -- this burned my eyes a bit more. Even so, I want to be the best father I can be to my daughter, so why not keep reading.
About an hour ago, I came to chapter eight, which is titled: "Teach Her Who God Is".
OK... Now I draw the line!
This book is written by an alleged MD. While I have no reason to disbelieve Meeker is not an MD, I don't understand how she can get away with this crap.
I think I'll be putting the book up for sale, as I refuse to read further. If I want right-wing spin, I'll turn on FOX news.
As some of the other reviewers have noted however, there is a little bit of good advice... But it's nothing so profound as the second coming of Christ to the point that I am willing to continue to endure the torture.