Sunday, June 17

Fathers & Daughters

The picture above shows Pop with all three of his daughters (yep, I'm the pretty one Hoss).

I can across a book called Why a Daughter Needs A Dad that I really, really wanted to send to my ex, but thought better of it. But I flipped through the pages at the bookstore and read how a father teaches a daughter...
  • A daughter's relationship with her father is usually her first male-female relationship. From Dad, little girls gain their first reflection of themselves as a female. They develop a sense of acceptance or non-acceptance; they feel valued or discounted.
  • Father-daughter relationships are an important place to learn how to negotiate fairly and compromise appropriately. If a father is overly-critical and all-powerful, men become the enemy. If a father is fair and listens to his daughter's thoughts, she will gain self-confidence and pride in her own opinion.
  • Daughters need to be able to relax, be affectionate, and know that they are safe with certain males. They need to be regarded as people, not sexual objects.
  • When daughters learn to communicate with their fathers, and trust that their opinion will count, they can develop self-assuredness which will allow them to be assertive and stand up for themselves. This is very different from aggressive reactions which stem from a sense of powerlessness and combativeness. It is important for dads to listen to their daughters and appreciate their views, even if they don't agree.
  • Daughters learn what to expect from a male-female relationship by watching Mom and Dad. If parents treat each other well, this becomes the expectation.

I love John Mayer's song Daughters:

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do...

...On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world
But it's never too late, you know. You can alter the course of any relationship at any time.
The years I was in Texas, I probably spoke to Pop once a year, if that. It's not that we were angry at one another or anything... we just had nothing to say, really. But since I've moved back, we talk about every day. And he and Momo come visit just about every Sunday.
They're coming today because we're hosting a Father's Day dinner here. We've invited the in-laws and the outlaws.
I'll let you know how things turn out.

3 comments:

slouching mom said...

This is all so true. I grew up without a dad (he was in the foreign service, and my parents were divorced). I saw him maybe once a year, at best.

And as a grown-up I lacked any kind of compass to guide me in my relationships with men. I was clueless for quite a few years in there.

Christine said...

For some reason this made me so teary and flustered. I guess because today i miss my dad who so lovingly did all those things that you listed for me.

I'm so glad that you and your dad talk so often now. Hope dinner goes well.

Greg said...

Thanks for mentioning my book! I saw your post about your dad. I am a New York Times bestselling author working on a new book about father-daughter relationships and thought you might want to contribute. Please visit my page for details about submitting stories for Daddy's Little Girl.

Gregory E. Lang
Author, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad